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Government Benefits – COVID-19 Issues

Last updated August 20, 2021

Below are selected websites from reliable sources, vetted by our Law Librarians. This is not an exhaustive list of information available on this topic, but a starting point to provide you with basic information during this pandemic.


Direct Payments to Households

General Assistance

Disability Insurance

Workers Compensation

Paid Family Leave

Unemployment Insurance

Social Security Assistance

Health Insurance


Direct Payments to Households

Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. Among other things, this Act provides $1,200 tax rebates to individuals, with additional $500 payments per qualifying child (phasing out when incomes exceed $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers). The link below provides a summary and full text of the Act:

Information about Obtaining Your 1st, 2nd and 3rd Economic Impact Payment from the IRS:

This page includes information about eligibility, how to obtain the payments for tax filers and non-filers, and how to update your information with the IRS:

A Guide to COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Relief – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Video – Steps to take if you haven’t received an economic impact payment, from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

San Diego County Rental Assistance Payments

The County of San Diego 2021 Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance Program (ERAP) helps eligible households in qualifying areas who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides payment assistance for renters who need help with rent and utilities. Applications will be accepted until funds are no longer available. (Updated July 16, 2021).  Find application and details here.

General Assistance

If you need help with food, paying bills, child care or other essential services during the COVID-19 crisis, you can search the 211 website or dial 211 to speak to someone who can direct you to services.

Here is another list of resources for assistance in the San Diego area, including food, pet food and supplies, unemployment, help for renters, health coverage, and mental health support:

Resources for San Diegans: Food Donations, Rent Relief & More During Coronavirus Pandemic

San Diego County Rental Assistance – the County of San Diego approved a new round of rental assistance funding on January 26, 2021. This program pays up to 6 months of expenses, and gives priority to single-parent households.

Rental Assistance (

Financial Help from The State of California – the State of California has a website has a listing of the types of financial assistance available to Californians affected by COVID-19 (updated August 11, 2021): – information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources, from the official government benefits website of the U.S. government:

Food Service Sites – San Diego County Office of Education. Meals for children 18 or younger from the County Office of Education (updated August 12, 2021)

Help with Pets: The San Diego Humane Society programs can help with supplemental pet food for income qualified families. For more information and pick up locations see the program website:

Pet Food Bank

The Rancho Coastal Humane Society has a pet food bank to assist pet owners with pet food and pet supplies at multiple distribution sites around San Diego County.

Help for Military Families

The Office of Financial Readiness has put together a list of resources available to military members and their families to address their needs during the COVID-19 pandemic (updated August 2021):

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2

Are you a farmer or rancher whose business has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? You may be eligible for financial assistance through this program from the USDA (program was expanded in March 2021).

Monthly Payments Toward Your Internet Bill – Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Qualifying households (low income, receiving SNAP, Medicaid and similar benefits, and those who have lost income due to COVID-19) can apply for $50 per month ($75 if you live on tribal land) toward your internet bill through the FCC.

Disability Insurance

Information about Disability Insurance in California and how to make a claim if you are sick and cannot work:

Workers Compensation

Information about the Governor’s Executive Order approving a rebuttable presumption of workers compensation benefits for Californians who contract COVID-19 during remote work (updated August 13, 2021):

Governor Newsom Announces Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Workers who Contract COVID-19 During Stay at Home Order

Paid Family Leave

Information about paid family leave in California and the Coronavirus:

Unemployment Insurance

Information about unemployment insurance and whether it is available if you cannot work due to sickness, quarantine, or child care related to the Coronavirus:

Video Tutorials – for video tutorials on how to file an unemployment claim, how to reopen a claim, and how to certify for continuing benefits, in English, Spanish, and several other languages, scroll to the bottom of this page:

Como solicitar pagos de beneficios del UI (presente una solicitud)(Espanol)

Social Security Assistance

See this website for information about current SSA operations and services related to COVID-19 (updated August 4, 2021).

Health Insurance

If you need health coverage, the Covered California website allows you to submit a single application to determine if you are eligible for Covered California or Medi-Cal:

Information about special enrollment for Covered California that was opened up due to the pandemic:

Medicare covers some COVID-19 related expenses such as testing and hospitalization:

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. Among other things, this Act expands health-insurance coverage for diagnostic testing and requires coverage for preventative services and vaccines. The link below provides a summary and full text of the Act:


Additional Resources

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) has prepared a resource guide covering COVID-19 Updates and Resources. See section on Employment, Healthcare and Public Benefits.

The office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has put together this list of links for assistance for Californians affected by COVID-19, including testing and vaccines, benefits for individuals, and benefits for businesses:

San Diego Law Library YouTube Channel

San Diego Law Library has an up to date YouTube channel. Below is a link to one of our classes dealing with government benefits:

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