Welfare-to-Work Program

Who can use this service?

Only families approved for CalWORKs services are eligible to receive the Welfare-to-Work program.
To be considered eligible to CalWORKs, families must be under the state's income and property guidelines and include a child who has a parent that is either deceased, absent from the home, disabled or underemployed/unemployed. 

Is there a charge for this service?

This service is provided free of charge.

What is the process?

Step 1: WTW Orientation

The Welfare-to-Work (WTW) process begins with WTW Orientation where the participant will learn about the program, the process and their rights and responsibilities.

Step 2: WTW Appraisal

For a WTW Appraisal, an applicant will meet with a caseworker to assess the participant's education, employment history, job skills, potential employment barriers and support they may need to go to work or training, like childcare, or transportation. If the participant has a crisis or situation that will keep them from being able to participate fully in the WTW program, they will be evaluated for an exemption or eligibility to the Family Stabilization Program.

Step 3: WTW Assessment

If you require additional training or school, a participant will receive an Assessment. 
 
When you begin your Assessment, you will work with your case manager to talk in-depth about your work history, skills, and what types of jobs are available in the labor market where you live. You will go over what your ideas for your future are and what goals you have and the results will be used to write your WTW Plan.

Step 4: WTW Plan

A WTW Plan is established based on the needs and goals of the participant that will outline what activities they will take part in to reach their employment goal. The WTW Plan is like a contract between you and the County, which will outline the activities you are expected to complete and how the County will help support you to complete these activities. You are always involved in helping to create your plan. Support is always available as you are working your plan

When and where is this service offered?

CalWORKs can be applied for online at mybenefitscalwin.org anytime or in person at the Social Services offices near you. Offices are open Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Closed on county-observed holidays).

Location, directions and hours of operation

Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information

Morro Bay Social Services

Monday - Friday 8-5

600 Quintana Road Morro Bay , CA 93442

Tel: (805) 772-6405

Fax: (805) 772-6409

SLO Social Services- Higuera

Monday - Friday 8-5

3433 South Higuera San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Tel: (805) 781-1600

Arroyo Grande Office

Monday - Friday 8-5

1086 East Grand Avenue Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Tel: (805) 474-2000

Nipomo Social Services

Monday - Friday 8-5

681 West Tefft Street Suite 1 Nipomo, CA 93444

Tel: (805) 931-1800

Atascadero Social Services

Monday - Friday 8-5

9415 El Camino Real Atascadero, CA 93422

Tel: (805) 461-6000

Paso Robles Social Services

Monday - Friday 8-5

406 Spring Street Paso Robles, CA 93446

Tel: (805) 237-3110

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Welfare-to-Work (WTW) include?

The WTW process begins with Orientation and Appraisal. These are the initial activities for all CalWORKs recipients. The purpose is to make you familiar with the process you will be going through and to make sure you know about your rights and your responsibilities. Orientation is where you will hear all about the CalWORKs program and how WTW can assist. Appraisal is a face-to-face meeting with your caseworker to discuss your education, employment history, job skills and to talk about the support you may need, like childcare, or transportation.  At your Appraisal, your case will be evaluated to see what the best next activity for you might be.  If you are ready and able to participate in work, you might be assigned to Job Search for 4 weeks or take part in the county's subsidized employment options.  If you require additional training or school, your next activity will be Assessment. 
 
When you begin your Assessment, you will work with your case manager to talk in-depth about your work history, skills, and what types of jobs are available in the labor market where you live. You will go over what your ideas for your future are and what goals you have and the results will be used to write your WTW plan.
The WTW plan is like a contract between you and the County, which will outline the activities you are expected to complete and how the County will help support you to complete these activities. You are always involved in helping to create your plan. Support is always available as you are working your plan.
 
The Goal for you and the County is the same: to help you become self-supporting. We believe you have strengths and we will work with you to help you provide a safe and healthy environment for you and your family.
 

Am I required to participate?

All adult CalWORKs participants who are not exempt are required to participate in Welfare-to-Work (WTW) activities. Required participants shall attend the CalWORKs Orientation and Appraisal to review the CalWORKs/WTW requirements and their work history. As a participant, you are required to:
 

  • Keep your appointments with your case manager
  • Create and sign a WTW Plan within 90 days of case approval (in most cases)
  • Meet all WTW requirements
  • Not quit your job or lower your earnings unless you have a good reason
  • Maintain satisfactory progress in your assigned activities 

 

What are the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) Exemptions?

All participants are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities the CalWORKs WTW program offers. However, some people may be exempt from participation for the following reasons:
 

  • Aged under 16 yrs. or over 60 yrs.
  • Under 18 yrs. attending elementary, secondary, or vocational school full-time
  • Current or former victim of Domestic Violence
  • Has a verified disability that significantly impairs the ability to be employed
  • The non-parent caretaker relative has primary responsibility for a child who is a dependent or ward of the court or is at risk of placement in Foster Care
  • Caring for an ill or incapacitated member of the household
  • Pregnant woman with medical verification that pregnancy significantly impairs her ability to be employed
  • Parent has primary care for a child 6 months of age or under
  • Parent or caretaker relative with primary care of a child under 24 months of age, this exemption can only be used once in a lifetime and for one parent.
  • If you meet one of the above exemptions, but feel you would like to begin participating in your WTW activities, talk with your case manager about “volunteering”.  When choosing to volunteer, you will have the same opportunities and supportive services as mandatory participants.
What are WTW Supportive Services?

