Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) during the Coronavirus Pandemic
How You Can Help Expedite the Processing of Your CalFresh Application
During the COVID 19 crisis we are experiencing a higher than average number of applications. In order to help expedite the processing of your case, you can turn in the following types of mandatory verification, either with your application, or shortly after submitting your application. If we have everything needed to process your case we will waive your interview. If we do need additional information or verification a worker will call you for an interview. Your worker will give you your case number, information on any additional verification that is needed, and the various ways to turn in verification.
Once you are given your case number please include it along with any additional verification you turn in.
Types of mandatory verification
- Non-Citizen Status (if applicable)- Legal Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card”
- Social Security Number
To complete your application and for quality control purposes, you may be called by the County of Ventura. Please make sure to update any phone number changes, and please make sure that unknown callers are not blocked so we can reach you.
1. How will an Economic Stimulus payment affect my Medi-Cal case?
Any economic stimulus payment received as part of the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and/or the American Rescue Plan have provided tax rebate checks for adults and tax dependent children based on a household’s adjusted gross income. These payments are not counted as income or property for Medi-Cal.
2. What should I do if I receive health insurance through Covered California, but I am unable to make payments as my income has decreased. Can I apply for Medi-Cal?
Report your change of income through your existing Covered California account at www.coveredca.com. If you no longer qualify for health insurance coverage through Covered California, your case will automatically be transferred to the Human Services Agency where an eligibility evaluation will be completed for Medi-Cal.
3. If I receive a Medi-Cal renewal packet, do I need to mail it in, as I understand that benefits will not be terminated during this public health crisis?
Yes, please submit your renewal packet so that when the suspension period is lifted, your benefits will not be discontinued. Once the suspension period is lifted, if you have not submitted your renewal packet, your benefits will be terminated.
4. What if I get Pandemic Unemployment or Lost Wages Assistance; will it impact my Medi-Cal case?
Pandemic Unemployment income is countable for Medi-Cal; however, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Lost Wages Assistance are not counted as income. You should report all income so your Medi-Cal eligibility can be determined correctly.
1. How will an Economic Stimulus payment affect my CalFresh case?
The one-time Economic Stimulus payment will not impact your CalFresh case, as it is not considered income.
2. If I get unemployment, will it impact my CalFresh case?
Yes, unemployment is considered income and will impact your CalFresh case.
3. If I get Pandemic Unemployment benefits, will it impact my CalFresh case?
Yes, Pandemic Unemployment benefits are considered unearned income and will impact your CalFresh case.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – provides benefits to individuals who normally do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, i.e. businesses, self-employment, and independent contractors.
4. I’m having trouble applying for CalFresh benefits, what should I do?
You may apply online at BenefitsCal.com or contact our Customer Service Center at 888-472-4463, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also stop by one of HSA’s Site Locations to pick up an application. You can take an application, complete it, and return it by mail (self-addressed envelope provided), by fax at 805-658-4530, or drop it off in the mailbox located at one of our offices. A CalFresh application can be submitted with just your name, address, and signature. However, we encourage you to complete the entire application to the best of your ability.
5. Will CalFresh participants receive any additional CalFresh benefits?
From April 2020 through September 2021, Active CalFresh households received a Temporary 15% Increase of CalFresh benefits. Effective October 1, 2021, the CalFresh Maximum Allotments increased and continue on a monthly schedule. The final Emergency Allotment (for February 2023) was issued in March 2023. Beginning April 2023, CalFresh benefits returned to the regular amount, which is the amount put onto your EBT card between the 1st and 10th of each month. Regular benefits are based on household circumstances, including household size, income, and deductions.
Eligible for CalFresh
(as of October 2021)
ended October 2021
6. Will the emergency payment be based on how many people are part of the CalFresh applicant household, even if some are not eligible for CalFresh benefits?
No. Only members of the household who are eligible to CalFresh benefits will be considered when determining the value of the emergency payment.
7. What if my household already receives the maximum allotment, will I receive additional CalFresh benefits?
Yes. Households who received the maximum allotment will receive an additional $95 per month.
8. What type of CalFresh recipient will receive an emergency payment?
The emergency payment is only for regular CalFresh cases. Transitional Nutrition Benefit (TNB) program recipients are not receiving CalFresh; therefore, they will not receive an emergency payment.
9. Can I use my EBT card to make purchases online?
Yes. CalFresh recipients have options to use their EBT card to purchase groceries online with home delivery available at Amazon, Walmart, and by using the Instacart app at Aldi’s and Food 4 Less, or for pick up at Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons. For an updated list of participating stores, please visit cdss.ca.gov/ebt-online.
10. What is Pandemic-EBT?
Pandemic-EBT benefits helped families with children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals to buy food when school is closed. If you received P-EBT benefits, you have a year from the date the benefits were issued to use benefits. Families that have already received a P-EBT card and need assistance with PIN setup, need to request a replacement card, or did not receive their card in the mail as expected, may contact the P-EBT/EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677 for assistance.
