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Work Registration

Each non-exempt CalFresh household member age 16 through 59 must be registered for employment at initial application and once every 12 months after initial registration, as a condition of CalFresh eligibility.

Work Registration Exemptions

An individual may be exempt from the CalFresh Work Registration requirements for any of the following reasons:

  • A person under 16 years of age; 60 years of age or older; or 16 to 17 years of age who is not the head of household, is attending school, or enrolled in an employment training program at least half time;
  • A person physically or mentally unfit for employment;

o   The disability must be expected to last at least 30 calendar days;

o   The disability significantly impairs the individual’s ability to be regularly employed or participate in employment activities; and 

o   The individual is actively seeking appropriate treatment.

  •  A person registered for an employment services program;

o   A person who is complying with any work requirement under Title IV of the Social Security Act, including California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) programs.

  •  A parent of, or responsible for the care of, a dependent child under age six or an incapacitated person;

o   The child or incapacitated person does not have to be a member of the CalFresh household or living in the same home.

o   Only one household member may be exempt due to caring for the dependent children under six or incapacitated person.

  • A person who is receiving Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) or who has applied for, but has not yet begun to receive unemployment benefits;
  • A person participating in a substance use or alcoholic rehabilitation program;

o   The substance use or alcoholic rehabilitation program must be managed by a publicly operated community health center or a private nonprofit organization.

  •  A person who is employed or self-employed and working at least 30 hours per week or has earnings equal to the federal minimum wage times 30 hours per week;

o   As of July 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The federal minimum wage times 30 hours is equal to $218 per week.

  • A student enrolled at least half-time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education;
  • Victims of trafficking, domestic violence, or other serious crimes (T Visas & U Visas).

If one of these exemptions applies to you or a member of your household, please fill out an ABAWD Time Limit Exemption Screening form and provide it to your worker.

Work Registration Requirements:

In order to meet the general CalFresh work requirements, a work registrant must:

  • Participate in a mandatory CalFresh Employment and Training (CFET) component, if assigned (Note: CFET is currently a voluntary program in L.A. County);
  • Provide sufficient information to determine employment status or availability for work;
  • Report to an employer when referred by the County;
  •  Accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment; and
  • Not voluntarily quit a job of 30 or more hours per week or reduce work hours to fewer than 30 hours per week.

There are no mandatory mid-period reporting requirements associated with Work Registration. Work registrants who voluntarily quit a job of 30 hours or more per week, or those that reduce the weekly number of hours worked to less than 30 without good cause may be subject to disqualification from CalFresh. 

Loss of Work Registration Exemption:

  1. An individual who has lost a Work Registration exemption due to a change in circumstances must be registered for work at the time the change is reported.
  2. A person who lost his or her exemption due to a change in circumstance that is not subject to a reporting requirement must register for employment at the household’s next recertification. The following changes are not subject to reporting requirements:

a. Loss of student status

b. Child turns 18 years old

c. Youngest child turns six years old

Good Cause Determination

When the CalFresh work registrant fails to comply with CalFresh Work Registration requirements, the County will evaluate and determine if the reason for failing to comply meets a Good Cause reason. Good Cause includes circumstances beyond the registrant member’s control, such as, but not limited to:

  1. Illness;
  2. Illness of another household member which requires the presence of the work registrant member;
  3. A household emergency;
  4. Lack of adequate childcare for children age six through eleven;
  5. Unavailability of transportation; and
  6. Problems caused by the work registrant’s inability to speak, read, or write English.

Disqualification Period

When a CalFresh work registrant fails to comply with Work Registration requirements without Good Cause, a disqualification must be applied.

The disqualification period begins effective the first of the month after a ten-day notice is sent, as follows:


Then the Disqualification Period is for….

This is the first Work Registration and/or voluntary quit disqualification

ONE (1) calendar month.

This is the second Work Registration and/or voluntary quit disqualification

THREE (3) calendar months.

This is the third or greater Work Registration and/or voluntary quit disqualification

SIX (6) calendar months.

Disqualification only applies to the non-compliant household member(s), not to the entire household. Other members in the household may continue to receive CalFresh benefits, if otherwise eligible.

Ending a Disqualification Period

Following the completion of the disqualification period, an individual who is otherwise eligible, may reapply for CalFresh and be approved if it is determined that the individual is fulfilling the CalFresh Work Registration requirements.

At any point during the disqualification period, if an individual qualifies for any of the Work Registration exemptions, the individual may restore eligibility by reapplying for CalFresh benefits, if otherwise eligible.