CalWORKs provides cash aid and services, to help eligible needy families obtain food, shelter, and essentials. For most adults (those who are able to work and not exempt), there is a four-year lifetime limit on CalWORKs cash assistance; and cash assistance is conditional on participation in work activities through the Welfare to Work program.

(You can watch the 28-minute CalWORKs "Rights and Responsibilities" video online now in English or Spanish.)

Welfare to Work (WTW) provides assessment and case management services to assist CalWORKs adults in developing goals and a plan to obtain employment, and provides transitional supportive services such as subsidized child care, transportation assistance, and work- or training-related expenses to address barriers to finding and keeping a job. We will evaluate whether you are required to participate in WTW when CalWORKs is granted, and re-evaluate periodically. If your family is facing exceptional challenges, such as homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, mental health needs, etc., our new Family Advocates can help you obtain services to address those challenges. 

(You can watch the 9-minute Welfare to Work "Orientation" video here and download the WTW 1 Rights and Responsibilities form here.)

Who is eligible for CalWORKs? Specific eligibility requirements take into account an applicant's citizenship, age, income, resources, assets, and other factors. Generally, CalWORKs is available to families with a child or children in the home who is deprived of parental care, due to absence, unemployment, disability, or death of a parent; and to needy caretaker relatives of a foster child or children. By law, CalWORKs is not available to convicted drug felons, fleeing felons, or individuals in violation of probation or parole.

How can I apply?

You can visit one of our offices or outstation sites (shown below); call our toll-free automated phone number (1-866-404-4007); or apply for benefits online. We determine eligibility based on the information you provide on your CalWORKs application and any required verifications. You may request immediate help in certain emergency circumstances, such as little or no cash, and/or emergency need for housing, food, utilities, clothing, or medical care.


If you are a former CalWORKs recipient, the Department of Social Services is committed to assisting you with your future success! For additional information, see this information in English or Spanish on benefits and services after CalWORKs.

Social Services Office Locations

City Location Days/Hours
Santa Barbara 234 Camino del Remedio
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Phone: (805) 681-4401
Fax: 805-681-4402
Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm
Santa Maria 1444 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Phone: (805) 614-1300
Fax: (805) 614-1529
Lompoc 1100 W. Laurel Ave.
Lompoc, CA 93436
Phone: (805) 737-7080
Fax: (805) 737-6047

Outstation Sites in the Community

Location Days/Hours For info, call:
Family Resource Center
5241 Eighth Street
Every Tues
DSS Santa Barbara
(805) 681-4401
Santa Barbara:
Franklin Service Center
1111 E. Mason St., Room 12
Every Weds
DSS Santa Barbara
(805) 681-4401
Santa Barbara:
PATH/Casa Esperanza
816 Cacique St.
Every Weds
DSS Santa Barbara
(805) 681-4401
Santa Maria:
Marian Hospital
1400 E. Church Street
Mon 9am-12pm
Thurs 1pm-4pm
DSS Santa Maria
(805) 346-7135
People Helping People
545 N. Alisal Road, Suite 102
Every other Tues
DSS Lompoc
(805) 737-7135

Note: CalWORKs policy documents and desk guides can be found here.