11. What other assistance is available during COVID-19?
Aside from reaching out to our offices, you can call 2-1-1 or the state hotline 833-544-2374 to get referrals to additional local resources, or visit cafoodbanks.org, an online resource page.
1. My worker is asking me to apply for unemployment benefits but I am having trouble getting through. How will this affect my CalWORKs case?
Applying for unemployment benefits is an eligibility requirement for CalWORKs. You must continue to call (1-866-333-4606) or apply online at EDD.ca.gov. If you are unable to get through by phone or online, you can provide proof that you have tried and were not successful. You can complete a sworn statement for now but you must continue to call or apply online. Once you apply, you must provide proof that you applied. Your CalWORKs case will be discontinued by the next SAR 7 or annual redetermination, whichever comes first, if you do not provide proof that you have applied for unemployment benefits.
2. I got approved for unemployment benefits and I have now started receiving them. Will unemployment benefits be counted for CalWORKs?
- If you have recently applied for CalWORKs and your CalWORKs application has not been approved and you are now receiving unemployment benefits, then you must tell your worker and send a copy of your approval notice within five (5) days of the approval of your unemployment benefits. The unemployment benefits will be used to determine if you are eligible to CalWORKs. If you are eligible to CalWORKs, then the unemployment benefits will be used to determine your grant amount.
- If you are already receiving CalWORKs you must report your unemployment benefits only if you have earned income and the combined earned income and unemployment benefits is over your Income Reporting Threshold (IRT). If you are only receiving unemployment benefits then you do not have to report it. You will need to report the unemployment income on your next SAR 7 report or annual redetermination, whichever comes first.
3. What if I get Pandemic Unemployment will it impact my CalWORKs case?
How the Pandemic Unemployment affects your CalWORKs case depends on the type of Pandemic Unemployment benefits you receive. Your worker will ask you for proof of the type of benefits you receive and they will tell you how it affects your CalWORKs case.
4. How will an Economic Stimulus payment affect my CalWORKs case?
The one-time Economic Stimulus payment will not affect your CalWORKs case and will not be counted as income. It will be counted as property if you still have it 12-months after you received the payment.
5. I received an appointment to complete my CalWORKs/CalFresh redetermination for the current month. Do I need to keep my appointment?
Yes, you need to keep the redetermination appointment. If you fail to keep your appointment your benefits will be discontinued.
6. What if I get Lost Wages Assistance will it impact my CalWORKs case?
Lost Wages Assistance is considered exempt income and will not impact your case.
7. What if I get Disaster Unemployment Assistance will it impact my CalWORKs case?
Disaster Unemployment Assistance is considered exempt income and will not impact your case.
1. What is General Relief?
General Relief provides temporary assistance to eligible adults age 18-64, with no dependent children. The General Relief program assist clients with basic living needs, including rent, utilities, and personal incidentals. General Relief payments are considered a loan and must be repaid to the County.
2. What is the maximum grant for General Relief?
The maximum General Relief grant for a household of one is $310 and for a household of two is $418.
3. How are General Relief benefits issued?
General Relief benefits are issued directly to your landlord or utility company. If there is money left over after your shelter and utilities have been paid, you may receive a maximum of $13 for personal incidental directly to your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
4. What is the income limit for General Relief?
Your households net income cannot exceed $310.
5. What is the property limits for General Relief?
Your household’s real and personal property cannot exceed $1,000 and $100 for liquid resources (e.g. cash on hand, bank accounts, stocks, etc.).
6. How can I apply for General Relief benefits?
You may apply online at BenefitsCal.com or contact our Customer Service Center at 1-888-472-4463, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
7. Will time limits for General Relief be suspended?
Currently, time limits are not applicable in Ventura County.
8. Will General Relief clients and SSI recipients obtain additional dollars as a result of the Economic Stimulus package?
We are not aware of any Economic Stimulus payments allocated to these benefits.
9. Will General Relief unemployable status be automatically continued?
No. If your unemployable status will expire soon, and you have difficulty obtaining the required documentation for an extension, please contact your assigned General Relief worker or our Customer Service Center at 1-888-472-4463.
10. My worker is asking me to apply for unemployment benefits but I am having trouble getting through. How will this affect my General Relief case?
Applying for unemployment benefits is an eligibility requirement for General Relief. You must continue to call (1-866-333-4606) or apply online at EDD.ca.gov. Your General Relief case can be denied or discontinued if you do not provide proof that you have applied for unemployment benefits.
11. How will an Economic Stimulus payment affect my General Relief case?
Section 2201 of the CARES ACT provides for Recovery Rebates (also known as economic impact payments or stimulus payments) for individuals. These one-time tax rebates give up to $1,200 per individual and $2,400 per couple. This payment is considered income in the month of receipt and shall make the household ineligible for the length of time the income will support the household at the rate of the maximum General Relief payment for the household size.
