Public Benefits

Public Benefits COVID-19 Guidance

If you are an existing client, please contact your ICLC attorney or paralegal directly or dial our main line at (213) 891-2880, select the extension of the staff member helping you and leave a voice message. We are checking our messages regularly. Please note you may receive a call back from a blocked number.

If you are in need of legal or technical assistance, please dial our main line at (213) 891-2880 and dial 0 to leave a voice message in our general voicemail box. We will make every effort to return your call within 24-48 hours.

* * * * COMMUNITY UPDATE * * * *

Please be aware of scammers pretending to represent the Social Security Administration over the phone and by mail. DO NOT provide your Social Security number or financial information to anyone who calls you. If you are contacted by or receive anything from SSA, please let us know immediately.

Click here to read ICLC Guidance on Public Benefits impacted by COVID-19, including updates on the following programs:

DPSS Benefits in Los Angeles County
• GR (General Relief),
• CalWORKs,
• CalFresh,
• IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services),
• Medi-Cal,
• CAPI (Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants), and
• Refugee Cash Assistance.

Social Security Administration (SSA) Benefits Programs
• SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
• SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), and
• SSA Retirement.

Other Benefits
• Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB)
• State Disability Insurance (SSI), and
• IRS Economic Stimulus Payments.

ICLC seeks to combat homelessness by helping clients gain access to public benefits specifically designed to support them. Our public benefits teams help eligible homeless and low-income clients living with disabilities apply for the benefits to which they are entitled.

Many assistance programs for those living with disabilities have complex eligibility rules and burdensome reporting requirements which make them difficult for people to access. ICLC attorneys provide free services to help their clients navigate these complexities.

Countywide Benefits Entitlement Services Team (CBEST), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

From 2009-2012, Los Angeles’ Department of Health Services implemented the Benefits Entitlement Services Team (BEST) as a small-scale effort to test the impact of a team whose mission was to support and assist clients in applying for disability benefits. Ultimately producing higher approval rates and lower processing time than national averages, BEST was a huge success.

As a result of this outcome, with the support of Measure H funds, the Countywide Benefits Entitlement Services Team or CBEST was implemented in 2017 to expand the BEST program and help homeless clients with disabilities apply for federal and state disability benefits. These benefits include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).

Each of these programs has slightly different eligibility requirements which can be difficult to navigate without proper training and background. The CBEST team at ICLC provides technical support and training to CBEST benefits advocates at nine partner agencies across Los Angeles County so that the advocates can directly assist clients in applying for disability benefits. The CBEST team also represents clients in appeals hearings to challenge incorrect denials of CAPI benefits and in appealing SSI or SSDI denials for clients who are not on General Relief.

ICLC has three other teams whose specialties also include public benefits.

ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project helps veterans obtain disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. More information can be found here.

ICLC provides assistance with a wide array of benefits to clients who are living with HIV/AIDS. More information can be found here.

The Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness (PEHP) team assists clients who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with gaining access to public benefits.

For more information about how you can help with these projects, please visit our Get Involved page or contact our director of pro bono at For more information about how Inner City Law Center can help you, please visit our Get Help page.