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CAPI: A Cash Assistance Benefit for CA Immigrants in Need

By IntFormalities
Published on May 31, 2024
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

California is one of the US States with the most numerous state-funded financial aid initiatives for its residents. The Golden State offers various cash benefits to people of all ages, races, and immigration statuses. The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) is a California state-powered initiative dedicated to eligible immigrants who need financial support. Keep reading to learn how CAPI works and check if you qualify to apply.

Two hands holding to depict the idea of solidarity and cash assistance for immigrants (capi)
All 58 California counties provide CAPI financial benefits to eligible immigrants monthly.

What Is CAPI?

The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) is a fully state-funded financial aid program that provides monthly cash stipends to eligible California residents. The program is dedicated to immigrants who do not qualify for the federal Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program. 

The CAPI program began in 1996 after the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act disqualified most immigrants from receiving federal benefits, including the SSI/SSP. Today, CAPI is open to you, provided you’re a senior, disabled, or blind non-citizen not receiving SSI/SSP because of your citizenship. 

How Does CAPI Work?

The state government fully funds CAPI as a cash-benefit option for non-US citizens from low-income households who need financial support. The program is run by the California Department of Social Services and supported by all 58 counties in the Golden State. 

After successfully applying for CAPI benefits, you can receive CAPI payments as long as you meet its requirements. However, you must reapply every year by submitting Form SOC 804 to confirm your eligibility for the program:

California CAPI monthly payments combine the amounts you’ll get from SSI/SSP with the State Supplemental Payment (SSP). Individuals receive monthly cash assistance of up to $1,182.94 and couples up to $2,022.83. Blind individuals also receive CAPI benefits up to $1,267.32, while blind couples may get up to $2,248.35. 

However, the maximum benefit you can get from CAPI depends on your income, living conditions, and other benefits you receive. The CAPI Payment Standards table below provides more information about the 2024 CAPI benefit amounts and payment standards for all counties.

Payment Category CAPI Grant (Individual)CAPI Grant (Couple)
Aged or Disabled $1,182.94$2,022.83
Blind $1,267.32$2,248.35
Blind (Reduced Needs)N/A$1,784.56
Blind/Aged or Disabled N/A$2,162.44
Non-Medical Out-of-Home Care $1,575.07$3,150.14
Aged or Disabled Without Cooking Facilities $1,311.81$2,280.57
Aged or Disabled (Reduced Needs)$873.87$1,559.04
Disabled Minor $1,040.27N/A
Disabled Minor (Household of Another)$731.20N/A 
Blind (Household of Another)$958.25 N/A
Non-Medical Out-of-Home Care (Reduced Needs)$1,253.07$2,547.54
Title XIX Medical Facility Standard $62.00 $124.00
Source: CAPI Payment Standards.

You can use your CAPI money for essential living expenses, including rent or mortgage, groceries, and utilities. 

Who is Eligible for the CAPI Program?

The primary requirement for CAPI is that you must be a non-citizen and meet the immigration status criteria for SSI/SSP. However, you must not be receiving SSI/SSP benefits due to your immigration status. Other CAPI eligibility requirements include:

  • Being a registered California resident 
  • Being 65 years or older or meeting the Social Security disability or blindness conditions
  • Having income and resources below the CAPI allowable limits of $2,000 for individuals or $3,000 for a couple

Can Undocumented People Receive It? 

The minimum eligibility requirement for CAPI is that you are a registered immigrant who is considered a Qualified Alien or Permanently Residing in the US Under Color of Law (PRUCOL). Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for SSI/SSP, so they cannot enjoy CAPI benefits. However, you can apply for the Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) program or some state assistance programs with cash assistance for undocumented immigrants. You can read through the California State regulations around CAPI for more information on its eligibility requirements. 

When applying for CAPI, you must be able to prove that you initially applied for SSI/SSD, but your application was declined because of your immigration status. Additionally, you must meet the conditions for disability and blindness if you’re less than 65. 

How To Apply for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants

There are different ways to apply for CAPI in California. You can apply online, by filling up the form below, or through your local county social services agency. You may also complete the form manually and submit it to your local county office physically, by mail, or by fax. 

The documents needed for your CAPI application include:

How Long Will It Be Before I Receive CAPI Benefits?

To get CAPI, you must apply for other benefits programs, including Medi-Cal or CalFresh. After your CAPI application online or via your county social service office is approved, you should start receiving payments the following month. Typically, you can receive your CAPI benefits directly in your bank account, through an EBT card, or get a check. 

Can You Receive Other Benefits Alongside CAPI?

Combining CAPI with other cash assistance programs for immigrants and low-income residents can increase your monthly benefits. For instance, if you qualify for the General Assistance/General Relief (GA/GR) program, you may also be eligible for CAPI and receive more cash assistance monthly. 

You can also enjoy other state benefits like Medi-Cal, CalFresh, and the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) programs. However, being eligible for one doesn’t automatically qualify you for another. So, you must apply for each support program individually. 

Get Free Money for Immigrants 

CAPI is a state-funded program available to immigrants in all California counties. The program offers individuals up to $1,182.94 and couples up to $2,022.83 monthly to cover essential needs. If you are eligible for CAPI, you can ask for help during your application process. You can contact CDSS for more information, speak to your local county social services office, or call your county’s CAPI program phone number to ask for extra help with your case. 


What information do I need when applying to CAPI?

When applying for CAPI benefits, you must provide proof of identity, age, immigration, income, address, SSI ineligibility, and social security number. 

Who determines blindness and disability for CAPI?

All blindness and disability declarations are made by the California Department of Social Services or the State Disability and Adult Programs Division (DAPD). 

Is a VAWA immigrant eligible for CAPI? 

If you have an immigration status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you can enjoy CAPI benefits. However, you must meet the program’s eligibility criteria to qualify. 

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