The Child and Elder Care Benefits Program offers a number of different benefits. Before applying, you should review these Benefits to help you select the one that will best meet the needs of your family this next year. Counselors are available in person on Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as by phone, to discuss your benefit options and the application process (Contact Us).
To apply for a benefit you need …
- …to be eligible to receive a benefit. To be eligible, you must work for an employer that contributes to the Child and Elder Care Benefits Program (see List of Participating Employers). You must have worked sufficient hours or shifts to qualify for these benefits. Check with your employer or your Union for more details about your hour requirement.
- … to meet the residence requirement. Benefits are limited to children and relatives who live in the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Solano, Stanilaus, and Yolo. Relatives who live elsewhere do not qualify for benefits.
- … to complete the Application Form . Copies of all Forms are available on this website and from the Plan office). The Application Form must be filled out completely. If you are a first-time applicant, we encourage you have the Plan office review your paperwork before you apply.
- … to attach all required documents to your application. The Benefits pages list the required documents for each benefit. Copies of all Forms are available on this website and from the Plan office.
- Benefits are granted on a yearly basis: the Plan year beings September 1st and runs until the following August 31st. You will need to reapply each year. Because there are a limited number of slots for each benefit, those who apply early are more likely to receive their first choice.
- Application Time is always scheduled for two weeks in July. Each year the specific dates will be publicized through the hotels and on this website. The Plan also mails application materials to potential participants. Applications received during Application Time have priority over those that arrive later.
- Applications submitted during Application Time in July receive decisions in September. A letter will be mailed informing the participant of whether they will receive a benefit that Plan year.
- After Application Time, the Plan continues to accept applications all year for any benefits that remain available. Decisions on these applications are made as the applications come in.
- When a benefit has no more slots available, applicants can be put on a waitlist. Except for newborns, May 31st is the last day we accept applications until Application Time in July.
- Every spring we have special pre-application sessions for the Elder/Disabled Relative Care Benefit, where you can meet with counselors to discuss your family member’s needs and review your paperwork in advance of Application Time in July. Attendance is voluntary, but allows you to use the Fast Track line during Application Time, which makes the process of applying for benefits much quicker.
- If you disagree with any benefit decision of the Plan office, for example about your eligibility for a benefit, you have a right to appeal that decision. This can include submitting more information for the Plan’s consideration, getting a more detailed reason for the Plan’s decision, or requesting further review of your case. Contact the Plan office for details on how to do this.
- On the Application Form, select one benefit option as your first choice and a different benefit option as your second choice. These choices can be different benefits for the same member of your family or different benefits for different members of your family. You cannot select the same benefit twice, even for different family members.
- If you and your spouse (or domestic partner) are both participants, you may not both select the same benefit for the same family member. You and your spouse can pick different benefits for the same member of your family, the same benefit for different family members, or different benefits for different family members.
- Normally your benefit will stop at the end of the Plan year. A benefit may stop early if the family member who receives it no longer qualifies (for example if your child exceeds the age limit). If your benefit terminates before the end of the Plan year, you may apply for a different benefit as a replacement if there are slots available.
- For certain benefits, you must submit original receipts before you will be reimbursed. The benefits that require the submission of original receipts are the Pre-Kinder Child Care Benefit, Formal Child Care Benefit, and the Youth Program Benefit.
- SAT/ACT College Preparation Benefit: This benefit can be received in addition to another benefit. If you select this benefit on your application, you can select another benefit for a child or elder/disabled relative as well.
- Youth Program Benefit: This benefit can be received in addition to another benefit. If you select this benefit on your application, you can select another benefit for a child or elder/disabled relative as well.
- Newborn Benefit: This benefit can be received in addition to another benefit. Also, if you welcome a newborn to your family during the Plan year, you can apply for this benefit at that time, even if you are already receiving a different benefit.
Required Documents with Application
- Some benefits require that you submit proof that the relative you are applying for still lives in one of the approved counties. This proof can be a document like a report card, mail addressed to the relative, or a tax return that lists your relative as your dependent. To be valid, this proof must be from within 90 days of the date of your application.
- Birth or marriage certificates in a foreign language must be translated into English, then verified by a notary public.
- If you are applying for the same relative as last year, you do not have to submit your relative’s birth or marriage certificate or their social security number again.
- The benefits you receive from the Plan may be considered taxable by the Internal Revenue Service. Each year you will be sent a W-4 form to complete and return to the Plan office. In January, the Plan office will send you a W-2 form that covers just these benefits, to file with your taxes. That W-2 will indicate whether the benefit you got was taxable.