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What benefits can you get in California? Social security, unemployment, others...

Residents of the Golden State have a number of programs they can take advantage of if they need financial assistance due to the covid-19 pandemic or not.

Residents of the Golden State have a number of programs they can take advantage of if they need financial assistance due to the covid-19 pandemic or not.

Residents in the state of California, even some non-US citizens, have access to a number of programs to ensure that their welfare is looked after. Due to the covid-19 pandemic some new programs have been set up to provide extra protection to Californians in need.

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Unemployment compensation

Although workers in California are able to claim in normal times up to 26 weeks of jobless financial assistance, those benefits aren't the stingiest nor the best in the nation and don’t get them very far due to the cost of living. Those who are forced out of work due to no fault of their own, including due to covid-19 can apply for weekly payments of between $40 and $450 while they search for a new job.

Enhanced federal unemployment benefits put in place at the beginning of the pandemic and were last extended under the American Rescue Plan are no longer available. Those benefits expired at the beginning of September.

California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL)

California is one of five states that provides its residents with state short-term disability insurance and that currently gives paid family leave to eligible workers. Both programs cover around 60 to 70 percent of wages, ranging from $50 to a maximum of $1,357 in 2021.

Workers can claim up to 52 weeks for a disability caused by a non-work-related illness or injury, including having to quarantine due to covid-19, or for pregnancy. Those who need time off to care for a family member who is seriously ill can claim up to eight weeks of paid family leave.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This federal program provides monthly payments to people who have limited income and few resources. Supplemental Security Income is available to people 65 or older, as well as people of any age who are blind or who have disabilities. You could be eligible for Supplemental Security Income even if you are not a US citizen but lawfully reside in the United States.

CalFresh Food Program

In California the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is known as the CalFresh Program. People with low-incomes that meet federal income eligibility rules can sign up to receive monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy a wide range of foods at many markets and food stores.

Recipients of Supplemental Security Income and State Supplementary Payment benefits may be eligible for CalFresh Food program to put healthy and nutritious food on the table.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides temporary financial assistance for families that have little or no cash and need housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care. Families need to meet the qualifications to receive money each month through CalWORKs to help cover expenses.

Help with rent and utilities for renters and landlords

California will give financial help to cover 100 percent of past due and future rent as well utility bills to landlords and renters. Immigration status does not matter to participate in this program and applicants will not be asked to show proof of citizenship to apply. Applying for rent relief may protect individuals and families from eviction and clear all rental debt.