The County of Sonoma is exercising great caution to help slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to ensure that individuals and families in our community remain as healthy as possible. However, while our in-person hours and services are reduced, the Human Services Department (HSD) is still here to help you and your family.
We offer answers below to your questions about how COVID-19 may impact public benefits such as CalFresh, General Assistance, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Medi-Cal, and SonomaWORKS. Some state and federal reporting requirements have been adjusted to ensure you continue to receive benefits during this difficult time. See below for the answers to some frequently asked questions about public benefits during COVID-19.
We remain confident that by working together, our community will meet the current challenges with strength and resilience. We are #StillSonomaStrong. If you need additional information or assistance, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 565-5800. For ongoing updates about COVID-19 in Sonoma County, visit www.SoCoEmergency.org.
Applying for New Benefits
If I need cash assistance to help support my family, how can I apply for benefits?
SonomaWORKS (CalWORKs/TANF) provides temporary help to families with children who are having trouble making ends meet. Apply for SonomaWORKS online by visiting mybenefitscalwin.org
. After you submit your application and required documentation, we will contact you to set up an application interview by phone. If you have questions about SonomaWORKS, please call (707) 565-5500
. For more information about the SonomaWORKS program, visit sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Services-Department
I lost my health insurance or can no longer afford the cost as a result of losing my job, how can I apply for medical benefits?
Medi-Cal provides free or low-cost medical and dental coverage for eligible individuals and families, and has no interview requirement. To apply for Medi-Cal online, visit either mybenefitscalwin.org
. If you have any questions, please call (877) 699-6868
If I lost my job or had my hours reduced, how can I apply for unemployment?
If you have been laid off or had your scheduled hours reduced due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance claim online, by phone, or by mail. The Governor waived the one week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance, so you do not need to wait to apply. To file an unemployment insurance claim online, go to edd.ca.gov/Unemployment
. Applying online is the best way to ensure that you get your benefits as quickly as possible. However, you can file a claim by phone: call (800) 300-5616
to apply in English or (800) 326-8937
to apply in Spanish.
If I need help applying for unemployment, who can I call?
For limited assistance with Unemployment Insurance applications, call Job Link at (707) 565-5596
. To reach the local Employment Development Department (EDD) office, email email@example.com
or call (707) 576-2850
. Please leave a specific voicemail message and a staff member will respond to your call as soon as possible.
Renewing Your Existing Benefits
Will I be required to complete my work requirements during the COVID-19 crisis?
The work requirements for General Assistance and SonomaWORKS (CalWORKs) Welfare-to-Work have been waived for the months of March, April, and May 2020. If you are still able to complete your assigned activities, please turn in your attendance as usual. However, if you are unable to submit attendance during the COVID-19 crisis, you will not be penalized.
If I lose my Medi-Cal Identification Card (BIC), can I still get it replaced?
Yes, please contact our service center at (877) 699-6868
to request a new Medi-Cal Identification Card (BIC). If you need to access services right away, most Medi-Cal providers can confirm your eligibility in their office by using your social security number.
What can I do if my children are currently covered by a Medi-Cal program with a monthly premium that I cannot afford as a result of COVID-19?
If your children receive health care coverage through the Medi-Cal For Families program and you cannot pay the premium due to COVID-19, you can request a waiver of your premium by calling the Medi-Cal For Families Payment Section at (800) 880-5305
Do I need to call or visit a Human Services Department office to renew my Medi-Cal benefits?
Per California Executive Order N-29-20, all Medi-Cal beneficiaries are currently protected from discontinuance or negative actions. Beneficiaries are still receiving their annual renewal packets and should complete and return those packets - with all verifications - to ensure their coverage is maintained once the public health crisis is over.
Will In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) be impacted by COVID-19?
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) continues to provide services remotely. IHSS referrals can be made through the regular process of calling (707) 565-5900
. IHSS social workers are working remotely and able to respond to calls, do outreach to vulnerable clients, and complete assessments by phone. <a>Note that the state still currently requires an in-person interview for new IHSS applications,
which will be completed once it is safe to do so.
Does COVID-19 affect In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Payroll or Public Authority?
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Payroll and Public Authority are providing all services, including supporting new provider enrollment and referring new providers to clients. Please call (707) 565-2852
for IHSS Payroll and (707) 565-5700
for IHSS Public Authority.
Reporting Abuse or Neglect
How can I report concerns about child abuse or neglect?
If a child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1
right away. Otherwise, please call the confidential Child Protection Hotline at (707) 565-4304
or (800) 870-7064
to report your concerns regarding child neglect, parental abandonment, and emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
How can I report abuse or neglect concerns about an older adult or dependent adult?
If you are concerned that an older adult (age 60+) or dependent adult (age 18+) may be experiencing neglect or emotional, physical, financial, or sexual abuse, please call the confidential Adult Protective Services (APS) Hotline at (707) 565-5940
or (800) 667-0404