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What financial assistance programs are available in California?

California has multiple financial assistance programs available to residents.

someone handing you money

There are programs to assist with food costs, housing, medical care, and more.

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The CalFresh Program

There are various programs that assist to ensure that basic needs are met. The financial assistance comes from state-specific programs. Some of them are federally funded but state-run, so they operate under different names. Read more about it here.

The federal program SNAP operates as the CalFresh Program in California. It provides households with money to get the food they need. Funds are loaded onto your card monthly.

In addition to buying food at the grocery store, you can use your benefit to buy seeds to grow your own food. Many markets accept the benefit and many more stores accept it online too.

In order to receive the benefit, you’ll have to meet the federal income requirement. There is another program similar to CalFresh that you may qualify for called the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP).


The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is another available program. CalWORKs is their version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF).

The program is run by local county welfare departments. They work to provide low-income families with children short-term assistance in the form of cash or services.

Eligibility requirements include age, assets, income, resources, and citizenship.

Supplemental Security Income and State Supplementary Payment

If you are 65 or older, blind, or disabled, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). California State Supplementary Payment (SSP) is a similar program. If you qualify for SSI, you’ll also qualify for SSP. Visit your local Social Security office to apply or call: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

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Medicaid programs in California are called Medi-Cal. It offers no-cost and low-cost health coverage to eligible residents. It can include payment for doctor’s appointments, regular or emergency care, immunizations, pregnancy services, and more. About 13 million people receive these services.

To apply visit:

You could also call 1-916-552-9200 or email [email protected] with questions or to apply.


Qualifying people can claim the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). It can reduce your owed taxes or get you a refund. Income and family size are key to determining eligibility. You may be able to claim the federal EITC and CalEITC.

You’ll have to file your taxes in order to be considered. Taxpayers that are at least 18 and have a qualifying child may be eligible.

Young Child Tax Credit

If you qualify for CalEITC and have a child under 6 years old, you’ll also likely qualify for the Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC).

It is a refundable tax credit and can reduce your owed taxes or get a refund up to $1,000.

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