The California Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)

California Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) provides monetary benefits to non-citizens who meet certain eligibility requirements. To meet CAPI eligibility requirements, applicants must meet age, health and resources qualifications. Applicants who qualify for CAPI in California will receive financial compensation from the government on a monthly basis. The CAPI application process is available for non-citizens who are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because of its immigration requirements. Continue reading this page to find out how to get cash assistance from CAPI in California and CAPI application instructions.

Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants in California

Like other cash assistance programs in California, CAPI provides qualifying residents with monthly financial compensation. Non-citizens who know how to get cash assistance from CAPI can receive payments comparable to SSI benefits. Depending on your eligibility and situation, you may qualify to receive hundreds of dollars each month, although the amount will always be slightly less than an SSI payment. The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants is exclusively for non-citizens who would otherwise qualify for SSI if not for their immigration status. U.S. citizens and immigrants who collect SSI benefits will not meet the CAPI eligibility requirements. Those who are in the country illegally, are a fleeing felon, or living in a public institution also do not qualify for CAPI enrollment.

California CAPI Eligibility Requirements

To apply for CAPI benefits successfully in California, you must be an eligible applicant. You must meet specific CAPI eligibility requirements in order to get this type of public welfare assistance. To meet CAPI immigration status requirements, you must be either a qualified immigrant, who is in the country lawfully, or an alien permanently residing in the U.S. under Color of Law. In addition to country residency requirements, you must also be a resident of California. Like SSI, you must meet the basic medical qualifications for CAPI. To qualify for CAPI, you must meet one of the below medical requirements:

  • Elderly, which is 65 years of age and older
  • Blind, as defined with having a visual acuity of less than 20/200 in your better eye even with prescription contacts or lenses or having a certain limitation in the better eye that causes difficulty in seeing
  • Disabled, which is defined as an inability to perform any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) due to a medically diagnosed physical or mental condition

Qualifying for CAPI also requires income and resources to be less than the CAPI limits. You must not have resources with a value that exceeds the CAPI maximum personal property limit. When you apply for CAPI benefits, your home, car and some other resources are not counted towards your eligibility. You will not qualify for CAPI if you have countable income that exceeds the maximum benefit rate. Your eligibility will be re-assessed every 12 months.

Your eligibility for CAPI benefits may be influenced by your sponsor. When you apply for CAPI benefits, California considers your sponsor and his or her spouse’s income and resources to calculate your eligibility for the program. However, your sponsor’s income will not be part of your CAPI eligibility consideration if you are the victim of abuse or the parent of a victim of abuse by the sponsor. The state will also not consider the sponsor’s resources if you meet the criteria for the indigence exception.

To learn more about how to qualify for cash assistance in California, download our comprehensive guide.

California CAPI Application Instructions

If you feel you qualify for CAPI and you wish to apply for CAPI benefits in California, you can do so by contacting your local county human services department. The office will give you CAPI application instructions specific to that county including which application methods are available and how to get the application forms. You can always apply in person, and some California counties permit online, phone, fax and mail submissions. You will need to provide details of your living circumstances and immigration status as well as income and personal information about you and your sponsor. Once you CAPI application has been approved, you can expect to receive your first payment the month after you submitted your application form.

You must also be able to prove that you were denied Social Security Income purely on the grounds of your immigration status. If you are unable to prove this when you submit the CAPI application, you will have to apply for SSI while you are waiting for your CAPI application to be processed. The California Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants may also require you to apply for any other public assistance benefits you may be eligible for including Medi-Cal and CalFresh.

Find out how to receive cash assistance in California by reviewing our comprehensive guide.


What Kind of Assistance Does the Department of Social Services Offer?

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) provides various types of assistance benefits to residents of the state. Through the CDSS, individuals and families can obtain temporary cash assistance, food assistance and more. Furthermore, applicants who are eligible for the benefits of one CDSS program will often qualify for the assistance benefits of another. Find out everything you need to know about the services and benefits provided by the Department of Social Services by downloading our helpful CDSS guide.


Who Can Benefit From California’s Department of Social Services?

To receive benefits from the CDSS, you and your family will need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria used to determine an applicant’s eligibility typically include income, age, resources and citizenship, among other factors. Find out if you qualify for California DSS assistance benefits here.