032720OutbreakCoronavirusDespite its office being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sonoma County Human Services Department is continuing to help connect community members with public benefits.

On Monday, the department shared answers to some frequently asked questions about how COVID-19 may impact public benefits such as CalFresh, General Assistance, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Medi-Cal and SonomaWORKS.

“It is important to know that some state and federal reporting requirements have been adjusted to ensure that you continue to receive benefits during this difficult time,” the department said in a press release.

See their answers to commonly asked questions below. For additional information or help, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 707-565-5800. For ongoing updates about COVID-19 in Sonoma County, visit SoCoEmergency.org.

Applying for New Benefits

Q: If I need help paying for food for myself or my family, how can I apply for benefits?

A: Apply for CalFresh (a.k.a. food stamps or SNAP) online by visiting mybenefitscalwin.org or GetCalFresh.org, or apply by phone via 2-1-1. Please submit your application and required documentation, and your application interview will be waived. If you have CalFresh questions, call (877) 699-6868. For more information about the CalFresh program, please go to sonomacounty.ca.gov/Human-Services-Department.

Q: If I need cash assistance to help support my family, how can I apply for benefits?

A: 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.

Q: 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?

A: 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 or coveredca.com. If you have any questions, please call (877) 699-6868.

Q: If I lost my job or had my hours reduced, how can I apply for unemployment?

A: 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.

Q: If I need help applying for unemployment, who can I call? 

A: For limited assistance with Unemployment Insurance applications, call Job Link at (707) 565-5596. To reach the local Employment Development Department (EDD) office, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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

Q: Do I need to call or visit a Human Services Department office to renew my CalFresh, General Assistance, or SonomaWORKS (CalWORKs) benefits?

A: You do not need to call nor visit one of our offices to renew your CalFresh, General Assistance, or SonomaWORKS (CalWORKs) benefits at this time. Current recipients will continue to get benefits at the same level (without interruption) for March, April, and May 2020. If you had a recertification due in March, April, or May 2020, expect to receive a letter saying that your recertification will be due six months from your original due date. For example, if your original recertification was due in March 2020, it will now be due in September 2020. This applies to both annual recertification and periodic reports (Semi-Annual Report, a.k.a. SAR 7). Regular reporting requirements for CalFresh, General Assistance, and SonomaWORKS are expected to resume in June 2020. 

Q: Will I be required to complete my work requirements during the COVID-19 crisis?

A: 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.

Q: What is a CalFresh Emergency Allotment?

A: The CalFresh Emergency Allotment is an increase to your benefits that will be automatically added to your EBT card for March and April 2020. The allotment will increase CalFresh benefits to the maximum amount for eligible household members (up to six individuals). You can expect the first allotment (for March) to be added to your EBT card on April 12th and the second allotment (for April) to be added on May 10th, 2020. If your household is already receiving the maximum amount for CalFresh, no additional benefits will be issued.

Q: If I lose my EBT card, can I still get it replaced?

A: Please call the customer service number at (877) 328-9677 to request a replacement EBT card. If you require an emergency replacement: CalFresh recipients can visit 2550 Paulin Drive in Santa Rosa and SonomaWORKS recipients can visit 2227 Capricorn Way, Suite 100, in Santa Rosa. The lobby doors will be locked; however, our reception staff will be available Monday - Friday between 8:00am - 4:30pm to assist you with this type of critical need. To protect yourself and others, we ask that you wear a face covering, wash your hands, and respect social distancing guidelines.

Q: If I lose my Medi-Cal Identification Card (BIC), can I still get it replaced?

A: 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. 

Q: 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?

A: 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. 

Q: Do I need to call or visit a Human Services Department office to renew my Medi-Cal benefits?

A: No. Due to the Governor’s executive order, current Medi-Cal recipients will continue to receive benefits for March, April, and May 2020. All negative actions have been delayed for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and will be processed at a later date. If you receive information from the county, including renewal packets for Medi-Cal, please make sure to respond. Renewals can be returned via mail or uploaded via mybenefitscalwin.org.

Q: Will In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) be impacted by COVID-19?

A: 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. 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.

Q: Does COVID-19 affect In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Payroll or Public Authority?

A: 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

Q: How can I report concerns about child abuse or neglect?

A: 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.

Q: How can I report abuse or neglect concerns about an older adult or dependent adult?

