Individual and Family Assistance Program: Top 5 Reasons For Denials and How to Fix Them the Next Time you Apply

Community & Services

To better assist residents who have had their applications denied for the Orange County CARES Act Program for Individuals and Families, program staff have put together the “Top 5 Reasons” why applications are being denied, with suggestions on how to resolve the issue and improve the possibility of having their next application approved.

The application portal for residents to apply for $1,000 grants will reopen on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at 8 a.m. This may be the last time the portal opens in order to meet the CARES spending deadline. Applicants are urged to review required documents, current eligibility criteria and frequently asked questions, by visiting

Reason 1 – Your COVID-19 impact document(s) could not be verified or were illegible.

How to Fix

The program is not able to verify documents that are hand-written or self-produced. For example, if an individual only submits a self-produced document stating that they have lost their job, or a letter from a client that no longer need their service, the application will be denied because the information cannot be verified.

However, if you provide that type of document, you will also need to include a copy of an IRS W-2 or 1099 from the prior year (2019) from the same employer documenting you made income from self-employment.

The best document to provide is a copy of your unemployment award document, if that is available. Other acceptable documents include:

    • 2 Pay Stubs: One of the pay stubs must be pre-COVID (from February or March 2020), and the other pay stub must be post-COVID (after March 2020).
    • 2 Bank Statements: One of the statements must be pre-COVID (from February or March 2020), and the other statement must be post-COVID (after March 2020). If the bank statements are for a business you own, you should also provide a copy of your occupational license or a document from the State Dept. of Corporations.

Reason 2 – Your Social Security card was missing or illegible.

How to Fix

If you do not have your Social Security card, you must provide a document from an institution (business) or government organization that displays your full Social Security number.

    • Self-prepared tax returns will not be accepted as they are not verifiable.
    • Tax returns prepared by a paid provider or transcripts from the IRS are acceptable.
    • W-2 from your employer for 2019 will be accepted

Reason 3 – The applicant was not the individual who has been impacted by COVID-19.

How to Fix

The information entered in the portal (name, address, social, etc.) must be for the applicant.

For example, if an individual enters their information into the application, but the COVID-19 impact documentation is for their spouse, the application will be denied because the information submitted does not match.

Reason 4 – Residency could not be verified and/or address information was conflicting.

How to Fix

If the address that you enter in the application portal does not match your photo identification, you must submit another document as proof of Orange County residency. The additional document can be a utility bill, voter’s registration or any other government/institutional document that shows your name and the address.

Reason 5 – Documents were illegible or incorrect.

How to Fix

The program has received many documents that it has not been able to verify because they are too blurry, small, high contrast, or missing. It is suggested that applicants upload their documents to their device, and name them prior to applying. It is important to review them to make sure they are readable.

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