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Public benefits is a term used to describe a wide variety of government programs that provide financial and other assistance that may be based on income status, disability, work history, etc. Programs can be administered by the federal, state, or county governments. Commonly used public benefits include CalWorks, CalFresh, Supplemental Security Income, MediCal, WIC, general assistance.

Each has its own eligibility criteria and application processes.

To get more detail about whether obtaining a public benefit can affect your legal status, please go to the Office of Santa Clara County’s website or seek legal advice from a professional.

To find out more, please click below on the public benefit that interests you.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) >

Description: The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.

SSI benefits are also payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who are within the financial limits.

Primary Eligibility

  • Disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old and have limited income & assets
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or a category of qualified non–citizen

Income Limit Examples Monthly income limit is the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR):

  • $771 per individual
  • $1,157 per couple

Asset Limits Less than:

  • $2,000 for a single person
  • $3,000 for a couple NOTE: As of June 1, 2019 SSI recipients are now eligible for CalFresh!

How Can I Apply? Phone: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to set a phone or in-person appt.

  1. Social Security Office 280 S First St, 2nd floor, San Jose, CA 95113
  2. Social Security Office 2500 Fontaine Rd, San Jose, CA 95121
  3. Social Security Office 701 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043
  4. Social Security Office 770 W Hamilton Ave, Campbell, CA 95008

https://www.ssa.gov/onlineservices/

CalWorks >

Description: CalWORKs is a public assistance program that provides cash aid and services to eligible families that have a child(ren) in the home.

Primary Eligibility The parent or caretaker must:

  • Be taking care of at least one child who is under the age of 18
  • Be a U.S. citizen or meet residency requirements
  • Be a California resident

Income Limit Examples

  • Monthly countable income limit is $686 per individual
  • $1,125 for a family of two
  • Note: CalWORKs does not count some things as income (e.g., SSI, loans, grants, EITC, etc)

Asset Limits Less than:

  • $2,250 in assets for a family unit
  • $3,250 if the family includes someone 60 or over

Where Can I Apply?

  • Social Services Agency Application Center: 1867 Senter Rd., San Jose, CA 95112

  • North County Office: 1330 W Middlefield Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043

  • South County Office: 379 Tomkins Court, Gilroy, CA 95020

  • www.mybenefitscalwin.org

CalFresh >

Description: The CalFresh program helps single people and families with little or no income to buy food.

Primary Eligibility

  • Low-income households
  • Children (until age 22) living with their parents are considered part of a household
  • Most documented non-citizens or family members born in the United States can get CalFresh benefits * NOTE: As of June 1, 2019 SSI recipients are now eligible for CalFresh!

Income Limit Examples Countable monthly net income limit:

  • $1,012 per individual
  • $1,372 for a family of two

Asset Limits

  • In most cases there is no asset limit. Should there be one, it is:
  • $2,250 in assets for a family unit
  • $3,250 if the family includes someone 60 or over

How Can I Apply?

  • Social Services Agency: Application Center: 1867 Senter Rd., San Jose, CA 95112

  • North County Office: 1330 W Middlefield Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043

  • South County Office: 379 Tomkins Court, Gilroy, CA 95020

  • http://www.mybenefitscalwin.org

  • 24-Hr Automated InfoLine: 1-877-96-BENEFITS or 1-877-962-3633

WIC >

Description: WIC serves low income pregnant and breastfeeding women and parents raising infants or children under the age of 5 years. Foster parents, guardians and single fathers who have custody of their children can also get WIC.

WIC provides breastfeeding promotion and support, nutrition tips, checks to buy healthy foods and some formula, and referrals to health care and community services.

Primary Eligibility

  • A pregnant woman
  • A child up to his or her 5th birthday

Income Limit Examples Monthly gross income limit:

  • $1,872 per individual
  • $2,538 for a family of two NOTE: Unborn children are counted toward household size

Asset Limits N/A

How Can I Apply? Call 408-792-5101 to schedule an appointment by phone. Walk-in appointments are accepted before 3:30 PM. There are 7 WIC offices:

  1. Tully Office: 500 Tully Road, San Jose, CA 95111 Bus Route: 26 (open every Thursday until 6:00 PM)

  2. East Valley Office: 1993 McKee Road, EVT #1, San Jose, CA 95116 Bus Route: 81, 71

  3. Gilroy Office: 7475 Camino Arroyo, Gilroy, CA 95020, Bus Route: 71

  4. Bascom Office: 2406 Clove Drive, T-41, San Jose, CA 95128 Bus Route: 25, 62, 85

  5. Sunnyvale Office: 660 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 Bus Route: 22, 55, 300 (closes for lunch, open every Monday until 6:00 PM)

  6. San Jose Downtown Office (Medical Plaza) 725 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95112 Bus Route: 22, 23, 522

  7. Milpitas Office: 143 N. Main Street, Milpitas, CA 95035 Bus Route: 71, 66, 104 (closes for lunch)

Medi-Cal >

Description: Medi-Cal is a public health insurance program that provides free or low cost medical services for children and adults with limited income and resources. Generally, you must be a U.S. citizen or qualifying immigrant.

Primary Eligibility

  • U.S. citizen or a qualifying immigrant
  • People with disabilities have additional ways they can qualify for Medi-Cal if they don't meet the standard eligibility rules

Income Limit Examples

  • If you are 19-64 years old and your family’s income is:
    • $16,753 for an individual;
    • $34,638 for a family of four
  • If you are a child 18 or younger and your family’s income is at or below 266% of FPL ($66,766 per year for a family of four)
  • If you are pregnant, and your family’s income is at or below 213% of FPL
    • $35,060 if you are single & pregnant with your first child;
    • $53,463 per year for a family of four

Asset Limits

  • Income-based Medi-Cal has no limit on money or other assets one can have
  • Other subsidized Medi-Cal:
    • $2,000 for Individuals
    • $3,000 for couples

How Can I Apply?

  • Social Services Agency: Assistance Application Center, 1867 Senter Rd. San Jose, CA 95112

  • North County Office: 1330 W Middlefield Rd, Mountain View, CA 94043

  • South County Office: 379 Tomkins Court, Gilroy, CA 95020

  • Online: www.mybenefitscalwin.org

  • 24-Hr Automated InfoLine: 1-877-96-BENEFITS or 1-877-962-3633

Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) >

Description: The Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) is a low cost coverage program that provides primary health care services to low-income adults living in Santa Clara County who do not have health insurance. Enrollees will be assigned a primary care provider and receive care at a participating community health center or "medical home".

Primary Eligibility

  • Age 19 yrs or older.
  • Be a resident of Santa Clara County.
  • Not eligible for:
    • Full Scope Medi-Cal coverage
    • Covered California subsidies
    • Employer health insurance

Income Limit Examples

  • If you are 19 years old or older and your family’s income is at or below 200% of FPL ($24,920 per year for an individual; $49,200 per year for a family of four)

Asset Limits

  • N/A

How Can I Apply?