Fake letter claims customers must get tested for COVID-19 to continue receiving CalFresh, Medi-Cal benefits

State and county public social services officials are warning residents about a fraudulent letter circulating on social media that falsely claims customers must be tested for COVID-19 if they want to continue receiving benefits such as Medi-cal, CalFresh, and cash aid.

The letter bearing the seal of the California Department of Social Services also falsely claims that children will be removed from parents who test positive for the virus and placed into foster care, according to a news release from the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services.

“Riverside County, state and county health services departments will never ask about health status in connection to an application for benefits. Children will not be removed from parents who happen to test positive for the coronavirus or COVID-19,” states the county news release.

“At a time when thousands of Riverside County residents are reaching out for help from our public benefits system, for someone to prey on their fears and uncertainties is outrageous,” said Allison Gonzalez, assistant director of DPSS’ Self Sufficiency Division. “We hope this fake letter doesn’t frighten those in need of support away from the critical programs and services DPSS offers.”

Authorities have been notified about the hoax letter. Anyone with information about the source of the letter is asked to contact the California Department of Social Services at 916-651-8848 or [email protected].

Riverside County residents who need to apply for benefits such as cash, food, and medical assistance can do so online at or by calling 877-410-8827.


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