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Up-to-date COVID-19 information

OVERVIEW

FINANCIAL SECURITY

  • Several provisions of the Executive Order (EO) issued by Governor Newsom following the declaration of disaster due to the COVID-19 Emergency, which allowed recipients of safety net programs (CalWORKs, CalFresh, In-Home Supportive Services, Medi-Cal, and Cash Assistance for Immigrants) to continue receiving them without interruption or need for re-certification, expired in June. However, several others, like the stop in CalWORKs time clocks and the waiver of interview requirements, will continue as a result of a separate EO issued in June. For a comprehensive summary of that EO, click here.
  • Water and other utility shutoffs for homes and small businesses are suspended while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, at least until April 2021.
  • Here is a Distance Learning Student Resource Guide from the California Department of Social Services. The guide includes information on free or low-cost internet, English language learning, adult education and workforce skills, video conferencing resources, and more.
  • People have until October 1, 2020, to file for Economic Impact Payments for tax non-filers. If you’re not sure if someone needs to complete the non-filer form, Tipping Point has easy, printable flow charts here in English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian & Chinese. If you want to help someone complete the non-filer form, we have a toolkit that walks you through it. It’s easy! Our partners at Bay Area Legal Aid also have extensive resources online, and the California Department of Social Services also has a resource page.
  • The federal government sent Economic Impact Payments on a pre-paid card. The National Consumer Law Center has prepared this one-pager to explain how to use the card without incurring fees.

FOOD

  • Restaurant delivery service is available for older Californians. Information and sign-up details for interested participants and restaurants are available here.
  • The California Department of Education has created an app to help families locate meals. For the general CDE COVID-19 resource page, click here.
  • California households receiving SNAP food stamp benefits (CalFresh) can now purchase groceries online through a USDA pilot program.

HEALTH

  • Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is covered at no cost for all Californians.
    • If you have Medi-Cal, testing is free.
    • If you are uninsured, testing is also free. You will have to go to a state testing site or one run by your county. You can contact your county public health department, local clinic, and medical provider to receive information about your options for free testing.
    • If you have private health insurance, testing is free and does not need prior approval from your health plan, if it is determined to be medically appropriate by your attending health care provider. This can be any health care professional who is licensed and responsible for providing medical care. Note, this applies to most but not all private health plans.
    • If you are an essential worker and have private health insurance, testing is free and does not need prior approval from your health plan. You can contact your health plan, which will help you secure an appointment for testing. For the purposes of COVID-19 testing, an essential worker is someone who works in the following sectors: health care, home caregiving, congregate care facilities, manufacturing, emergency services, food services, agricultural and food manufacturing, public transportation, correctional facilities, and education.Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is covered at no cost for all Californians.

HOUSING

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More on Financial Security

Several provisions of the Executive Order (EO) issued by Governor Newsom following the declaration of disaster due to the COVID-19 Emergency, which allowed recipients of safety net programs (CalWORKs, CalFresh, In-Home Supportive Services, Medi-Cal, and Cash Assistance for Immigrants) to continue receiving them without interruption or need for re-certification, expired in June. However, several others, like the stop in CalWORKs time clocks and the waiver of interview requirements, will continue as a result of a separate EO issued in June. For a comprehensive summary of that EO, click here.

Water and other utility shutoffs for homes and small businesses are suspended while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, at least until April 2021. To ensure households keep essential Lifeline wireless and home phone service, the California Public Utilities Commission has suspended its rule requiring people with low-incomes to re-enroll in the Lifeline program, also until April 2021.

Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order to expand child care for essential workers, and help prevent child hunger by taking steps to ensure a broad take-up of Pandemic EBT authorized by the federal Families First Act.

California Child Support Services is temporarily stopping the automatic placement of bank liens and suspension of drivers’ licenses, effective on March 17, 2020. Note that there may be instances where actions were already in the process and you will need to contact the agency handling your case. Additional resources and instructions for child support and child support collections during the COVID-19 crisis can be found here.

More on Health Care

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is covered at no cost for all Californians.

If you have Medi-Cal, testing is free. Applications for Medi-Cal will be accepted without proof of income documentation during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have documentation, you should provide it, but it is not mandatory at this time. This is also true for those needing to renew existing coverage – your Medi-Cal will not be cut off if you are unable to provide paperwork. 

If you are uninsured, testing is also free. You will have to go to a state testing site or one run by your county. You can contact your county public health department, local clinic, and medical provider to receive information about your options for free testing.

If you have private health insurance, testing is free and does not need prior approval from your health plan, if it is determined to be medically appropriate by your attending health care provider. This can be any health care professional who is licensed and responsible for providing medical care. Note, this applies to most but not all private health plans.

If you are an essential worker and have private health insurance, testing is free and does not need prior approval from your health plan. You can contact your health plan, which will help you secure an appointment for testing. For the purposes of COVID-19 testing, an essential worker is someone who works in the following sectors: health care, home caregiving, congregate care facilities, manufacturing, emergency services, food services, agricultural and food manufacturing, public transportation, correctional facilities, and education.Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is covered at no cost for all Californians.

Currently, there is a conflict between the California regulation governing health plans for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and federal testing requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act. This conflict in current law might result in a health plan billing you for testing. If this happens and you want assistance with reviewing the bill, please contact Helen Tran at htran[at]wclp.org or (213) 235-2638.

Everyone is encouraged to seek care if they are sick, regardless of income or immigration status. For more information about your right to health care, visit the Health Consumer Alliance’s COVID-19 information site.

More on Housing

Here is Western Center’s Know Your Rights toolkit for California tenants.

The Legislature and Governor announced a deal to temporarily stave off evictions for tenants who can’t afford to pay rent, and the Center for Disease Control issued a federal order stopping evictions for nonpayment until December 31, 2020. Read our analysis of how the laws are likely to interact here. These are not long term solutions. Western Center will be actively involved in the push for better, longer term protection for tenants.

Here’s a helpful resource from our partners at Legal Services of Northern California:

Additional Resources