Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.
QUESTION: Who should I call if I want to get tested for COVID-19?
ANSWER: If insured, people should contact their healthcare provider. For those who are not insured, please contact a Federally Qualified Health Centers.
People may also receive primary health care services at their local health center at a reduced cost or free of charge depending on their economic status.
QUESTION: Where should I go to get tested for COVID-19?
ANSWER: Those who are insured should call ahead, before visiting their doctor as medical facilities may not want persons who are contagious in areas where they could put others at risk.
If uninsured, contact your nearest health center at https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ to see where COVID-19 testing is available. Additional information can be viewed at https://covid19.ca.gov/testing-and-treatment/.
QUESTION: Is testing free?
ANSWER: All screening and testing for the coronavirus is free for anyone with coverage, whether through Covered California, MediCal, or employer-sponsored insurance, and emphasized that Californians who are eligible for MediCal can get insurance effective immediately (https://www.healthforcalifornia.com/covered-california).
- The State of California has joined together with OptumServe to expand testing services for under-served communities and some of California’s most vulnerable patients.
- There are no out-of-pocket costs for testing. If you have medical insurance, OptumServe will bill your insurance company. If you’re uninsured, your test is paid for by the State of California.
- Tests are by appointment only. Make an appointment at https://lhi.care/covidtesting.
If you do not have internet access when making an appointment, please call: 888-634-1123.
QUESTION: Where can I get information on coronavirus tax law?
ANSWER: Click here to learn more about coronavirus special tax relief and assistance updates.
QUESTION: How do I get unemployment benefits?
ANSWER: People (including self-employed) can enroll in the program who are sick or quarantined with COVID-19. Those who are caring for a family member affected by COVID-19 can file a disability insurance claim to replace part of their lost income.
- Weekly benefits range from $50 to $1,300.
- To be eligible, either you or an employer had to contribute to the unemployment program in the past 5 to 18 months as these are insurance programs.
Click here to learn how to file a disability claim:
- If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.
- If you have any issues during this process, please contact my office at 714-671-9474, and my staff can assist you.
QUESTION: I need to take care of a sick relative. Is paid leave available?
ANSWER: H.R. 6201 established a federal emergency paid leave benefits to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak. Both the paid FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) and paid sick leave provisions apply only to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and certain public employers.
You may be eligible to file Paid Family Leave Claim if you are unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19. Your claim must be certified by a medical professional.
The EDD has posted a chart on its website with the side by side comparison of benefits for California’s law (PFL and PSL) and the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave rights. This chart is helpful for both individuals and employers.
- Paid Family Leave can provide up to six weeks of benefit payments to workers who lost some or all their wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member.
- Benefit amounts are about 60-70% of wages and range from $50-$1,300 a week.
You may file a Worker’s Compensation Claim if you were exposed to COVID-19 at work.
- Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program, which allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs — retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits.
- Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses.
QUESTION: How do I get help from the Department of Public Social Services?
ANSWER: Those who need help can apply for the following benefits online through the C4 Yourself website or call the DPSS Customer Service Center at 877-410-8827.
- CalFresh: This is the food benefit program for individuals and families. Online, in-person or fax applications only.
- CalWORKs:Cash assistance program for families. Online, in-person or fax applications only.
- General Assistance: Cash assistance program for single adults
- CAPI: Cash assistance program for immigrants
- Medi-Cal: Health benefits for individuals and families.
- In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS): in-home provided care for persons with a disability can be applied for by calling the IHSS Application line at 888-960-4477 or the IHSS Helpline at 888-822-9622
QUESTION: Will SoCal Gas Cut off services if I can not pay the bill?
ANSWER: During these tough times, SoCal Gas Company has indicated they will not cut off natural gas services because of non-payment. SoCal Gas will also NOT charge late fees to residential customers or small businesses who can’t pay their bills on time.
QUESTION: Can I get Disability Insurance for COVID-19?
ANSWER: People who can’t work because they were exposed to COVID-19 can file Disability Insurance claims.
People who can’t work because they are caring for a sick or quarantined family member with COVID-19 can file a Paid Family Leave claim. Both disability claims and Paid Family Leave claims for COVID-19 reasons will need certification by a medical professional.
Sources for this page include - California Employment Development Department, California Department Of Labor, HRSA Data Warehouse, California Department Of Public Health, California Department Of Insurance, Logistics Health Incorporated, and California Franchise Tax Board,