Headlines and Hot Topics

Changes to the Public Charge Determination

The federal rules regarding public charge have changed. The California Health and Human Services Agency, along with its Departments and Offices, issued an updated Public Charge Guide to serve as a resource for individuals and families with questions about the Federal Government’s new federal public charge policy that went into effect on Monday, February 24, 2020. Public Charge Guide (English) (Espanol).

Individuals in California seeking assistance may consult one of many state-funded organizations that provide legal services to immigrants.

Click here for a list of immigration services providers funded by CDSS.

California Access to Housing Fund Stakeholder Call

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will hold a stakeholder meeting on February 28th to discuss the Governor’s Access to Housing Initiative, which includes a proposed $750 million, administered regionally, to reduce homelessness and increase access to affordable housing.

More information on the February 28th meeting.

Expansion of CalFresh to SSI/SSP Recipients!

Recipients of SSI/SSP benefits may be eligible for CalFresh food benefits for the first time! There is no change to the SSI/SSP monthly benefit. To learn about this change, see the Expansion of CalFresh to SSI Recipients Partner Flyer located here:
(English) (Espanol).

For information on to apply for CalFresh food benefits, visit CalFreshFood.org.

Support for Resource Families

The Foster Family Home and Small Family Home Insurance Fund has been expanded to resource families for incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2019. This insurance fund provides liability insurance coverage for resource families related to incidents in providing foster care services.

Click here for more information about coverage, and how to file a claim.

Protecting Savings with CalABLE Accounts

Californians living with disabilities have a new resource available to protect their savings and help build a secure future without jeopardizing access to vital benefits and assistance programs. Savings in CalABLE accounts are tax-exempt and not counted against the means testing on personal assets for Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility.

To learn more about the CalABLE program, go to the CalABLE website.


RESPONSE.CA.GOV provides tools and resources for Californians who have been impacted by wildfires and utility-directed power shutoffs. This website combines emergency response, recovery and resilience information on a one-stop portal that includes local and state resources, health services, shelters and housing, preparedness information, and more.

Key Resources:
  • A digital resource guide includes access to toolkits for emergency planning, crisis counseling and sites to replace important documents like birth and death records.
  • Rx Open, a mapping tool, finds open pharmacies near areas impacted by wildfires.
  • Tools and resources created for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program recipients and providers in emergency situations can be found at the IHSS Program page.
  • Replacement CalFresh Food Benefits: CalFresh recipients can request replacement of food benefits if their food spoiled because of a power outage. To learn more, click here:
    (English) (Espanol).

Resources Available for Earthquake Recovery
CHHS has compiled a list of resources available to assist with recovery from the significant earthquakes that struck July 4 and July 5, causing significant damage in Kern and San Bernardino counties. The list includes contact information for crisis counseling, recovering important records, finding shelter, and accessing other benefits.

For more information, please visit the CHHS website .

About CDSS

California Department of Social Services
744 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

For public assistance case issues, inquires, or complaints, e-mail CDSS Public Inquiry and Response Unit at piar@dss.ca.gov.

For Out of State Inquiries please use the following list to reach the appropriate county.

Wraparound Families

Programs, Policy and Practice: California Wraparound Serves Families and Strengthens Communities. For more information visit Wraparound Families.

Work With a Purpose

The California Department of Social Services supports programs which serve more than eight million people across our state. This work, accomplished everyday, provides stability, opportunity and promotes wellness in communities throughout California. Come join our team to experience what it is like to enjoy 'Work With a Purpose'.

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