A: 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.

Pin it

Coronavirus Resources

  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    April 20, 2020

    Tips for Spotting Fake News Stories — And Where to Find Sources You Can Trust

    Anytime there’s a significant news event — like a global pandemic, for example — you can expect misinformation to spread across the Internet. “Fake news” means stories that contain fabricated information, or information that’s based on rumor, shoddy methodology or a partisan agenda. With the…
  • Picture1
    April 17, 2020

    Recursos Alimentarios Durante COVID-19

    La alimentacion es una gran prioridad para muchos durante esta pandemia de COVID-19- cómo mantener a su familia alimentada en medio de despidos del trabajo, preocupaciones sobre salidas para conseguir comestibles y la posibilidad de transmisión por medio de los alimentos, todo mientras se trata de…
  • Groceries
    April 14, 2020

    COVID-19: Food Resources

    Food is top of mind for many during the COVID-19 pandemic — how to keep your family fed amid layoffs, concerns about grocery outings and food transmission, all while trying to maintain social distance. If you’re struggling to put food on the table, have questions about food safety or need help…
  • 200323 F BQ566 9001
    April 10, 2020

    COVID-19: Recursos Para Indocumentados y Sin Beneficios

    English version available here. A medida que la pandemia de coronavirus da vuelta la economía de la nación y deja a muchos sin trabajo, los inmigrantes indocumentados son particularmente vulnerables. En esta página encontrará recursos para ayudar a los miembros de la comunidad indocumentados y que…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    April 07, 2020

    COVID-19: Resources for the Undocumented and Uninsured

    As the coronavirus pandemic upends the nation’s economy and leaves many without work, undocumented immigrants are particularly vulnerable. On this page you’ll find resources to help undocumented community members and the uninsured. UndocuFund for Disaster Relief in Sonoma County The UndocuFund,…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    April 03, 2020

    COVID-19: Santa Clara County Resources

    Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department is providing detailed information about COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospital capacity on several data dashboards available online. The county has also assembled a variety of COVID-19 resources, as listed below and found at sccphd.org/coronavirus. Food…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    Apr 03, 2020

    COVID-19: How to Help

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take lives and strain resources, you might be wondering how you can help. Perhaps the most important thing you…
  • SR PD
    Mar 31, 2020

    Santa Rosa Police Department Mourns Loss of Detective

    Updated March 31, 2020, 4:00 p.m. The Santa Rosa Police Department reported today that Detective Marylou Armer passed away from complications from…
  • Medical
    Mar 31, 2020

    Coronavirus Resources

    The coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for communities throughout the world. Whether you need help getting access to food, filing for…
  • 032720OutbreakCoronavirus
    Mar 30, 2020

    COVID-19: Financial Resources for Sonoma County Residents

    California and the nation have seen a surge in unemployment claims as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to close their doors, leaving…
  • Library photo for website
    Mar 30, 2020

    Help the Sonoma County Library Tell the Story of Life During COVID-19

    The Sonoma County Library will be documenting life during the coronavirus pandemic with a special collection, and you’re invited to contribute. The…
  • 032920CalMattersEmptyRestaurant
    Mar 29, 2020

    California’s Shelter-In-Place Order, Explained

    By Byrhonda Lyons, CalMatters As President Donald Trump considers easing national restrictions by Easter, Californians are into their first week of…
  • 032920DowntownSantaRosa
    Mar 29, 2020

    Santa Rosa Outlines COVID-19 Support for Homeless

    The city of Santa Rosa says it’s following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect people experiencing…
  • gavin schools
    Mar 28, 2020

    Los Angeles Will Mirror New York As Coronavirus Surges, Newsom and Garcetti Warn

    By Judy Lin, Ben Christopher and Matt Levin, CalMatters Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued dire warnings Friday that the…
  • 032820CovidHandwashing
    Mar 28, 2020

    COVID-19: Sonoma County Resources for Seniors and Vulnerable Populations

    On March 17, Sonoma County’s health officer issued an order for all residents to shelter in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order…
  • 032720CoronavirusResearch
    Mar 27, 2020

    Here’s What Happens to Science When California’s Researchers Shelter in Place

    By Rachel Becker, CalMatters As California officials desperately try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Chris Miller is coaxing a sample of…

Science & Health News

NorCal News

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.