What is the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)?

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CAPI gives a monthly cash benefit to legal immigrants who are either 65 or older, blind, or disabled, and who do not qualify for the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because of their immigration status.

What does CAPI provide, and how long will it last?

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The CAPI monthly payments are the same amount as the combined amounts of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and California's State Supplemental Payment (SSP).

For most people, the maximum possible CAPI benefit is $943.72 for an individual and $1,582.14 for a couple. If you're blind, the maximum is $1,000.23 for an individual or $1,733.19 for a couple. For a child under 18 with a disability, the maximum benefit is $848.15. Note: Maximum benefits amounts depend on your situation. Click here for a table listing current CAPI benefit amounts.

You can get CAPI payments for as long as you meet the requirements. If you get CAPI, at least every 12 months (and possibly more often) you must fill out "redertermination" forms showing that you still qualify for benefits.

Who can get CAPI?

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To be eligible for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants you must:

In addition, you must:

How do I apply for CAPI?

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The best way to apply for CAPI depends on which California county you live in. For details, contact your local county social services agency.

Note: Due to COVID-19, there may be limits on in-person services. Contact your agency by phone to ask about this.

To get CAPI, you also must apply for any other benefit programs that might be able to help you, like CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps), Medi-Cal health insurance, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), State Disability Insurance (SDI), Veterans Benefits, or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You must apply to get any of these benefits; you do not get them automatically just becasue you get CAPI.

Are there any medical eligibility requirements to get CAPI?

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Yes. You must meet Social Security’s definitions of disability or blindness if you are applying based on these factors. However, there are no medical eligiblity requirements if you are applying for CAPI based on age (65 and older).

Does what I have in the bank and/or what I own make a difference in whether I can get CAPI?

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Yes. To get CAPI benefits
  • Your resources must be $2,000 or less for an individual ($3,000 for a couple).
  • Your countable income can't be more than the maximum CAPI benefit you can get. However, CAPI uses a Countable Income Calculation that means not all of your income is counted.
    • For most people, the maximum possible CAPI benefit is $943.72 for an individual and $1,582.14 for a couple.
    • If you're blind, the maximum is $1,000.23 for an individual or $1,733.19 for a couple.)
    • Maximum benefits amounts depend on your situation. Click here for a table listing current CAPI benefit amounts.

How does CAPI count my income?

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Like the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, CAPI does not count all of your income. Instead it uses a Countable Income Calculation that includes only some of your unearned income and less than half of your earned income.

Learn more about the Countable Income Calculation.

How soon can I get monthly cash benefits from CAPI?

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If your CAPI application is approved, you should start getting your payment the month after applying for benefits.

If you need help before you get CAPI, you might qualify for General Assistance/General Relief (GA/GR); for details, talk to your caseworker or contact your local county social services agency. Note: Due to COVID-19, there may be limits on in-person services. Contact your agency by phone to ask about this.

Can I get CAPI if I qualify for the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program?

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No. One of the requirements of CAPI is that you cannot get SSI benefits because of your immigration status (and for no other reason). However, you may be able to get CAPI while your SSI application is being processed.

Can I qualify for CAPI while I am eligible for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) health coverage?

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Yes. To get CAPI you must apply for any other benefits program that might help you, and that includes Medi-Cal. When you apply for CAPI, you must also apply for Medi-Cal. It is possible to get both CAPI and Medi-Cal, but you do not automatically qualify for Medi-Cal just because you get CAPI.

How do I stay enrolled/eligible in CAPI?

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To keep getting CAPI benefits, you must continue to meet all the requirements. It’s important that you immediately report any changes in your immigration status, income, resources, marital status, living arrangement, and sponsor information. And at least every 12 months CAPI will ask you to fill out a "redetermination" form showing that you continue to meet all the requirements to get CAPI.

What is the difference between CAPI and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program?

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Changes to federal laws in the 1990s meant that some legal immigrants could no longer get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. California set up CAPI to help people who meet all the requirements to get SSI except for their immigration status.

When you enter the country, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services gives you an immigration status. CAPI is for immigrants classified either as Qualified Aliens or as Permanently Residing Under Color of Law (PRUCOL).

People who get SSI payments in California also get a smaller State Supplemental Payment (SSP). CAPI monthly payments are the same amount as the combined SSI/SSP.

One difference between SSI and CAPI is that people who get SSI automatically qualify for Medi-Cal coverage, but people who get get CAPI must apply separately for Medi-Cal, and might not get it. Learn more about Medi-Cal.

Are there certain immigration requirements for CAPI?

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To be eligible for CAPI you must be either a:

Learn more about CAPI and immigration status.

Does the income of my sponsor, my sponsor's spouse, or my spouse get counted when deciding if I can get CAPI?

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Yes. If you entered the U.S.with the support of a sponsor, their income and resources may be counted when deciding if you can get CAPI. This process is called deeming. If your sponsor has a spouse, the spouse's income and resources may also be deemed to you.

If your husband or wife does not qualify for CAPI, their income and resources are deemed to you. And if you have a child under 18 applying for CAPI benefits, your income and resouces are deemed to that child.

See Sponsor Deeming for more details.

When will my sponsor and sponsor's spouse's income and resources not be counted while deciding if I can get CAPI?

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If you have a sponsor, CAPI looks at their income and resources when deciding if you can get CAPI benefits, using a process called deeming. If your sponsor has a husband or wife, CAPI includes (deems) some of that person's income and resources when deciding if you can get CAPI benefits. It doesn't matter whether your sponsor or their spouse actually gives you anything or not.

Your sponsor's or your sponsor's spouse's income and resources will not be deemed if:

  • They die or develop a disability
  • You have 40 quarters of verified employment in the United States
  • You are a victim of abuse or your child is a victim of abuse, or
  • You cannot meet your basic needs and qualify for the indigence exception