Applying for General Assistance/General Relief (GA/GR) instead of CAPI

Many individuals who apply for GR/GA may actually be eligible for CAPI. It’s important to understand the difference between GR/GA and CAPI. GR/GA is temporary assistance, while CAPI can be used for a longer period of time and provides a larger cash benefit. However, just because you are eligible for GR/GA does not necessarily qualify you for CAPI.

Assuming you are eligible for other programs because you qualify for CAPI

If you are receiving CAPI, you may be eligible for other programs such as Medi-Cal, IHSS or CalFresh. To access these programs you will need to fill out a separate application and meet their eligibility requirements. CAPI is not linked with other programs. Enrollment in one of these programs does not guarantee your eligibility for CAPI. CAPI is available only to individuals who do not qualify for SSI due to their immigration status.

Harming your chances for permanent residency

Receiving CAPI may affect your application for permanent residency. When applying for permanent residency, you must demonstrate that you are not likely to rely on the government for support in the future.

Failing to consider sponsor's income

If your sponsor signed an affidavit of support, your sponsor's income may be considered when determining your eligibility for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants. This process is called deeming.

Deeming rules for this program vary depending upon:

  • which affidavit of support your sponsor signed,
  • the date you entered the U.S., and
  • whether your sponsor is dead, disabled, or abusive

For more information on sponsor deeming rules visit the California Immigrant Policy Center website.

Confusing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and CAPI eligibility requirements

The only way you can qualify for CAPI is if you are ineligible for SSI because of your immigration status.

Acting on limited CAPI information

Some public social service departments, such as Los Angeles DPSS, have a lot of information on CAPI. This may be due, in part, to the high level of enrollment in CAPI. However, many counties do not have written or online material that explains CAPI.

Failing to file a Self-Petition if you are a victim of abuse

If you are a victim of abuse you may not have to consider your sponsor’s income in determining your eligibility. To take advantage of this protection, you must file a Self-Petition with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For more information on filing a Self-Petition visit the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website.