How Cash Assistance Works

After your Cash Assistance (CA) eligibility interview, you are mailed an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and an eligibility notice telling you whether you qualify. The card generally arrives before the eligibility notice and you may be mailed a card even if you are not eligible for CA.

The eligibility notice tells you if you will get benefits and how much you’ll get. You then have to attend an orientation and participate in CA’s Jobs Program.

Cash Assistance Payments

If you qualify for Cash Assistance, you get monthly payments. You can choose to get your payments through:

  1. An Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, or
  2. Direct deposit to a bank account.

In most cases, you can get Cash Assistance (CA) in Arizona for a maximum of 12 months. These 12 months can be one after the other (one year) or can be spread out over your lifetime. After that, you cannot qualify for benefits in Arizona. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, some people with disabilities may be able to get benefits for more time.

Rules for Families with People with Disabilities

There are a few Cash Assistance rules that only apply to families with people with disabilities:

  • If you have a disability you may not have to participate in the Jobs Program, but you do have to enroll and then be exempted by your employment counselor.
  • Your Jobs Program might be different if you or someone you are caring for has a disability.
  • You can’t be on both SSI and CA at the same time (but other members of your household could be eligible for CA while you are on SSI).
  • If you have a disability or are taking care of someone with a disability, CA's 12-month time limit might be extended. You will have to make a hardship request; the extension is not automatic.
Nutrition Assistance

If you qualify for Cash Assistance, you probably also qualify for Nutrition Assistance (formerly Food Stamps). Even after your Cash Assistance ends, you may still be able to continue getting Nutrition Assistance. Read more about Nutrition Assistance in DB101's article about it.

Finding a Job

In addition to cash benefits, Cash Assistance also helps you find a job. In fact, once you're enrolled in CA, you’re required to participate in the CA Jobs Program. The Jobs Program will help you with things like:

  • Figuring out your employment goals
  • Planning to reach those goals
  • Learning new skills
  • Keeping track of your progress
  • Searching for a job
If you don't participate in the Jobs Program, you stop getting benefits
It is very important to participate in the Jobs Program. If you have an appointment or class you need to attend for this program, make sure to go:
  1. The first time you miss an appointment, class or other program requirement, your benefit will be cut by 25%
  2. The second time, it will be cut by 50%, and
  3. The third time, your benefit will end.

Reporting Your Income

Whenever your income or family situation changes you need to report those changes to the Cash Assistance program by the 10th day of the month after the change. The Family Assistance Administration maintains a detailed chart listing everything you need to report.

There are several different ways of reporting:

  1. You can report online at MyFamilyBenefits.
  2. You can call your local DES/Family Assistance Administration office and report over the phone.
  3. You can call 1-855-432-7587 or 1-855-HEAplus and report over the phone.
  4. You can download the Change Report form and submit it to your local DES/Family Assistance Administration office by mail, by fax, or in person.

Renewing your eligibility

Even if your income doesn’t change, you need to renew your eligibility regularly. Generally, you need to renew about every six months, though the exact dates may vary.

The Family Assistance Administration contacts you when it's time to renew, so be sure to report all changes (especially changes in your telephone number or address) so they can reach you when you need to renew.

For more help, contact your local DES/Family Assistance Administration office or talk to a Work Incentive Consultant.