BayLegal’s Economic Justice advocacy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Categories: Advocacy

BayLegal and our partners engaged in significant successful advocacy during the pandemic to enhance access to county, state, and federal safety net benefits. This included advocacy with the California Department of Social Services impacting low-income people who rely on CalWORKs, CalFresh, CAPI,  and other state benefits, with the Social Security Administration regarding access to SSI/SSDI benefits, and locally with the Bay Area counties on General Assistance – to make sure offices and services stay accessible, to get these agencies to hold off on negative actions during the pandemic like terminations, sanctions and overpayments, to reduce documentation and reporting requirements, to increase outreach to impacted populations, and for rules that would prevent emergency pandemic relief payments from reducing other safety-net benefits. Further, we conducted numerous trainings on public charge to dispel fears and encourage immigrant families impacted by the pandemic to access critical health and financial programs for which they are eligible. BayLegal also worked extensively to educate our client communities, particularly individuals who are unhoused or have not filed taxes due to their low-income status, on how to access pandemic relief funds.