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Eligibility and Intake Process

Are you interested in being part of the CalWORKs program? Check out our eligibility requirements to see how you can qualify and apply today.

Determine Your Eligibility

Eligible participants for CalWORKs meet the following requirements:

  • CalWORKs recipients who are receiving cash aid for themselves as well as their children
  • Those who have or are in the process of developing a welfare-to-work (WTW) plan that refers them to ECC for education and training
  • Self-Initiated Program (SIP) participants
  • Exempt CalWORKs recipients who have an education plan with clear goals for completion
  • Must be in good standing
  • Cal-Learn students (not eligible for work study)
  • Sanctioned students
  • “Child-only” cases 
  • Individuals on SSI
  • Only CalFresh
  • Students who are not receiving cash aid for themselves
  • Former CalWORKs recipients who have “timed-out” of the welfare system and are no longer eligible to receive cash aid


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

Exempt participants are not subject to the 32/35 or 20/30/35 hours per week participation requirement rules.

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. 

This 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. 


This 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 who is receiving services through the community college's CalWORKs program, is a CalWORKs/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.


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 the person is 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 three months of PTL services, such as transportation and work-related ancillaries starting from the date the participant timed out.


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.


Apply to CalWORKs

Eligible? That’s great news! Follow our step-by-step intake process to get started with our CalWORKs program.

Intake Process

Submit an application to El Camino College.

It will take approximately two days for your application to be fully processed, and you will receive a confirmation email with your student identification number (SID).


Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at FAFSA. This application determines eligibility for Student Financial Aid.  These funds will help you pay for costs associated with attending school. Obtain a current "Notice of Action" from your DPSS Eligibility Worker and submit it to the Financial Aid Office.

  • If you DO NOT have a GAIN services worker, go to Step 3
  • If you HAVE a GAIN services worker, go to Step 4


Contact your local DPSS Office and apply for Cash Aid/GAIN for yourself and your children. Once you have a GAIN services worker (GSW), contact them for a referral. Your GSW will determine which form is needed.

  • GN 6005A (Self-Initiated)
  • GN 6006 (Vocational) - Must be accompanied  with GN 6013 & 6014
  • GN 6390 (Multiple Schools Form) - Must be accompanied with GN6013 & 6014


Visit CalWORKs Services to schedule a telephone or virtual counselor appointment. A counselor will conduct an educational assessment, review any transcripts you have, and prepare an educational plan to help you successfully achieve your certificate or AA/AS degree.

If your GAIN services worker provided you with a GN6006 or GN6390 referral, you will need to bring the GN6013 and GN6014 (Welfare-to-Work Plan) for the ECC CalWORKs counselor to review.


You will receive an enrollment date and time from the Admissions & Records Office through MyECC.

Enroll as soon as possible to ensure that you get the classes you need. Enroll in classes after speaking with a counselor to ensure that you enroll in the correct ones.


Email your GAIN and child care documents to calworksinfo@elcamino.edu.

You can schedule a telephone or virtual appointment with the CalWORKs case adviser. The CalWORKs work-study case adviser can provide you with work activity referrals for part-time employment.

Remember that you can ONLY meet with case advisers after seeing the CalWORKs counselor and enrolling in classes.