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Get financial assistance for adults without dependent children with General Assistance

Using your benefits

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card

To use your General Assistance benefits you will get a plastic EBT card, also known as the Golden State Advantage card. You can use it just like a debit or ATM card by entering a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). For security the PIN will be sent in a separate mailing, follow instructions to change PIN.

How to check your EBT card balance, buying history and places to use your EBT card;

Beware of EBT theft and scams

Protect yourself against scams, always keep your EBT card and PIN safe and secret. If you receive a text, email or phone call asking for your EBT card number or PIN, do not provide your information, this is a scam! If you have been a victim of stolen benefits: Report the theft to your county worker or (408) 758-3800 within 10 days.

Watch EBT scam video.

Places where you can use your EBT card

You can use your EBT card at any store or ATM that displays the Quest mark, to find locations visit: CA EBT Locator.

Some locations charge a fee for using your EBT card, find out how to get your cash benefits at no cost!

Keeping your benefits

Regular reporting

The County will send you a form in the mail every six months to report changes. These may be changes in your income, property or other factors that may affect your benefits. If you don't return the form, your benefits will be stopped. The County will schedule a phone or in-person interview once a year.

Account maintenance

If your mailing address or phone number change, please update your contact information through your County Eligibility Worker.

Vocational Services

Vocational Services (VS) is a free program that helps you gain skills, tools and training to find a living wage job. With certain exceptions, all those getting GA must participate in the VS program.

Your County Eligibility Worker will let you know if you must participate in the VS program. County Employment Counselor will work with you on an employment plan.

Frequently asked questions

No. You do not have to pay back your GA cash assistance.

If cash assistance is issued to you while your application for Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) is being processed, the county may recover money from your initial retroactive SSI/SSP payment once approved​.

The amount is determined by a County Eligibility Worker after taking into consideration your income, number of people; payment amounts range from $150 to $343 a month​.

To be eligible for GA, you cannot have more than $500 in resources. Certain resources are not counted therefore an individual may own them and still get GA, such as a home you live in​.

Yes. To qualify for GA, you must be a County of Santa Clara resident and a US Citizen or a Qualified Non-Citizen​.​

There is no time limit on how long you may receive GA cash assistance, if you continue to meet all the GA eligibility requirements.

Employment of GA participants is a major objective of the GA program. Able-bodied individuals are expected to find employment or participate in approved activities; employment-related education, training and/or job-search preparation through the Vocational Services (VS) program​.

You will not be expected to participate in the Vocational Services (VS) program if you provide your County Eligibility Worker with a medical verification of your disability. You will be expected to apply for other available income such as Social Security Disability, Social Security Income (SSI) and/or State Disability (SDI or DIB)​.

Yes. You must reside in the County of Santa Clara but residing in permanent housing or having a fixed address is not required.

Contact the County Worker that is handling your case. You will find their contact information of the top right corner of the last County Notice of Action (NOA).

If you are not satisfied with the response from your County Worker, ask to speak to a Supervisor.

If you are not satisfied with the response from a Supervisor, you may request a free confidential case review from our County Ombudsman Office by emailing [email protected].


You have a right to ask for Hearing. To request a Hearing, follow the instructions on the back side of the County NOA you received.

Fill out the back of the NOA and send or take page to;
Appeals Unit
County of Santa Clara Social Services
333 W Julian St.
San Jose, CA 95110-2335


Call (800) 952-5253
TDD for hearing or speech impaired (800) 952-8349