CalWORKs Benefit Extensions in California

California provides CalWORKs benefit extensions to petitioners under certain circumstances. If you apply for CalWORKs benefit extension successfully, you will receive assistance for a longer period than the original time limit. However, you must be eligible for an extension for CalWORKs benefits in order to receive longer lasting benefits. If you want to know more about how to qualify for CalWORKs extension and how to extend CalWORKs benefits for a longer period, continue reading this page.

How to Qualify for CalWORKs Extension in California

You may be wondering how to extend CalWORKs benefits in California if you are getting close to your 48-month limit and you are still in need of financial assistance for you and your family. You may be able to apply for CalWORKs benefit extension in certain circumstances. To be eligible for CA CalWORKs benefit extensions, all of the assisted parents, stepparents or caregiver relatives must meet one of the following requirements:

  • They must be caring for a sick or incapacitated person who is living in their home, which prevents them from maintaining employment or participating in welfare-to-work
  • They must be age 60 years of age or older
  • They must be caring for a child who is at risk of foster care placement or a ward of the court, and this situation prevents the caregivers from working or participating in welfare-to-work
  • They must have had an evaluation performed by their local county welfare department and found to be unfit or unable to maintain employment or to participate in welfare-to-work
  • They must not be in the assistance unit (AU) for any reason except that they are close to their 48-month time limit

If only one adult in the household meets the requirements for CACalWORKs benefit extensions, the state will not be able to extend the limit of the household’s cash assistance benefits. All adult parents and caregivers in the household must meet one of the requirements, although they do not both have to meet the same one. You may also apply for CalWORKs benefit extension if you are receiving certain forms of disability benefits and your disability prevents you from working or participating in welfare-to-work activities. CalWORKs benefit extensions may apply to the beneficiaries of Worker’s CompensationTemporary Disability Insurance, State Disability Insurance, State Supplementary Program benefits and In-Home Supportive Services.

You may be eligible to submit an application for CalWORKs benefit extension if you are a victim of domestic abuse. To apply for CalWORKs benefit extension under these circumstances, your local county human services department must determine that your situation or condition prevents you from maintaining regular employment or from participating in the welfare-to-work program. In this case, the county may waive your 48-month time limit and give you an extension on your cash assistance.

Find out more about applying for additional California benefits in our free guide.

How to Extend CalWORKs Benefits in California

If you think you are eligible for a CalWORKs benefit extension and you meet the rules, you need to contact your local California county human services department. Your caseworker will explain how to extend CalWORKs benefits and help you fill out an application. Before you try to extend CalWORKs benefits, you may wish to contact your caseworker to find out how many months of your CalWORKs benefit you have already used.

If you and your family are receiving cash assistance when you do not need it, you may wish to choose delay payments. This could benefit you and your family in the future, as the months you are without cash aid will not count against your CalWORKs 48-month time limit. This will save you some months if you need cash aid later and are not eligible for CalWORKs benefit extensions. If you are uncertain if this would be helpful for you, contact your local county human service department for advice.

Instead of applying for CalWORKs benefits extensions, you may be eligible for diversion. This is a one-time lump sum payment. The month that you receive the diversion payment will count as one month deducted from your CalWORKs 48-month time limit, unless you reapply and get cash aid during the diversion period. In this case, you have two options; you may repay the diversion payment or have the months from the diversion period deducted from your CalWORKs 48-month time limit.

Who does not need CalWORKs benefit extensions in California?

Unless you qualify for CalWORKs benefit extensions as an assisted parent, stepparent or caregiver-relative, you are only entitled to receive CalWORKs for a lifetime period of 48 months. Without taking into account any CA CalWORKs benefit extensions, this also includes any cash assistance you have received from California and other states’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs. Even if you do not apply for CalWORKs benefit extension, there are some exemptions to the 48-month time limit. This limit does not apply to children, Medi-Cal benefits, CalFresh benefits, Child Care or and cash assistance you have received from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) Program before January 1, 1998.

Find out about other waivers to welfare assistance in California by reviewing comprehensive information in our 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.