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General Assistance Benefits

Eligible residents without any means of financial support may apply in-person for help with rent, utilities, some transportation, toiletries and food. The resident must be:

  • unable to support him/herself,
  • have no personal or family resources that can help, and
  • ineligible for federal and state aid, including CalWORKS/SonomaWORKS, or other community help.

General Assistance rules require that:

  • Some clients under age 62 work part-time for the county. These grants last for a total of 90 days during a 12-month period.
  • Clients who are disabled must get written proof from a doctor and may be eligible for benefits until the doctor’s note expires.
  • Clients who will be disabled longer than six months receive help to apply for Supplemental Security Income.

Economic Assistance Lobby Open with Limited Hours and Services

Economic Assistance, 2550 Paulin Drive, Santa Rosa, is open 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday-Friday. Clients and staff must wear masks or face coverings, and maintain six-feet of social distancing. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to keep our communities safe.

    Who May be Eligible

    • Residents of Sonoma County for at least 15 days
    • U.S. citizens or legal immigrants
    • Age 18 or older
    • Married couples under age 18
    • Minors ineligible for other aid
    • Disabled or incapacitated adults
    • Students who are incapacitated or can work the required hours
    • Pregnant women, before they reach the second trimester, with no other children
    • Income and resources (such as a bank account) are below the financial limits 

    You may be eligible for other aid programs, but cannot qualify for General Assistance if you are:

    • a family with children under age 18 
    • a pregnant women after the second trimester
    • a full-time student who cannot work the required hours
    • undocumented. 

    Check with us about other support programs.

    Property Limits for Eligibility

    • Personal property of $500 or less
    • Cash resources of $50 or less
    • One vehicle or two vehicles with a total value of less than $3000. Any vehicle used as a home is not counted.

    How To Apply

    Completing your application can take up to three visits. See the steps to below.

    Step 1: Schedule a Date for Orientation

    To get started, drop in to the Economic Assistance Division, 2550 Paulin Drive., Santa Rosa during business hours. Ask to register for an orientation on an upcoming Tuesday or Thursday. Bring a photo ID or proof of immigration status.

    If you visit the office before 1 PM on a Tuesday or Thursday, you may attend orientation at 2 PM that same day if space is available.

    Step 2:Complete Orientation

    Arrive by 1:45 PM Orientation lasts one hour. At orientation, you’ll hear about the requirements for General Assistance. Once you are finished, you will set a date for an in-person interview at the office. It’s important to attend the interview so you don’t have to start the application process again.

    Step 3:Complete Your Interview

    During the interview with our staff, you’ll learn how to complete your program to remain eligible for your grant. You’ll set a work schedule at the county, if you are required to work. You’ll be able to get your questions about the program answered.

    Step 4: Report Changes within Five Days

    If you have changes to your income, property, address or the number of people in your household, call our office to let us know.

    General Assistance FAQs

    Is eligibility different for General Assistance and SonomaWORKS?

    Yes. Parents or caretakers with children under 18 who live with them may be eligible for SonomaWORKS benefits if:

    • they are U.S. citizens or meet residency requirements, and
    • at least one of the child’s parents is unemployed, disabled, constantly absent or deceased.

    If I qualify for General Assistance, how much will my monthly benefits be?

    An Economic Assistance staff member will calculate the amount you can receive. The amount varies by how many people are in your household and other factors in your life situation. The maximum monthly benefit for a single person is $377.

    How do I use my General Assistance benefits?

    You receive some benefits on an ATM-style plastic card, called an Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT card. Purchases can be made from stores that accept the EBT card or at ATMs displaying the QUEST logo. Rent benefits are paid directly to the landlord.

    What should I do if my EBT card isn’t working?

    Your card may not be active or there are no remaining benefits. Call the California Department of Social Services at (877) 328-9677 or TTY at (800) 735-2929.

    How do I report that my EBT card is damaged, lost or stolen?

    Report the problem as soon you can:

    By phone:(877) 328-9677. You’ll be sent a free replacement card within three working days.

    In-Person: Your card can be replaced immediately at:

    • Economic Assistance, 2550 Paulin Drive, Santa Rosa
    • Economic Assistance, 520 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa
    • Human Services South County Center, 5350 Old Redwood Highway, Suite 100, Petaluma

    Can I receive CalFresh and Medi-Cal at the same time as General Assistance?

    Yes. We can help you apply.

    How do I keep my card PIN number from being stolen?

    Don’t share your PIN with anyone. Never write it on the card or anything kept with the card. Never keep your Social Security number with your card or PIN to prevent identity theft.

    What if I forget my PIN number? Or want to change it?

    Either visit Economic Assistance to select another PIN, or call the customer service telephone number, (877) 328-9677. You need to provide information to verify your identity. Your new PIN will work with your current EBT card.

    Contact Information

    General Assistance

    Economic Assistance
    Human Services Department
    Business Hours
    Monday – Friday
    8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Contact us by Phone

    2550 Paulin Drive (Main Office)

    Santa Rosa, CA 95403
    38.465026, -122.721484