Message to Our Community
May 8, 2020
Dear County of Ventura Community Members:
The well-being of our staff and every Ventura County resident is our top priority. While we continue on this path together, following Public Health guidelines for physical distancing and adapting to new norms to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure so we can move into the next phases for reopening, we want to assure everyone in our community that the Ventura County Human Services Agency (HSA) is still available to meet your essential service needs through our secure online portal, by phone, and by mail or drop-off services.
For New Customers
If you have lost your job or just need assistance, please apply for benefits online by visiting the My Benefits CalWIN website at mybenefitscalwin.org.
You may also apply for benefits by phone at 888-472-4463, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you are applying for Medi-Cal, we will work to verify your information electronically. You will be notified by mail if further verification is needed. In addition to My Benefits CalWIN, online applications are also accepted through the Covered California website at coveredca.com.
If you are applying for CalFresh, please submit verification of identity along with other mandatory verifications, and we may be able to waive the application interview in some instances. For information about CalFresh program requirements, please visit our agency website at vchsa.org/calfresh.
If you are applying for CalWORKs or General Relief, the in-person interview requirement has been temporarily waived. An eligibility interview is required prior to the authorization of benefits and will be conducted by telephone.
If you need emergency services such as expedited CalFresh, have an immediate need for CalWORKs, or you are homeless, let a worker know when you are submitting your application over the phone or indicate so when submitting your application through mybenefitscalwin.org. There are no emergency services provided through the General Relief program. For links to other services and assistance programs, visit vchsa.org/hsa-services.
Submitting Mandatory Verification
Verification needed to determine your eligibility for benefits, can be submitted through mybenefitscalwin.org.
For Existing Customers
CalFresh, CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, General Relief, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
Annual Renewal due in March, April, or May 2020
If you are currently receiving CalFresh and/or CalWORKs, and your renewal was due in March, April, or May 2020, your benefits will continue at the same level, as State and Federal government partners have temporarily waived some reporting requirements. You do not need to submit a renewal packet or complete your renewal interview. You do not need to call our office, as your benefits will continue without interruption. Your renewal will be due six months from your original due date. You will receive a notification letter informing you of when your next renewal is due.
If your renewal was due in:
- March 2020 – Your renewal is now due in September 2020.
- April 2020 – Your renewal is now due in October 2020.
- May 2020 – Your renewal is now due in November 2020.
If you are currently receiving Medi-Cal, your benefits will continue for March, April and May 2020. However, you will still need to comply with the annual renewal requirement for Medi-Cal or your benefits will be terminated after the 90 days. If you have received your Medi-Cal renewal packet, you can mail or upload the completed renewal packet to your My Benefits CalWIN account at mybenefitscalwin.org.
If you are currently receiving Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), and your renewal is due in March, April, May, or June 2020, your benefits will continue at the same level. You do not need to complete a renewal packet. You do not need to call our office, as your benefits will continue without interruption.
SAR-7 Due in March, April, or May 2020
If you are currently receiving CalFresh and/or CalWORKs, and your SAR-7 is due in March, April, or May 2020, your benefits will continue at the same level. You do not need to submit a SAR-7 or call our office, as your benefits will continue without interruption. Customers will resume submitting the SAR-7 beginning June 2020.
If you are currently receiving CalFresh or CalWORKs, you must continue to report mandated mid-period changes, including the report of gross income received over the income reporting threshold (IRT). If you are currently receiving Medi-Cal, you must continue to report changes within ten (10) days.
Additional Relief for Existing CalFresh Customers
A CalFresh Emergency Allotment is automatically being added to EBT cards of most existing households. Based on household size, most CalFresh households not already receiving the maximum allowable allotment are eligible to receive this benefit. Further, to make shopping easier during these uncertain times, you can now use your EBT card to buy groceries online at Amazon and Walmart.
Additional Relief for Families with Children Eligible for Free or Reduced-Price Meals
Families with children eligible for free or reduced-price meals whose school facilities are closed will be eligible to receive Pandemic-EBT benefits. These benefits will be issued automatically on new P-EBT cards to be used to buy groceries, just like CalFresh food benefits. Eligible families who don’t receive a card by mail must apply online by June 30, 2020, at ca.p-ebt.org.
Public Authority In-Home Supportive Services
During this challenging time, we want all our Public Authority In-Home Supportive Services providers to stay safe. Please follow all universal precautions when caring for your IHSS recipient.
If you or your client exhibit any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, please wear protective gear, such as masks and gloves. If you suspect you or your IHSS client are ill, please contact the Public Authority at (805) 654-3416 to let us know you are in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) to care for your IHSS client.
The PPE supplies are limited and will be issued to providers caring for ill IHSS recipients while supplies last. Remember to wash your hands frequently.
Children and Family Services
Our Children and Family Services staff remain available to meet your essential service needs virtually, as well as in-person. Prior to meeting in person, we will ask you screening questions. We want all our staff, caregivers and families we serve to stay safe. Please follow all universal precautions when meeting with our staff.
Maintaining Parent-Child Visits
During this pandemic, previously authorized visits must continue. CFS is committed to collaborating with the parent and caregiver to develop the manner of visits — whether it be by videoconferencing or other means to maintain safety — to ensure individual needs of each family are met. Family time is important for child and parent well-being, as well as for efforts toward reunification. All changes in manner of visitation will be made on a case-by-case basis, while balancing the public health directives and best interest of the child and supporting family connection. Please contact your Child Welfare Social Worker (CWSW) if you are encountering any barriers to having visitation with your child.
Seeking to address the legal needs of our families in dependency proceedings while continuing to use caution for court personnel, attorneys, CFS staff, and the families we work with, the judge has issued a new order regarding days court will be open. Hearings are currently being held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Court will be closed Thursdays and Fridays. All persons who are entitled to be present (parents, children over 10, and caregivers) are encouraged to appear via CourtCall, the remote appearance platform. Please contact your CWSW to arrange.
Farmworker Resource Program (FRP)
Staff is conducting phone and videoconferencing whenever possible to provide information and guidance on resources and services available to the farmworker community. FRP is using WhatsApp and Facebook to share information and recently implemented an email to address any questions or concerns related to COVID-19 for the agricultural community: AGCOVID19INFO@ventura.org.
Employers and job seekers can access a complete set of employment tools through the CalJOBS Ventura Portal for America’s Job Center of California at venturacountyajcc.org. This Virtual One-Stop helps employers meet their workforce needs, access resources regarding the labor market, and link to a variety of resources and information. It also helps job seekers find employment opportunities, connect with training and recorded orientation sessions that can be viewed remotely, utilize phone assistance, and uncover many resources and assistance programs to aid in their search for work as well as through the loss of a job.
We also encourage businesses and workers affected by COVID to visit the County’s web site at vcemergency.com/business for business recovery updates, information about state and federal assistance programs, and resource guides.
Our agency has pulled together a COVID-19 Resource List with more than 100 helpful resources in English and Spanish that can be accessed remotely. This list includes links to basic needs services, finding food pantries and free meal services, locating daycare centers open for essential workers, how to cope with anxiety, ways to help, online educational programs, and many other activities and resources available to you whether you are staying home or performing duties as an essential worker through this pandemic.
And finally, stay connected to loved ones during this time through video chat or by phone, and check in on your neighbors. Advocate for our children and older adults who are at higher risk for abuse or neglect during this time. Remember, if you see something, say something. If you have concerns for a child or older adult, please call our hotline anytime, day or night, at 805-654-3200.
Stay Safe and Be Well,