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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.

All CalFresh applications and recertifications must be processed as soon as possible. CalFresh applications must be processed no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date the application is received by the County. The County must notify the applicant in writing, if the case is approved or denied, no later than 30 calendar days from the date the County receives the CalFresh application. If you qualify based on an emergency situation, you may be eligible to receive CalFresh Expedited Service benefits within three (3) calendar days from the date the application is received by the County. If you are having problems with your CalFresh application, please email

Cal Fresh

ACSSA is proud to present an education and outreach reader. Read about how CalFresh has impacted the lives of students, employed individuals, seniors, and immigrants.

CalFresh Awareness Month

Since 1974, California’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and State Supplementary Payment (SSP) “cash out” policy has made individuals receiving SSI/SSP ineligible for the CalFresh Program. CalFresh is California’s largest and most impactful food assistance program for low income residents. With the passage of Assembly Bill 1811, the CalFresh “cash-out” policy will formally end. Starting June 1, 2019 individuals receiving SSI/SSP are eligible to participate in the CalFresh Program, provided all other eligibility criteria are met. For Alameda County, more than 48,000 residents receiving SSI/SSP could potentially be eligible for food assistance. The individual’s SSI/SSP grant amount will not be decreased or eliminated as a result of this policy change. The CalFresh Expansion to SSI/SSP recipients is a historic policy change that will increase access to nutritious food, and reduce hunger and poverty among Alameda County’s seniors and people with disabilities.

SSI/SSP is a cash-aid program that helps supplement the income of nearly 1.3 million low-income California seniors and disabled individuals. The monthly grant amount is below the federal poverty level, which is far below the high cost of living in the Bay Area. Many SSI/SSP recipients struggle to afford basic needs like rent, medicine, and food. With the CalFresh Expansion to SSI/SSP recipients, food benefits like CalFresh can help alleviate these burdens for many Alameda County residents.

ACSSA’s Workforce and Benefits Administration Department (WBA) partnered with the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB), the Alameda Health Consortium, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and other community partners to implement a 2019 CalFresh Awareness Month Campaign: CalFresh Expansion to SSI Recipients. The campaign aims to address food insecurity by promoting the expansion of CalFresh to seniors and disabled individuals, and by increasing their awareness on the importance of making food choices that support healthy, active and nourished lifestyles.

See our calendar for a complete list of CalFresh Awareness Month activities:

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 $2,024 $192
2 $2,744 $353
3 $3,464 $505
4 $4,184 $642
5 $4,904 $762
6 $5,624 $914
7 $6,344 $1,011
8 $7,064* $1,155**
*Add $720 for each additional person for monthly income.
**Add $144 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.

Are you interested in joining the Alameda County Social Services Agency in helping homeless, elderly (age 60+) and disabled customers obtain prepared meals using their CalFresh benefits with their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card at your location?

If you are interested in becoming a Restaurant Meals Program provider, please call 510.259.3821 or send an email to

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 $149.79 per person and almost $295 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?


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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