Are You Eligible?

ECC CalWORKs Participant Eligibility



First Priority:

  • TANF recipients who are receiving cash aid and have or are developing a welfare-to-work (WTW) plan that refers them to the college for education and training

  • Self-Initiated Program (SIP) participants

  • Exempt TANF recipients who have an education plan with clear goals for completion

  • Cal-Learn students (not eligible for work study)

  • Must be in good standing


Second Priority:

  • Post Employment Students are former TANF recipients who received cash aid within the last two years. Limited funding is available to provide Post Employment services for skill upgrades, job retention, and advancement. Must be employed (not eligible for work study) 



  • Sanctioned students

  • “Child-only” cases 

  • Students who are not receiving cash aid for themselves

  • Individuals on SSI
  • Only food stamps  

  • Tribal TANF participants 

  • Former TANF recipients who have “timed-out” of the welfare system and are no longer eligible to receive cash aid 

Sanctioned Student Policy:

If a student has been sanctioned during a term, services may be provided until end of term; the sanction must be cured by end of term for services to continue for the next term. 




Hours Required

  • Single-Parent with at Least One Child Under 6 Years Old = 20 hrs/wk

  • Single-Parent with Children Over 6 Years Old = 30 hrs/wk 

  • Two- Parent Families = 35 hrs/wk



CalWORKs Eligibility Categories

Participation in GAIN is mandatory for all CalWORKs participants unless exempt. Exemptions require documentation, verification, and approval of GAIN Services Workers. Exempt participants who volunteer to participate in GAIN are subject to the same requirements as mandatory participants. 


Self-Initiated Program (SIP)

Is a program in which a CalWORKs participant is enrolled in an educational program, prior to his/her GAIN Orientation/Appraisal appointment date. As a participant, you may continue in the program as a Welfare-to-Work activity, when the program is for an undergraduate degree or certificate program that leads to employment and making satisfactory progress. 


County Referral: Vocational (VOC) Education/Training

Is assigned to a participant if the vocational assessment employment plan specifies that vocational education or training is needed to achieve the participants’ employment goal. The goal for assigning a participant to these services is to improve their existing skills or obtain new skills to move the participant into full-time employment and self-sufficiency.



Student receiving services through the community college's CalWORKs program, the student is a TANF/cash aid recipient, and is attending the community college on his/her own accord and is or will be in the process of obtaining an approved Welfare-to-Work plan through their county welfare office.


Post-Time Limit

After exhausting the 48-month clock, the adult portion of the participant aid is deleted from CalWORKs (Cash-Aid assistance). This is referred to as “timed-out" and no longer eligible for the GAIN program. In order to continue to assist timed-out participants in completing existing activities; DPSS opted to provide Post-Time Limit (PTL) services. Timed-out participants are limited to 12 months of PTL services, such as transportation and work-related ancillaries starting from the date the participant timed out.


Post-Employment Services

These services are aimed to assist participants to stay employed and acquire a better job to obtain self-sufficiency from CalWORKs reliance. The goal is to provide participants with the resources and tools to retain unsubsidized employment improve career potential.



This is a plan developed by the GAIN Services Worker and the participant using the vocational assessment employment plan and or clinical assessment. The plan may include job search, work experience, education/training, job skills training directly related to employment, domestic violence, mental and or substance abuse treatment, etc.