Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, California is providing one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pandemic unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status. This state funding is expected to reach about 150,000 undocumented adults.

The California Department of Social Services has selected twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations to help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household. Read frequently asked questions.

Nonprofit organizations have completed the application intake phase of the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project at this time. They will continue to work on application approval and pre-paid card disbursement until all funds have been disbursed.

Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project - Allocation Summary


FAQs

See below for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, California is providing one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pandemic unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status. This state funding is expected to reach about 150,000 undocumented adults.

The California Department of Social Services has selected twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations to help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household.

Individuals may begin applying on May 18, 2020. Assistance will be available until the funding is spent or until June 30, 2020, at the latest. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Applicants may only seek assistance with the nonprofit organization(s) assigned to their county of residency.

  • Please note:
  • Funding is limited, and disaster relief application services and assistance are not guaranteed.
  • Nonprofit organizations will not be assisting individuals prior to May 18. Individuals should not contact them ahead of time regarding disaster relief assistance.

This disaster relief assistance is not means-tested and is one-time assistance. The federal government does not list this assistance as a public benefit for a public charge consideration. However, USCIS has not issued specific guidance related to this assistance.

If there are questions about immigration status and this assistance project, please consult an immigration attorney. More information, including a list of free and low-cost immigration services providers, is available in the new Guide for Immigrant Californians.

The information provided to the nonprofit organizations will only be used to confirm eligibility and provide the disaster relief assistance to eligible individuals. The nonprofit organizations will share general demographic information (e.g. age, gender, preferred language, etc.) with the State of California about applicants, but no personal information (e.g. name, address, etc.) will be given to any government agency.

A maximum of two adults per household can qualify for this assistance for a total of $1000 in assistance per household. A household is defined as individuals who live and purchase and prepare meals together.

If a person is found eligible and their application is approved, the nonprofit organization that helped them apply will provide additional information on how they will receive their payment card either through in-person pick-up or through the mail.

Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. The $75 million in direct assistance will be distributed to individuals with approved applications beginning on May 18, 2020, until the funding is spent or until June 30, 2020, at the latest. Given the economic hardship undocumented adults are experiencing due to COVID-19, this disaster relief assistance may run out within a very short period of time.

In partnership with California philanthropy, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) launched the California Immigrant Resilience Fund which seeks to raise $50 million to provide cash assistance to undocumented Californians and their families who are ineligible for COVID-19 federal relief and state safety-net programs. The Resilience Fund is a separate but complementary effort that disburses private contributions to help undocumented Californians weather economic hardship amidst this pandemic. To see a list of organizations distributing Resilience Fund disaster assistance visit www.immigrantfundca.org/

You can find useful information about California services and programs for immigrants in the Guide for Immigrant Californians, including information about jobs, wages, and benefits, and small business and housing supports. Visit www.covid19.ca.gov and click on the Guide for Immigrant Californians tab.

For Inquiries, please contact us at ImmigrantDisasterRelief@dss.ca.gov

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