Human Services Agency: Economic Self Sufficiency (7220P and 7210P)

Program Outcome Statement

Provide public assistance services to low-income individuals and families, access to nutritional assistance, and enrollment into health insurance benefits for San Mateo County residents.

Program Services

  • The Economic Self Sufficiency (ESS) branch provides core, essential safety net services to individuals and families in San Mateo County. Services include the following:
  • Health insurance enrollment through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Nutritional assistance through CalFresh
  • Supplemental cash assistance to eligible families with children through CalWORKs
  • Temporary cash assistance to eligible individuals and families without children through General Assistance and cash assistance to legal immigrants through the CAPI program


The Economic Self Sufficiency branch of the Agency is responsible for providing timely eligibility determination of all public assistance programs. ESS manages the health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act and provides health insurance access to thousands of residents in San Mateo County. The ESS branch offers direct client services at five regional offices across the county and operates a call center to assist clients over the phone.
  • Over 131,000 individuals receive health insurance benefits through Medi-Cal and more than 26,000 individuals have access to CalFresh nutritional assistance.
  • Over 1,500 families with little or no income currently receiving cash assistance through the CalWORKs program.
  • Over 500 individuals are receiving general assistance to help meet basic needs of food, housing, utilities, and other necessary living expenses.

Percent of Public Assistance Applications Processed Within State Standards for Timeliness is Within Target

Percent of Residents Receiving CalFresh Benefits from Total Estimated Population Below 125% of the Poverty is Below Target

Annual Cost Per Client Managed for Public Assistance Program Eligibility is at Target

FY 2017-18 Mid-Year Story Behind Performance

Percent of Public Assistance Applications Processed within State Standards for Timeliness

The Agency is committed to providing excellent customer service, thus we have focused our efforts on ensuring that applications are processed within the state standards for timeliness. The ESS Branch is processing 95% of CalWORKs, 90% of CalFresh and 95% of General Assistance applications on time and surpassing the state standard of 90%. For FY 2017-18 Medi-Cal and CAPI are below the target of 90%. For CAPI, the State clarified the processing time for applications, going from 60 days to 30. The agency has updated our policy to ensure staff have the information and training. The Medi-Cal program is at 85%, primarily due to an application increase of 6.5% above FY 2016-17 levels during the current open enrollment period. With our implementation of the following initiatives, we anticipate we will be at the 90% processing level for all programs by end of FY 2017-18.  We continue to build on First Contact Resolution (FCR) and are entering the next phase.  Whole Case Processing expanding on FCR to ensure that all segments of ESS are addressing any open work related to the client’s case.  ESS Management is currently working on integrating sections to smooth the communication lines and processing internally and externally.

Percent of Residents Receiving CalFresh Benefits from Total Estimated Population Below 125% of the Poverty Limit

The percent of residents receiving nutritional assistance through CalFresh dropped to 37%, short of meeting the target by 13% based on population data from 2014. The Agency's statewide CalFresh participation ranking through the California Food Policy Advocates and the California Department of Social Services is falling. For 2017-18 in SMC, we have continued to see a drop in CalFresh enrollments, by 10% over the previous year. We have expanded the collaboration with community food groups anticipating former or potential clients are accessing food from non-governmental agencies or sources. To this end we reauthorized $150,000 Measure K monies to fund Second Harvest. 

Cost per Client Managed for Public Assistance Program Eligibility

The estimated cost per client is $431, which is lower than the target.  Staffing costs have held steady and extra help staff are utilized to process applications for benefits. One time projects to remodel office lobbies and additional automation contracts contributed to higher costs. Client cases are decreasing across all programs except Medi-Cal. 

Future Priorities

  • Continue to reduce program error rates by utilizing Quality Assurance tools to focus training and assistance for staff
  • Continued use of LEAN Six Sigma to ensure efficient processes
  • Develop new mobile opportunities for clients via the Mobile Outreach Vehicle and technology to deliver services and aid clients in accessing services
Author: Maria DeAnda,                                  Contact Email:                    Last Updated: 01-26-2018 
Director of Economic Self Sufficiency