1. What is CalWORKs?
The California Community Colleges CalWORKs Program is a state funded program that assists current welfare recipients in achieving long-term self-sufficiency through the attainment of higher education.
At Cerritos College, the CalWORKs Program focuses on providing CalWORKs students with special support services in order to assist with educational and career planning, as well as, insuring compliance with the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) welfare-to-work requirements. We are here for you every step of the way. Our highly-skilled staff will help you in every way possible toward meeting your career and educational goals.
2. What services does CalWORKs provide?
The Cerritos College CalWORKs program offers the following services:
- Counseling services
- Assistance with completion of county required forms
- New Student Orientations
- Processing of Education Materials (books and supplies) request for reimbursements or advances.
- Work-study opportunities for eligible students
- Priority registration
3. How do I qualify for CalWORKs?
To be eligible for the Cerritos College CalWORKs program an individual must be receiving cash aid from the county, be in good standing with the college, and have developed or be in the process of developing a welfare-to-work plan with the local county welfare office. How do I make an appointment to see a CalWORKs counselor?
You can make an appointment to see a CalWORKs counselor in person at the Career Services Center or by calling: (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2356.
4. How do I make an appointment to see a CalWORKs counselor?
You can make an appointment to see a CalWORKs counselor in person at the Career Services Center located in the Administration Quad or by calling the Career Services Appointment Center at (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2356.
5. What if I cannot get an appointment in time for my forms to be completed by the specified county due date?
While we make all attempts to maintain available counseling appointment; however, time of the year, you may find it difficult to schedule an appointment. We ask that you immediately call your GAIN services worker and ask for an extension. For further clarification your county worker can call the CalWORKs office at (562) 860-2451 Ext. 2593.
6. What if my mom or dad is on CalWORKs, do I qualify?
CalWORKs services are available for the individual who is receiving cash aid, being dependent does not make you eligible.
7. I get Food Stamps/Medical, do I qualify for CalWORKs?
As long as you are receiving cash aid from the County GAIN (Welfare) office you are eligible.
8. What kind of proof do I need to bring with me to show that I am receiving Cash Aid?
The CalWORKs office will accept the following recently dated forms as verification of cash aid:
- Welfare-To-Work plan
- Cerritos College CalWORKs In-house: Agency Certification
9. How often do I have to turn in eligibility documentation?
The CalWORKs office is required to collect eligibility documentation every semester for every student who is enrolled and receiving CalWORKs services. A rule of thumb is to turn in your eligibility forms every semester with a current date of the semester you are submitting your verification form.
10. I was invited to attend a New Student Orientation, do I have to attend?
All new students coming into the CalWORKs program are invited to attend a New Student Orientation. While, we would like to encourage you to attend, these orientations are not mandatory. However, based on our student's feedback the orientations are helpful because they provide information on CalWORKs, and the support services that can greatly assist you in your educational journey. During our orientations, you will meet all of the CalWORKs staff, plus, all students who attend will receive a book bag and school supplies.
11. How can I get reimbursed for my books and supplies?
In order to assist our students with processing the request for books and supplies, the CalWORKs office conducts two workshops per week. The dates, times and locations are posted in the CalWorks and Career Services offices as well as the CalWORKs website:
www.cerritos.edu/calworks. you can also call us at (562) 860-2451 Ext 2593 or 2369 to obtain more information.
12. What happens if I cannot attend any of the Ed Materials workshops (Reasons: have class, work during those hours)?
Please contact Marina Rodriguez at (562) 860-2451 ext. 2369 for special accommodations.
13. Do I have to attend the Ed Materials Workshop or can I go directly to my GAIN worker?
The CalWORKs college program is required to process and submit the request for reimbursements and advances. Therefore, if you go to your GAIN services worker they will refer you back to our office.
14. What is PEP and why was I invited to attend?
PEP stand for Pre-Employment Preparation. PEP is a series of 6 workshops that are required for students wishing to participate in the Work-study program. If you received an invitation then you have inquired about the work-study program.
15. I am interested in the CalWORKs work-study program, what do I need to do to participate in the program?
Please make an appointment to meet with your CalWORKS counselor and let them know that you are interested. They will check your transcripts and file to see whether you qualify. You can also contact Geraldine Ponce, the CalWORKs Work-study Coordinator at (562) 860-2451 ext.2368. All students interested in work-study will be required to attend the series of 6 Pre-Employment Preparation (PEP) workshops.
16. Does the income I receive from my CalWORKs work- study or Federal Work-Study assignment count as income and will my cash aid be reduced?
Manual of Policy and Procedures (MPP) Section 44-111.25 states that earned income from the college work-study program as well as any other work-study program is exempt and will not affect your cash aid. If, you find yourself being penalized for work-study please stop by our office and pick-up a copy of the All County Letter No. 98-95 to show to your GAIN services case worker. Should you still not get resolution, please make an appointment to meet with your CalWORKs counselor at (562) 860-2451 ext. 2356.
17. Can I get financial aid if I am receiving CalWORKs services?
Yes. Practically all college loans, grants and work-study are "excluded income". That means your CalWORKs should not be reduced or cut off because you get financial aid. If you have not already filled out your financial aid application we would encourage you to do so. If the county had reduced your aid due to financial aid, please make an appointment to meet with your CalWORKs counselor at (562) 860-2451 ext.2356.
18. My GAIN services worker isn't helping me. What can I do?
The Cerritos College CalWORKs staff delivers over and above services and as such, we take much pride in assisting our students with communicating with the county offices. Should you encounter this situation, please make an appointment to meet with your CalWORKs counselor as soon as possible so that she can assist you in making contact with your GAIN services worker and/or their supervisor.
19. Can I get welfare and still go to college or vocational training?
Yes. CalWORKs, the welfare program which replaced AFDC, allows you to get and keep a job.
20. Can the county make me quit school?
No. but if you cannot get your course of study approved, the county can assign you to other work activities which will continuing school very difficult. If you don't attend those assigned activities without a good reason, the county will start sanction process. A sanction means your CalWORKs grant will be cut.
21. How do I ask for a state hearing?
The hearing request may be made either in writing or by calling the state hearing office in Sacramento at (800) 952-5253. The back of every notice of action contains directions for requesting a state hearing, the phone number of the state hearing office for oral hearing request and a form for written hearing requests. If you ask for a hearing before the day of the sanction of the cut take effect, your aid will not be cut while you are waiting for the decision. Always keep a copy of this request!
22. What about child care?
The county must pay for childcare for your children 10 years old and younger, and for 11 & 12 year-olds if funding is available (and if you are making satisfactory progress). You can also get childcare for your older children who have special needs. Childcare is available:
- While you are in an approved SIP, or
- While you are in education, training or any other activity as part of your welfare-to-work plan, or
- Whole finishing the quarter or semester in a SIP which cannot be approved, or
- If you need it as "post-employment" services.
23. What about transportation?
SIP and VOC'S are entitled to payment for transportation.
Generally this means a bus pass. You can get payment for car mileage if
- No bus service is available, or
- The takes longer that one hour each way.
24. What is "satisfactory progress?"
Each county decides what is satisfactory progress. The county's policy must be in writing. Ask for a hearing if it isn't. Generally, satisfactory progress means you are in good standing and making progress toward your degree or certificate.