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CalFresh

Purpose

CalFresh is the new name for California's Food Stamp Program. CalFresh is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that provides assistance for households to purchase nutritious food. The program uses an easy credit card format called Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to purchase food at retail stores and farmers markets.

Who May Be Eligible

  • All US citizens (Except persons receiving SSI/SSP benefits)
  • Most immigrants - Legal Permanent Residents

What Verification Is Needed

  • Identification (does not need to be a picture ID)
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of any income
  • Proof of expenses - rent receipt, utility bills, childcare receipts, medical receipts

How Much Income Can I Have

  • Income depends on the number of people in your household
Household size Maximum Gross Income Maximum benefit amount
1 $1,245 $189
2 $1,681 $347
3 $2,116 $497
4 $2,552 $632
5 $2,987 $750
6 $3,423 $900
7 $3,858 $995
8 $4,294* $1,137**
*Add $436 for each additional person for monthly income.
**Add $142 for each additional person for maximum benefit.

Restaurant Meals Program

The Restaurant Meals Program allows homeless, elderly (age 60 or over), and disabled CalFresh households to use CalFresh benefits to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants. Local restaurants participating in the service will display a sign on their door or window indicating they are an Alameda County Restaurant Meal location. A list of currently participating restaurants is also available here.

See the Restaurant Meals Program Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.

How to Apply

There are several options available. You can request an application be mailed to you, apply online or simply pick one up at any of our public contact offices.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is CalFresh?

CalFresh are America's primary form of nutrition assistance. To alleviate the stigma associated with coupons, CalFresh benefits are provided via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works just like a normal debit card.

2. Do I have to be on Public Assistance to be eligible to receive CalFresh?

No. Many recipients of CalFresh are employed, elderly or disabled who need assistance purchasing nutritional food.

3. How long does it take to receive CalFresh benefits?

If you qualify for CalFresh, you will receive benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you have very little or no income and less than $100 in cash, you may be eligible to receive CalFresh within 3 days.

4. What is the average benefit amount from CalFresh?

The average monthly benefit is about $73 per person and almost $173 per household.

5. What foods are eligible for purchase with CalFresh?

Households can use CalFresh to buy any food or food product for human consumption as well as seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food. Households cannot buy:

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
  • Lunch counter items or food to be eaten in the store
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Pet food
  • Any non-food items such as soaps, paper products, and household supplies.

6. I am a single adult without dependents; can I apply for CalFresh benefits?

Yes.

7. What if I have a bank account?

Liquid resources such as cash, checking and savings accounts are not counted in the CalFresh Program.

8. What if I'm disabled, and am unable to cook for myself?

Disabled and elderly individuals may have others assist them with cooking when needed.

Also, disabled, elderly and homeless individuals can buy prepared meals under the Restaurant Meals Program. See the information above about this service.




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