12. If I get Pandemic Unemployment benefits, will it affect my General Relief case?
Yes, Pandemic Unemployment benefits are considered unearned income and will impact your General Relief case.
13. If I get Lost Wages Assistance, will it affect my General Relief case?
Yes, Lost Wages Assistance benefits are considered unearned income and will impact your General Relief case.
14. If I get Disaster Unemployment Assistance, will it affect my General Relief case?
Yes, Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits are considered unearned income and will impact your General Relief case.
In-Home Supportive Services – Public Authority
1. What do I do during COVID to submit timesheets and other paperwork?
Our offices are open to the public, documents can be mailed in, or submitted in person. We also have a secure drop box outside our Ventura and Simi Valley offices for any paperwork that you would like to submit. If you would like to mail your items, please send them to 4245 Market St. Suite 213, Ventura, CA 93003.
We are continuing to process your provider enrollment paperwork and get you enrolled as an IHSS provider. If you have any questions, please call us at 805-654-3416.
2. Can I attend orientation and timesheet classes?
To minimize gathering and adhere to state regulations, we will not be hosting any in-person timesheet classes or orientation sessions at this time; however, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has released a new Registration Enrollment Video Appointment (REVA) for orientation. All new caregivers also receive information about how to access the state website for time sheet assistance. For further assistance with questions related to the electronic timesheet website or telephonic timesheets, you can call the IHSS Service Desk at 866-376-7066; or call us at 805-654-3416 to receive assistance over the phone during normal business hours (8 am – 5 pm).
3. What does the Public Authority Do?
- Helps match consumers with screened providers and assists both parties in this relationship
- Operates a registry of available IHSS independent providers
- Provides enrollment and program information for new IHSS independent providers
- Acts as the employer of record of independent providers for collective bargaining purposes
4. What enrollment requirements must IHSS providers complete?
All IHSS providers must complete ALL of the enrollment requirements. When you request to become an IHSS provider, you will be sent a packet of information with instructions on how to apply. If you have any questions, please call us at 805-654-3416.
The steps you will be asked to complete include:
- Watch the online state mandated videos via the Registration Enrollment Video Appointment (REVA) system to obtain information about IHSS rules and requirements for being a provider. Currently the in-person orientation is not being conducted. You can call 805-654-3416 for further information.
- Complete and sign the IHSS Provider Enrollment Form (SOC 426). The form must be submitted to the county in person; however, during the COVID emergency it can be returned by mail or dropped off in drop box. The form will be mailed to you when we receive a request to apply.
- Original documentation verifying the provider’s identity (for example, current/unexpired government issued photo identification and social security card) must be provided to the county for photocopying. We are currently accepting photocopies of these documents through mail, email, FAX or in the drop box however starting October 1, 2021 photocopies will no longer be accepted.
- Complete and sign the Provider Enrollment Agreement (SOC 846). The SOC 846 states that the provider understands and agrees to the rules of the IHSS Program and the responsibilities of being an IHSS Provider. The form must be submitted to the county in person; however, during the COVID emergency it can be returned by mail or dropped off in drop box. The form will be mailed to you when we receive a request to apply.
- Submit fingerprints and pass a Department of Justice Background Investigation. The provider is responsible for paying for this service. The required Department of Justice form will be provided to you by our office.
Note: Providers cannot be enrolled and receive payment as an IHSS providers until ALL of the above requirements have been completed, including passing a Department of Justice background check.
5. Do I need my Social Security Card to enroll, even if I have the number?
Yes. Effective October 1, 2021, you need to bring the original Social Security Card and a government issued photo ID to one of your Public Authority offices. Photocopies of these original documents are no longer being accepted through the mail, fax, or drop box. The name must match the Photo ID that you also must provide. We cannot process your enrollment without seeing the original card and a government issued ID.
6. Does my name on my Social Security card and Identification card have to be the same?
Yes. The name on your Social Security card and Identification card must match, including any suffix, in order to be accepted.
7. I can’t find my Social Security Card, what can I do?
Visit the Social Security online services and apply for your replacement card. They will provide you with a replacement card within 7 to 14 days.
8. Do you accept a Social Security card that says “Valid for Work Only with INS and/or DHS authorization”?
Yes. If you have a restricted Social Security card you must also provide your valid Employment Authorization Card.
9. I have been a Provider for several years, why do I have to be fingerprinted?
The State of California mandates that all IHSS Providers, whether they are listed on the Registry or are Non-Registry Providers, submit fingerprints and successfully pass a Department of Justice Criminal background check.
10. I already had a background check done for another job – do I need to do it again?
Yes. Everyone applying to be an IHSS Independent Provider must have a background check done using the forms we provide.
