CalWORKs Application Denials


A CalWORKs application denial can occur for California petitioners who request benefits from the program. Plenty of reasons for CalWORKs denial decisions exist, which California applicants must be aware of in order to avoid rejection from the program. Petitioners may initiate the CalWORKs denial appeal process if the state rejected their request for cash assistance. Every denied applicant in the state of California has the right to request an independent fair hearing. Continue reading this page to find out how to appeal CalWORKs application denial decisions in California.

Common Reasons for a CalWORKs Application Denial in California

There are some common reasons for CalWORKs denials from the California cash assistance program. Part of the CalWORKs denial appeal process requires petitioners to counter the reason for rejection, so it is vital for those who want to overturn the decision to provide evidence to the contrary. The state may have denied your application for cash assistance because:

  • You are not a legal resident of the United States or the state of California.
  • Your household income is too high.
  • You do not have children at home who meet the eligibility requirements.
  • You are exempt from CalWORKs due to a felony charge.
  • You have not been keeping up with your Welfare-to-Work activities.
  • You left your job voluntarily.

Most reasons for a CalWORKs denial stem from applicants not meeting the program’s eligibility requirements. Your local county human services department will notify you of your CalWORKs application denial by mail. The notice of application denial will take the form of a written letter, known as a notice of action. Your CalWORKs application denial letter will explain exactly why the state denied your cash assistance claim and will explain how you may go about making an appeal if you disagree with the decision.

Find out more about the qualifications to receive cash benefits by downloading our free guide.

How to Appeal CalWORKs Application Denial in California

When you receive a CaliforniaCalWORKs application denial, whether you have just applied or you are already currently receiving benefits from the program, you are entitled to make an appeal and request a fair hearing if you disagree with the action. You must request an appeal against your CalWORKs application denial within 90 days of receiving the denial letter.

You may begin the CalWORKs denial appeal process by requesting a hearing online at the California Department of Social Services website. You may also request a fair hearing or an expedited hearing via phone by calling the State Hearings Division toll free number. If you prefer to request a hearing in writing, then you can complete the “Request for State Hearing” application form, which you will find on the back of your CalWORKs notice of action letter. Alternatively, you may make your request for appeal on a separate piece of paper. Send your request along with all the required information, such as your name, address and full contact details, to the county welfare department at the address shown on your notice of action.

The CalWORKs denial appeal process begins with a scheduled fair hearing. For a state CalWORKs application denial appeal, an Administrative Law Judge will be assigned by the state of California. For a county CalWORKs application denial appeal, your county will assign a Program Specialist to preside over the hearing. If you have requested a California state fair hearing, your county will prepare and official Statement of Position. You may obtain a copy of this from your local county human service department two days before you fair hearing is due to take place. You have the option of conducting your state or county hearing in person or by phone if you are unable to travel to the location. Whichever option you choose, your hearing will be recorded. If you have a state hearing, you will receive a decision within 90 days of your appeal request. If you have a county hearing then you will you usually receive a decision within 15 days of the hearing date.

While you are waiting for a decision for the CalWORKs denial appeal process, you do not have to take part in any welfare-to-work activities. Pending the decision on your CalWORKs application denial appeal, you are still eligible to receive child care payments and for any other activities approved before you applied for a fair hearing. If any other public assistance benefits must stop during your CalWORKs denial appeal process, your local county human services department must inform you in writing. If they are continuing to pay any other supportive services, they must also inform you in writing. If the amount of supportive services the county continues to pay you is not enough for you to participate in your activities while you are waiting for a decision, you may stop going.

If you win the CalWORKs denial appeal, then your benefits will be resumed or will begin if you are a new applicant. The CalWORKs denial appeal decision made as a result of the fair hearing, must be upheld by your local county human services department. If you need advice about your appeal or the decision that was made, you can contact your local human services department. You are also entitled to free legal aid. For more information about his, contact your local legal aid or welfare rights office.

Avoid having your CalWORKs application denied by reviewing the requirements in our detailed guide.

What Kind of Assistance Does the Department of Social Services Offer?

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) provides various types of assistance benefits to residents of the state. Through the CDSS, individuals and families can obtain temporary cash assistance, food assistance and more. Furthermore, applicants who are eligible for the benefits of one CDSS program will often qualify for the assistance benefits of another. Find out everything you need to know about the services and benefits provided by the Department of Social Services by downloading our helpful CDSS guide.

Who Can Benefit From California’s Department of Social Services?

To receive benefits from the CDSS, you and your family will need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria used to determine an applicant’s eligibility typically include income, age, resources and citizenship, among other factors. Find out if you qualify for California DSS assistance benefits here.