Welfare Aid and Social Services

Currently, the U.S. does not provide any federal welfare benefits for Ukrainians fleeing the war. Some states (e.g. California and Washington) provide state-level welfare benefits. Depending on your state of residence, financial and family situation, you may qualify for:


  • Free or low-cost health insurance (see also Medical Help),

  • Food stamps (талоны на питание), and/or

  • Cash assistance.


To apply for welfare benefits, you will first need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). Visit your local welfare agency and inquire whether you are eligible for any welfare benefits based on your financial and family situation. If you are, request a referral letter for the Social Security Administration which states that the welfare agency needs your SSN to process your request for benefits. Attach this letter to your application for a Social Security Number. Once you obtain a receipt confirming submission of your Social Security Number application, take that receipt back to the welfare agency as a proof that you’ve applied for an SSN. The welfare agency will then process your application for welfare benefits.


Local welfare agencies (you can google the address of an office closest to you):

San Diego County: Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA)

Los Angeles County: Department of Public Social Services (DPSS)

San Francisco County: San Francisco Human Services Agency (SFHSA)

Sacramento County: Department of Human Assistance (HA)

State of Washington: Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

👆  In California, the Department of Social Services issued guidance regarding the eligibility of Ukrainian nationals for welfare benefits. Print it and have it with you at the Department of Human Assistance. Don't be shy to show it to the social worker.


Video-recorded discussion about applying for welfare benefits in California (In Russian)

Video about welfare benefits with status Humanitarian Parole  (In Russian)

Organizations providing charitable services

You do not need a Social Security Number to receive aid from these charitable organizations.

San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN)

Assistance with short-term shelter in San Diego and booking flights to your final destination. Note: You will be asked to submit to a COVID-19 test in order to stay at the shelter. 

(858) 637-3210

English speaking, but have interpreters to help Ukrainians

Jewish Family and Children's Services (JFC) - San Francisco Bay Area

They are happy to help any refugees, including the ones on tourist visa with various services, as long as these people are between Sonoma and Palo Alto. They provide food, psychological support, free legal advice, possible grants and loans, programs for young people.

They are currently looking for a Russian speaking psychologist and a Russian speaking case manager.

Phone: 415-449-1200
Fax: 844-591-1796

English speaking, but can arrange for an interpreter

Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego

Local assistance with affordable housing, applying for work authorization and Social Security Number, obtaining welfare benefits, enrolling in school and English language courses, connecting to community resources.

Office in San Diego

4575-A Mission Gorge Place, San Diego, CA 92120

(619) 287-9454

English speaking, but can arrange for an interpreter

Catholic charities in other cities and states: