Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) / Entrant Cash Assistance (ECA)

Who can use this service?

This service is only available for Refugees or Cuban/Haitian Entrants that are not otherwise eligible to the CalWORKs program.

Is there a charge for this service?

This service is provided free of charge.

What is the process?

Step 1: Apply for RCA

Applications for RCA must be made in person at any social service office.  Applicants will be asked to provide proof of all income and property as well as refugee status.  The presence of children, their age and number of hours worked are not requirements for this program.  If an applicant has a sponsor, they must provide this person’s information.

Step 2: Interview for RCA

All applicants are required to have a face-to-face interview prior to approval of their RCA application.  At this interview, an applicant’s case manager will assess what exact verifications they will need to approve the case and will inform the applicant of these necessary verifications in written documentation with a due date.

Step 3: Notification of RCA

If an applicant provides all needed verifications and meets the eligibility qualifications, they will be approved for a monthly cash aid amount for up to eight months from the date they entered the United States. If the applicant does not submit required verifications or meet the eligibility qualifications, their case will be denied.  Applicants who have been denied can re-apply at any time.

When and where is this service offered?

A person can walk into the Social Service's office nearest them to apply.  Offices are open Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (except 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 Social Services

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

How long can I get RCA or ECA?

The RCA and ECA programs are limited to eight (8) months from the date you entered the United States.

Who is eligible for RCA or ECA benefits?

To be eligible for benefits, refugee families and adult refugees without children must fit into at least one of the following categories:

  • Individuals and couples with no minor children.
  • Families that are not CalWORKs eligible (You should be screened for CalWORKs first)
  • Trafficking victims
  • Persons granted asylum
What is considered proof of refugee status?

Applicants for RCA must provide documentation of refugee status from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration (BCIS).  The Resettlement Agency and/or your sponsor must also be contacted prior to issuing aid to determine what assistance is being provided.

What is the employment portion of RCA and ECA?

Unless you meet an exemption or already employed, you are required to participate in an employment program. The employment program may include, but not be limited to English language instruction, on-the-job training or job readiness activities. Supportive services may include but not be limited to childcare, citizenship and employment authorization document assistance, and transportation.

Why do I have to be fingerprinted?

On August 1, 2000, fingerprinting and photo imaging became a requirement for adults applying for cash assistance. To receive benefits, applicants must agree to have their fingerprints and photo images compared with the images of other welfare recipients in the Statewide Fingerprint Imaging System (SFIS) database. This is a statewide eligibility requirement that is meant to prevent fraud by not paying cash aid for the same person in more than one case. 

How is the cash aid issued?

CalWORKs benefits are provided to an eligible person through one of the two following options:

  • You can opt to have them deposited into your checking or savings account through direct deposit; or
  • You can select to have them issued onto an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that can be accessed through ATM and POS machines throughout the County.
What verification will I need to bring?

Your worker will tell you exactly what documents you will need to provide in order to be approved for CalWORKs. The following list contains examples of the types of documents you may need to provide:
Proof of Age

  • Birth Certificates
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Immigration Card

Proof of Residence

  • Rent Receipt

Proof of Citizenship, Noncitizen Status or Immigrant Status

  • Birth Certificate
  • Alien Registration Card

Social Security Number

  • Social Security Card(s)
  • Proof of Application for Social Security Card (For each person you’re applying for).
  • Proof of Immunizations for Children Under the Age of Six
  • Immunization (Shots) Record 

Proof of Income

  • Pay Stubs
  • Award Letter
  • Papers that show where the money came from
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Award Letter
  • Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) Approval or Denial Letter

Proof Expenses

  • Utility bills
  • Rent receipts

Proof of Property

  • Bank statements
  • Car registrations
  • Papers that show value of property

Contact Social Services

Child Hotline Information:

  • If you suspect there is an emergency requiring immediate intervention, call 911
  • To report suspected child abuse or neglect call the 24 hour Child Abuse Hotline at (805) 781-KIDS (5437) or toll free 1-800-834-KIDS (5437)

Adult Hotline Information:

  • If you suspect there is an emergency requiring immediate intervention, call 911
  • To report suspected elder abuse or neglect call the Adult Services Hotline at (805) 781-1790 during regular business hours, or after business hours call (844) 729-8011
  • Mandated Reporter