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 Shows Mixed Performance

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 Year End Story Behind Performance

Percent of Public Assistance Applications Processed within State Standards for Timeliness

To ensure clients and families are receiving benefits timely, the Economic Self Sufficiency (ESS) Branch focused on decreasing processing times. For FY 2017-18, 97% of CalWORKs, 91% of CalFresh and 96% of General Assistance applications were processed timely meeting or exceeding the state standard of 90%. The Medi-Cal and CAPI processing times 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 policies to ensure staff have the information and training was completed.  Medi-Cal experienced a 33% spike in applications during open enrollment, which contributed to processing timeliness in 77% of cases.. ESS continues to modify First Contact Resolution (FCR) and is expanding Whole Case Processing to ensure timely processing.

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 decreased to 46%, which is 9% below the target for FY 2017-18. This is the second year the program realized a decrease in this measure, which is consistent with the decrease in CalFresh enrollments. ESS has expanded the collaboration with community food groups in order to reach out to former or potential clients who are accessing food from non-governmental agencies or sources. The and websites were launched in May 2017.  The mobile outreach van will be operational in FY 2018-19.

Cost per Client Managed for Public Assistance Program Eligibility

The cost per client for FY 17-18 was $404, which is under the target of $450.  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.

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: Deanna Abrahamian,                                  Contact Email:               Last Updated:08-27-2018 
Director of Economic Self Sufficiency