Disaster Help Center
See below for information on public assistance and services available to individuals and families impacted by California disasters:
To support those who have been impacted but are not eligible for federal assistance due to immigration status, California created the Storm Assistance for Immigrants Project, which will help people with the recovery process by providing funding for food, shelter, and other basic needs. Learn more and see a list of eligible providers.
Beware of Disaster-Related Scams
Natural disasters and severe weather can create opportunities for fraud in their wake, occurring at a time when people may be especially vulnerable. Please be aware of potential scams and remember the following tips:
- Scammers may use phone, text, mail, email, and even go door to door to target residents of affected areas.
- State and county officials will never text or call you requesting private information, such as your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card number or PIN. Do not share information with anyone outside of your county welfare department or EBT customer service center.
- Be wary of calls or text messages offering protection plans, free gift cards, and prizes in exchange for personal information.
- If someone calls claiming to be a government official, hang up and call the number listed on that government agency's official website. Never reveal any personal information unless you've confirmed you're dealing with a legitimate official. Workers and agents who knock on doors of residences are required to carry official identification and show it upon request, and they may not ask for or accept money.
- Read more tips from the Federal Communications Commission.
Beware of EBT Theft and Scams
VIDEO: Watch Out for EBT Scams!
VIDEO: Tenga Cuidado Con Las Estafas De Las Tarjetas EBT!!!
California has been experiencing an increase in occurrence of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) theft. In an effort to educate EBT cardholders and mitigate this activity, the California Department of Social Services is providing security tips for those who use EBT cards to receive food and cash assistance in the following linked video. If you think your benefits may have been stolen, you should immediately call the customer service telephone number on the back of your EBT card, (877) 328-9677, or contact your county social services agency.
Alert: Important Change to Public Charge Rule
Immigrants and their loved ones across California can seek and accept medical care, food assistance, and public housing without fear or confusion about public charge consequences thanks to a new public charge rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which goes into effect December 23, 2022. Under the final rule, participation in CalFresh, public housing, or Medi-Cal (except for long-term care), will not be considered as part of the public charge determination. Also, a reminder that medical testing, treatment, and preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, are not considered for public charge purposes. For additional information, please see the following:
- Joint statement from California health and human services leaders in response to the federal public charge changes.
- Public Charge Guide for individuals and families with questions about the these changes in federal policy: (English) ( Español)
Individuals in California seeking assistance are encouraged to consult one of many state-funded organizations that provide legal services to immigrants. Here is a list of immigration services providers funded by CDSS.
Behavioral Health Workforce Scholarship
The Golden State Social Opportunities Program (GSSOP) is a new scholarship for those looking to enter the behavioral health workforce. Priority will be given to those with lived experience in foster care, homelessness, or those who currently work for a community-based organization. Applicants must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited graduate program that prepares them to become one of the following professions: Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, or Licensed Clinical Psychology (PhD or PsyD). The award amount is up to $25,000 per year for up to two years for a maximum award of $50,000 total. The application deadline is 3 p.m. on August 15. Learn more at the GSSOP website.
Free Access to State Parks and Beaches for CalWORKs Recipients
Recipients of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) benefits are eligible for free access to state parks and beaches through the Golden Bear Pass program. Sign up for a 2023 pass.
Adult Protective Services Hotline
If you or someone you know needs protection from abuse and neglect, call the statewide Adult Protective Services hotline: (833) 401-0832. Individuals can enter their 5-digit ZIP code to be connected to their county Adult Protective Services staff, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Statewide Adult Protective Services Data Dashboard
CDSS offers a dashboard containing data submitted by every county Adult Protective Services APS agency in California. Data is sent to the Department by counties monthly via the SOC 242 data collection tool. Included are the number of reports received, recidivism rates, the types of allegations of abuse, and demographic information on clients. See the dashboard.
Foster Care Ombudsperson Hotline
If you are concerned about the care, placement, services, or rights of children in foster care, call the Foster Care Ombudsperson hotline: (877) 846-1602. Service is available Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 8 am to 5 pm.
Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Distance Learning
If you are an educator involved in distance learning, this guide from CDSS and CDE offers tips to help you fulfill your role as a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse and neglect.
Afghan Arrival Response
Concerned about the Afghanistan evacuation? Interested in locating resources or offering assistance to Afghan newcomers? Visit the Refugee Programs Bureau webpage for all of these details and more.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information
Rent and Utility Relief
Rent and utility relief is available through the California COVID-19 Rent Relief program for income-eligible California renters and their landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19. Verify eligibility and apply today!
COVID-19 Community-Based Outreach Campaign
The Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) are working in partnership with The Center at Sierra Health Foundation and the California Community Foundation to administer funding, as authorized by Senate Bill 115 (SB 115), to support outreach via community-based organizations. to disproportionately impacted populations, including workers in higher-risk industries. The outreach will prioritize interactive engagements designed to connect individuals with information and resources related to the COVID-19 vaccine, public health guidance, workers’ rights, and other State resources, including the public safety net. Community-based organizations selected to participate will be awarded funding to conduct outreach over a period of 6 months that will end in August.
For information on COVID-19, please visit: