Disaster Help Center
See below for information on public assistance and services available to individuals and families impacted by California disasters:
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.
$10 Million Available Via CRISIS Grant Pilot Program
CDSS plans to administer $10 million in grants to community-based organizations for emergency response through the CRISES Grant Pilot Program. Learn more about the Request for Applications eligibility and timeline, funding structure, and key dates.
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.
Golden State Grant Program
The Golden State Grant program provides a one-time $600 payment to all eligible CalWORKs Assistance Units as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/State Supplementary Payment (SSP) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) recipients. These payments do not impact your CalWORKs or CalFresh eligibility or monthly benefits. The payments will be automatically sent to households. Read more: CalWORKs | SSI/SSP | CAPI
Golden State Stimulus Payments for IHSS Program Providers
To qualify for a Golden State Stimulus payment, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers must have filed their 2020 tax returns and have received the CaliforniaEarned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). IHSS providers who are exempt from income taxes may still be eligible for the CalEITC but must file a tax return using their year-to-date wages, which can be found on their last paystub of the 2020 tax year. To learn more about the Golden State Stimulus, visit the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) website, chat with an FTB representative online, or call the FTB at (800) 852-5711.
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.
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.
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:
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.