Headlines and Hot Topics

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information


Beware of Fake Letter

We have become aware of a fake letter containing references to Merced County Human Services Agency that is circulating on social media. It includes the faked signature of a state official. The letter tells clients they must get tested for COVID-19 in order to continue their benefits. It also tells clients that if they test positive, their children will be removed into foster care. The letter asks people to visit a website, as well. The letter, its contents, and the website are fake.

We have alerted the appropriate county authorities for investigation. If you receive this letter, please disregard it. State departments and county human services departments NEVER will ask about your health status in connection to an application for benefits. Similarly, children must be subject to abuse or neglect to enter foster care. Children cannot be put into foster care just because a parent may be ill.

If you have helpful information about the source of the letter, or if anyone has questions or concerns about the authenticity of materials from the Department, please contact us at: (916) 651-8848 or piar@dss.ca.gov. We would appreciate your assistance in protecting Californians during this difficult time.

Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants

The California Department of Social Services will be administering the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Project, providing one-time disaster relief assistance to undocumented adult immigrants impacted by COVID-19. For more information please visit the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants page.

Get Help Buying Food While Schools Are Closed

The Pandemic EBT program is for students who are normally able to get free or reduced-price school meals. Eligible families will receive up to $365 in total benefits per child. Starting about May 12, many eligible families across California will receive their P-EBT cards without applying. Beginning May 22, those who do not receive their P-EBT cards in the mail may apply. Learn more about Pandemic EBT.

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 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

For information on COVID-19, please visit:

COVID-19 Guidance:

Coronavirus Tax Relief

The federal government will soon issue Economic Impact Payments to help people during the coronavirus pandemic. Most taxpayers don’t need to take any extra steps to receive an automatic payment. The Internal Revenue Service will rely on information from a taxpayer’s 2019 federal tax return if they filed it, or from their 2018 federal tax return if they haven’t yet filed for 2019. For the latest information, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus. The Internal Revenue Service and Franchise Tax Board both offer options to file tax returns for free.

Changes to the Public Charge Determination

The federal rules regarding public charge changed in February 2020. The Public Charge Guide is a resource for individuals and families with questions about the new federal public charge policy: (English) (Espanol). Benefits related to a declared public health emergency generally are exempt from the federal public charge policy.

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 .

U.S. Census 2020

Every 10 years the Census determines California’s federal funding for important community services that help support our families. The California Census Committee has provided brochures in (English) (Armenian) (Chinese) and (Spanish) so you can learn more about the 2020 Census. Participate now!

Power Outage and Fire Response Resources

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

About CDSS

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

For public assistance case issues, inquiries, or complaints, e-mail our 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.

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'.