We are currently living during uncertain times due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people have been affected by falling ill, losing their jobs, and overall the uncertainty of not knowing when everything will get better. Amongst the ones affected are immigrant families who have been struggling to receive medical assistance due to the financial burden it will cause and also not having access to financial resources due to their immigration status. Many have lost their jobs leaving them without any financial resources to stay afloat. They find themselves in desperate times not having the funds to buy food, pay their bills or their rent, just like many of us.
In April, millions of Americans received a stimulus check of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. However, this stimulus bill did not include immigrant families or spouses of Unites States Citizens even though they pay billions in taxes each year. According to Americas Voice Education Fund, immigrants paid $405.4 billion in taxes in 2017, including an estimated $27.2 billion in taxes paid by undocumented immigrants. Immigrant families have found themselves at a loss and alone with the lack of resources they have to aid them during this pandemic.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the lack of resources the immigrant community has access to, California Governor Gavin Newsom, made a decision to help the immigrant community by providing financial assistance through the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI). California is providing state funded assistance one time to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance, including assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and pandemic unemployment benefits, because of their immigration status.
The California Department of Social Services has selected twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations to help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household.
This assistance means a lot for immigrant families. It is rewarding to witness our governor and many non-profit organizations coming together to aid the immigrant community during this pandemic crisis.
Frequently Asked Questions Answered by California’s Department of Social Services
Who do I contact to apply for the disaster relief assistance for immigrants?
If you live in the County of Los Angeles/Orange please contact:
- CHIRLA (213) 201-8700 or (213) 395-9547
- CARECEN (213) 315-2659 (LA County ONLY)
If you live in the County of San Bernardino/Riverside please contact:
- San Bernardino Community Service Center (909) 521-7535 or
- TODEC Legal Center (888) 863-3291
If you live in San Diego County please contact:
- Jewish Family Service Center of San Diego (760) 206-3242
If your county is not listed please visit this page to see the full list of organizations based on your county https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesou…/immigration/covid-19-drai.
How can I apply for assistance if I am undocumented?
CDSS published the list of the nonprofit organizations that were selected to administer the disaster relief assistance in the various regions of California here: COVID-19 Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants. Individuals who are interested in applying for this assistance should contact the nonprofit organization listed for their county from May 18- June 30th.
Interested applicants must contact the organization for their county directly to inquire about assistance availability. The nonprofit organization will assist individuals with the application process, confirm their eligibility, and deliver a payment card to approved applicants. Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis.
Funding is limited, and disaster relief application services and assistance are not guaranteed.
How do I qualify for the Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)?
Eligible individuals must be able to provide information that they:
(1) are an undocumented adult (person over the age of 18)
(2) are not eligible for federal COVID-19 related assistance, like the CARES Act tax stimulus payments or pandemic unemployment benefits; and,
(3) have experienced a hardship as a result of COVID-19.
What documents do I need to apply for DRAI?
You must provide information/documents to verify your:
- home/mailing address,
- and show you have been affected by COVID-19.
Contact the organizations listed for your county or region for more information about the application process and the documents required (CHIRLA).
Will receiving assistance from DRAI affect my possibility in obtaining my residency (green card) in the United States?
This disaster relief assistance is not means-tested and is one-time assistance. The federal government does not list this assistance as a public benefit for a public charge consideration. However, USCIS has not issued specific guidance related to this assistance.
If there are questions about immigration status and this assistance project, please contact Franco Law Group at 213.200.1505 to schedule your consultation with an immigration attorney. Consultation is offered at a discounted price of $25.
If I am approved for DRAI how will I receive the funds?
If a person is found eligible and their application is approved, the nonprofit organization that helped them apply will provide additional information on how they will receive their payment card either through in-person pick-up or through the mail.
When is the last day to apply for DRAI?
Applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. The $75 million in direct assistance will be distributed to individuals with approved applications beginning on May 18, 2020, until the funding is spent or until June 30, 2020, at the latest.