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Immigration: What should immigrants know about publicly available assistance during COVID-19?

If I am not a U.S. citizen, do I qualify for any of the government assistance programs created in response to COVID-19?

Just as before the coronavirus pandemic, certain immigrants – such as lawful permanent residents, asylees, and refugees – qualify for public benefits. The federal government and the state of Ohio have not changed list of the non-U.S.-citizens who can receive public benefits. So, if you qualified for public benefits before the COVID-19 pandemic, you still qualify for those benefits; if you did not qualify for public benefits before the COVID-19 pandemic because of your immigration status, you still do not qualify for those benefits.

For more information about immigrant eligibility for public programs during COVID-19, visit

Pregnant and breastfeeding women; women who recently had a baby; infants; and children up to five years of age may be eligible for WIC, regardless of their immigration status. WIC is a government assistance program that is available to make sure that women and their babies are healthy.

For more information about WIC and how to apply, visit For information in Spanish, click “Mujeres, Infantes y Niños” on the webpage.

If I am not a U.S. Citizen, am I protected by the rule temporarily stopping evictions and utility shut offs during COVID 19?

Yes, the policies against evictions and utility shut-offs apply equally to all people living in Ohio, regardless of immigration status.

For more information about tenant rights and rent payments during COVID-19, call Legal Aid’s Tenant Information Line at 216-861-5955 (if you live in Cuyahoga County) or 440-210-4533 (if you live in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, or Lorain counties).

For more information about utilities during COVID-19, click here.

Where can I find information about COVID-19 in Spanish?

The Ohio Latino Affairs Commission has a COVID-19 resource page with information in Spanish and English:

What help can I get if I do not qualify for government assistance because of my immigration status,?

Food pantries throughout Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, and Geauga counties are open to distribute food to individuals and families in need, regardless of a person’s immigration status. Some pantries ask that you bring a photo ID, proof of your family size and income, and proof that you are a resident of the city where the pantry is located. If you have a valid photo ID (driver’s license, green card, work permit, national ID from your home country, or passport), it is a good idea to bring it with you, but many of these pantries will likely be able to help you even if you do not have a photo ID or other documentation of your family size and income.

Food pantries are using social distancing measures by bringing food directly to your car and/or distributing food by appointment only. For this reason, you may want to call the pantry before you travel to the location to make sure you can receive help. Also, please be aware that the staff at these pantries may not be able to speak in any language other than English.

Click here for information about some of the food pantries and other resources located in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, and Geauga counties.

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