Disaster Relief Assistance for Undocumented Immigrants Resources

Undocumented Workers and their family recover under new services

On April 15, Governor Newsom announced one-time disaster relief assistance for undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19, who are ineligible for most other forms of pandemic assistance, including direct assistance under the CARES Act and unemployment insurance.

Eligible Californians may receive one-time COVID-19 disaster relief assistance at a value of $500. A limit of two adults per household can receive this assistance (maximum assistance of $1,000 per household).

The CA Department of Social Services (CDSS) has selected 12 nonprofits to help individuals apply for and get this help in their region.

When is the disaster relief assistance available?

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 apply with the nonprofit organization(s) in 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 before May 18. Individuals should not contact them ahead of time regarding disaster relief assistance.

Who is eligible for this disaster relief assistance?

Eligible individuals must be able to provide information that they:

•           Are an undocumented adult (person over the age of 18)

•           Are not eligible for federal COVID-19 assistance, like the CARES Act stimulus payments or pandemic unemployment benefits, and

•           Have experienced hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Can getting this assistance affect my ability to get a green card or to become a U.S. Citizen? Will receiving it make me a public charge?

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 you have questions about your immigration status and this program, please consult an attorney. A list of free and low-cost immigration services providers is available in the Guide for Immigrant Californians (PDF).

Is the personal information I provide to the nonprofits protected?

Your information is only used to confirm eligibility and provide the assistance. No personal information (like name or address) will be given to any government agency. Only general information like age, gender, and preferred language will be shared with the State of California.

How do I apply?

Find the nonprofit where you can apply in your area:

  • Apply no sooner than May 18, and only to the organization in your area. They will assist you with applying, confirm your eligibility, and deliver a payment card if you are approved. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Funding is limited, and disaster relief application services and assistance are not guaranteed.

How many people in a household can receive this assistance?

  • A maximum of two adults per household can qualify for this assistance, for a total of $1,000 per household. A household is defined as individuals who live, shop, and prepare meals together.

How do eligible individuals receive this assistance?

  • You will get a payment card either in person or through the mail. The organization in your area can give you more information.

How long do I have to apply?

  • Payments will be distributed beginning on May 18, 2020.
  • They will continue until the $75 million in funding is spent, or until June 30, 2020 at the latest.
  • We expect that this disaster relief assistance will run out very quickly.
  • Apply as soon as you can, but not before May 18.

If I am unable to apply for this program, are there other organizations that can help me?

Yes. The California Immigrant Resilience Fund is raising $50 million to provide cash assistance to undocumented Californians who are ineligible for other COVID-19 programs. To see if you can benefit from this program

What other government programs may I be eligible for during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Check the Guide for Immigrant Californians (PDF). It has information about jobs, wages, benefits, and small business and housing support.

Agencies handling Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants

County of Los Angeles and County of Orange 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice  (213) 241-8880   

 Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights - CHIRLA (213) 201-8700