California's welfare schemes include cash payments for people on low incomes who are out of work, blind, disabled or over 65. The state also pays money for nutrition to low-income families, a program known unofficially as food stamps, as well as providing health care services for some people on low incomes. In each case, an income limit applies, usually based on the Federal Poverty Guideline figures.
To receive food stamps in California, a household must meet two income limits. The first is gross income, which is 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline. As of June 2011 this is $1,174 a month for a single-person household, $1,579 for a two-person household and an additional $405 for each additional householder. The gross income limit does not apply to households where a member is aged over 60 or disabled.
The second limit is net income, which is gross income minus set deductions for certain living expenses based on the makeup of the household. The net income limit is 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline, which is $903 a month for a single-person household, $1,215 for a two-person household and $311 more for each additional member.
People who are blind, disabled or aged over 65 can usually receive the federal Supplementary Security Insurance (SSI) if their income is below $674 per month for a single person or $1,011 for a couple. The federal payment makes up the difference between this limit and the person's actual income. California provides an additional cash payment to "top up" SSI. Because of this additional payment, people in the state who receive SSI are not eligible for food stamps.
California residents may receive welfare payments by enrolling into a program known as California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids. This requires the household to have income of no more than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline. This is gross income minus allowable deductions, such as $240 for some disabilities, $90 for work-related expenses and up to $200 for dependent care. There is also an asset limit that starts at $3,000 for a one- or two-person household and increases depending on the number of householders.
California offers health coverage to people in a wide range of demographic and medical categories, each with its own income limits. People enrolled in the CalWORKS scheme are automatically eligible for the coverage.