WTW Supportive Services are available to aided CalWORKs participants who have a link to employment.  Supportive Services are intended to help you participate in activities to accept and/or retain employment.  Supportive Services may include, but are not limited to the following:
 
Child Care – You will be asked to document your need for child care at application, reinvestigation, when you sign your WTW Plan and if you revise your WTW Plan. If childcare is necessary for you to participate in WTW activities, you may receive childcare for children up to age twelve (12) (depending on funding) or younger.  Childcare may continue to be subsidized for two years after you go off aid.
 
Transportation - You may receive help with transportation costs for travel to and from your WTW activity and for travel to and from childcare (i.e., bus passes mileage reimbursement).
 
Work or Training Related Costs – Expenses for books, tools, special clothing and other work-related costs/needs may be available, if needed, as part of your WTW plan.
 
Personal Counseling – Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence (DV) services are available.
 
Parent Support – We can provide you with referrals to other agencies for help handling the following:

  • Effective ways to Communicate
  • How to Build Stronger Family Relationships
  • Stress Management
  • How to Increase your Effectiveness as a Parent
  • Discipline versus Punishment
  • Conflict Resolution

We can help you arrange and/or pay for supportive services. If you need supportive services, please discuss this with your case manager.
 

How much time do I have?

Cash assistance is not for a lifetime; it is time-limited. 

You have a lifetime limit of sixty (60) months of Federal cash assistance (TANF).

You have a lifetime limit of forty-eight (48) months of California cash assistance (CalWORKs).

For twenty-four (24) out of your 48 months, there are certain activities that can be approved as part of your WTW Plan that address issues and challenges your family may need to overcome and become fully self-supporting. This is called your Welfare-to-Work (WTW) 24-Month Time Clock.

Months in which you received TANF from another State are counted towards your 48-month CalWORKs lifetime limit.

Months in which you are aided in California and are exempt from WTW participation is not counted towards your 48-month CalWORKs lifetime limit.

When you have reached the 48-month limit, you will no longer be eligible for cash assistance for yourself in California.  However, you may be potentially eligible for an additional 12 months of aid in some other states. You have 90 days from the date of your case approval to sign a WTW Plan. If you begin a job search activity you will have 30 days to complete that activity and then 90 days to sign a plan.
 
If you feel you are exempt or have a good reason to not participate you will have time to talk to your worker and provide proof before you are required to sign a WTW Plan.
 

What is a Welfare-to-Work (WTW) Plan?

The San Luis Obispo Department of Social Services has developed a WTW (WTW) program with partnerships in the community.
 
You and your case manager will review your work history, skills, education, need for supportive services, and other concerns necessary to determine appropriate WTW activities for you. Based on this information, you will work together to develop a WTW plan. Your WTW plan will outline your employment goal, specific WTW activities, and any supportive services necessary to achieve that employment goal.
 

How many hours per week do I need to participate?

The amount of hours you need to participate depends on the age of your children and how many parents in the home are aided.  There are additional requirements depending on whether a parent is considered disabled, how many months each parent has used and whether their optional adults in the home, but typically, these are the hourly requirements.
 
One-parent Families with a child under six (6) years old:
If you are an adult in a one-parent CalWORKs case (this means that you are the only parent aided on the case, not necessarily the only parent in the household) with a child under 6 years old and not exempt, you are required to participate in your assigned WTW activity(ies) for a total of at least twenty (20) hours per week.

One-Parent Families with NO children under 6 years old:
If you are an adult in a one-parent CalWORKs case (this means that you are the only parent aided on the case, not necessarily the only parent in the household) with no children under the age of 6 years old and not exempt, you are required to participate in your assigned WTW activity(ies) for a total of at least thirty (30) hours per week.

Two-Parent Families:
If you are an adult in a two-parent CalWORKs case, and are not exempt, you and/or the other adult are required to participate in your assigned WTW activity(ies) for a total of at least thirty-five (35) hours a week. 
 

What happens if I do not participate?

Participation in WTW is mandatory for all able-bodied CalWORKs participants. If the WTW requirements are not met, and you have no good cause or exemption, the County will give you an opportunity to comply. If you do not comply, you will be financially sanctioned and taken off the case. Depending on your income, your child(ren) may or may not continue to be aided.

What if I have a barrier or crisis that keeps me from being able to do WTW?

If your family is experiencing an identified situation or crisis that is destabilizing and will interfere with your ability to participate in WTW activities, you can request to be reviewed for Family Stabilization Services.

These situations include but are not limited to:
 

  • Homelessness or risk of homelessness
  • Child specific concerns / Lack of parenting support
  • Lack of safety due to domestic abuse
  • Untreated or undertreated behavioral needs (including mental health or substance abuse related needs)

You are potentially eligible to Family Stabilization Services at any point in the WTW continuum, if your family includes an eligible adult with time remaining on his/her WTW 24 Month Time Clock.