11. Is there a way to speed up the background check process?
No, the DOJ does not have a turnaround time nor is there any way to expedite them from completing their process.
12. Can the provider get a fee waiver if they can’t afford to pay for the Livescan?
No. There are no fee waivers for fingerprints. Every provider is responsible to pay for their Livescan. You will be provided a list of local businesses that conduct fingerprinting and we encourage you to check their fees for this service.
13. Who is responsible for hiring, training, supervising, and if necessary, firing the provider?
The IHSS consumer/recipient or his/her authorized representative is responsible for hiring, training, supervising and if necessary, firing the provider.
14. What are the guidelines for filling out my timesheet?
Effective 10/01/2020, all timesheets are completed online electronically or through the telephone (landline or mobile).
If you have questions about how to complete your electronic or telephone time sheet you can call 805-654-3416.
15. My Consumer refuses to sign my timesheet; what can I do?
If you are a Registry Provider, please contact Public Authority Registry staff at 805-654-3416. If you are a non-Registry Provider, please contact the Consumer’s Social Worker for assistance.
16. Who increases or decreases the number of hours I am authorized to work?
The IHSS Social Worker assigned to the Consumer you work for is responsible for determining how many hours you are authorized to work.
17. Is there direct deposit?
Yes. For information or questions about payroll via direct deposit, please contact the State of California 1-866-376-7066. Direct deposit will be required for all IHSS providers effective July 1, 2022.
18. How do I enroll in the IHSS Electronic Services Portal?
Go directly to etimesheets.ihss.ca.gov to register for the service. For additional assistance, contact the ESP Help Desk at 866-376-7066 Option #4.
19. Do I qualify for paid sick leave?
Yes, after working 100 hours you will have earned sixteen (16) hours of paid sick leave. To use your sick leave, you must work another 200 hours, or after 60 more days have passed.
20. How can I claim my paid sick hours?
To claim your paid sick leave, use form SOC2302 and mail it to the address at the bottom of the form.
21. What is a share of cost?
IHSS consumers/recipients who get IHSS services also have Medi-Cal. Some of these consumers must pay a certain dollar amount each month toward their medical expenses. This dollar amount is called a share of cost (SOC). A SOC is similar to a private insurance plan’s out-of-pocket deductible. Twice a month, both you and the consumer you work for will receive an “Explanation of IHSS SOC” letter that will tell you how much money to collect from the consumer, and how much you will get in the check from the State. The SOC is part of the provider’s salary. The consumer must pay the SOC, if any, to the provider monthly. The SOC may change from month to month.
22. Are IHSS Providers required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Yes, the California Department of Public Health issued a public health order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in adult and senior care facilities and those employed in in-home direct care settings by November 30. See the CDPH Health Order for details. You may be exempted from the vaccine requirement if you have a Qualified Medical Reason or for your Religious Beliefs. To be exempted, you must provide your recipient a signed copy of the COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Form requesting an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement and provide the reason.
In-Home Supportive Services
1. How do I get a hold of my IHSS social worker?
In the Ventura office at 805-654-3260 or call the Officer of the Day at 805-654-3450.
For the Simi Valley office, call 805-306-7935 to inquire about your assigned social worker.
2. What should I do if I have a change in my condition and I need more help from my provider.
Report the change of circumstances to your IHSS social worker. Your social worker will speak to you about this and will assess your current needs.
3. What should I do if I am no longer going to an Adult Day Health Care Center due to COVID-19 and I need more help from my provider at home?
Report the change of circumstances to your IHSS social worker. Your social worker will speak to you about this and will assess your current needs while you are sheltering at home.
4. What should I do if my child is no longer going to School due to COVID-19. Does this affect the IHSS authorization of hours?
Report the change of circumstances to your IHSS social worker. Your social worker will speak to you about this and will assess your child’s current needs while they are home from school.
5. My social worker comes to my home every year. Due to COVID-19 I am not sure I want them coming this year. Who can I speak to about this?
During this period, the IHSS program has modified services in place, via telephone. To support your care and provider needs without interruption.
6. I am without a provider due to COVID-19 issues. How can I get another provider to come and help me in my home?
Report the change of circumstances to your IHSS social worker. Your social worker will speak to you about this and will assess your current needs and will provide you with the contact information to Public Authority to request a new provider.
7. My provider has some questions about their duties, timesheet, pay check, or issues with accessing Electronic Time Sheet System(ETS). How can I direct them or help them with this concern?
For general questions regarding provider concern they may call 805-654-3416 or email at HSA-PublicAuthority@ventura.org
For more information about Electronic or Telephonic Time Sheets: Contact the IHSS Service Desk at 866-376-7066 (option 4) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday – Friday (except major holidays)
About ETS, visit cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/IHSS-Providers/Resources/Timesheet-Information