Public benefits are available to help you get through hard times. Benefits can include monthly financial assistance – such as unemployment or social security disability insurance – or in the form of access to health care, food and housing. There are also special programs for seniors, people with HIV and women with children. To receive benefits, you have to complete an application.
Benefits.gov is an official U.S. government website created to inform people about public benefits they may be eligible to receive and to provide information about how to apply for assistance.
- If you are not sure what type of public benefits you might be eligible to receive, use their handy Benefits Finder tool. You can search the site by where you live (Benefits for Californians) or by type of benefit.
- If you are disabled, try Disability.gov for information specific to your situation.
- Another source of information is the The People’s Guide to Public Benefits, which is a comprehensive source of information about benefits and services available in Los Angeles County.
Additional information about specific resources is available at these sites:
- How can CalFresh help put healthy food on my family’s table?
- How do I apply for Medi-Cal?
- How do I sign up to start receiving my Social Security benefits?
- What are housing choice vouchers?
- What benefits are available to people with disabilities?
- What do I need to know about California unemployment insurance?
- What is KinGap and how can it help me care for a relative’s child?
GET PUBLIC BENEFITS COUNSELING
Bet Tzedek Legal Services specializes in public benefits issues affecting seniors and disabled adults, including In-Home Supportive Services and SSI appeals. Bet Tzedek also provides public benefits counseling at Seniors Centers (20 locations around Los Angeles County), hospitals (St. Francis and St. Vincent) and at the SOVA food banks. For help, call (323) 939-0506.
Disability Rights California helps disabled children and adults apply for public benefits, such as Supplemental Social Security (SSI), In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and California Children’s Services. For more information call (800) 776-5746.
The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles assists low-income people get or deal with a denial of public benefits, such as CalWORKs (Cash Aid, Child Care, GAIN), CAPI, CalFresh/SNAP, Foster Care, Medi-Cal, Medicare and other health care programs, Social Security, SSI, SSI Reduction Information, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Using Your Share of Cost and General Relief. For help, call (800) 399-4529.
The Legal Aid Society of Orange County provides similar assistance for residents of Orange County. For general public benefits assistance or to sign up for a CalWORKs clinic, call (800) 834-5001.
- Compton CalWORKs Clinic: 725 West Rosecrans, Compton, CA 90222.
- Norwalk CalWORKs Clinic: 11834 East Firestone, Norwalk, CA 90650
Public Counsel offers several legal clinics around the city where you can get public benefits counseling and assistance. They are:
- Blessed Sacrament Clinic: 6636 Selma Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Wednesdays and Fridays. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. For an appointment, call (213) 385-2977 ext. 233.
- PATH Clinic: 340 North Madison, Los Angeles, CA 90004. 2nd Wednesday of the month, starting at 6:00 pm. Walk-ins welcome.
- Toberman Neighborhood Center Clinic: 131 North Grand Avenue, San Pedro, CA 90731. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Thursday of the month. 9:00 am – Noon and 1:00 – 4:00 pm. For an appointment, call (310) 832-1145.
HEALTH CARE ACCESS
Now that the Affordable Care Act is in effect, there are many new options available to people.
Covered California is the statewide health care exchange where you can find affordable health insurance coverage plans, including Medi-Cal.
Figuring out what is the right health care coverage choice for you is difficult, so is deciding what to do if you are having trouble with your health care provider. Fortunately, there is help.
- The Health Consumer Alliance provides information about health care coverage and services. For services, try one of their Local Support Centers.