Photo credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images A Calfresh EBT card can be used to purchase groceries online at Walmart and Amazon, but it cannot pay for delivery.

Financial relief: government assistance

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Due to the pandemic, many Americans have lost their source of stable income or are facing reduced working hours. People who fell into financial ruins are struggling to put food on the table and pay rent. To alleviate stress, the government offers programs and laws for the general public to utilize to their advantage. 

Applying for unemployment insurance is an option for those seeking help from the government. The benefits range from $40 to $450 a week, but there is an application process, where people must provide their work history for the last 18 months, their Social Security number, driver’s license or ID card, and proof of U.S. citizenship. A green card or a visa that provides authorization to work in the U.S. will suffice as verification. 

Those struggling to get food can seek assistance from Calfresh. Normally, Calfresh has a minimum and maximum amount of benefits a recipient can receive, which is determined by how much they spend and their income. However, because of the pandemic, Calfresh offers everyone the maximum amount. Anyone who is low income can apply for the program at any time. It takes an average of 30 days for an application to be approved or rejected, but it could be processed faster for those in urgent need of assistance. 

Anyone who can prove they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-related hardships are allowed to invoke the Homeowner and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020. When landlords desire to evict tenants, the latter must provide a document that states that they cannot pay rent due to the pandemic. If the tenant is unable to give the landlord a signed form within 15 business days, eviction may proceed, unless they can provide a “good reason” why they were unable to in court. Tenants must be aware that all rent money is still owed to the landlord and that eviction for safety reasons are still allowed.

For more information about how to receive help in California, click here. If government assistance is not enough, there are charitable organizations that are willing to help make ends meet.

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