How to Apply for CalFresh

Are you a low-income resident of California? If so, you may qualify for the CalFresh program. If you are accepted into the program, you will receive monthly financial aid to buy nutritious food for you and your family. With your financial aid, you can purchase foods such as vegetables, fruits, cheese, milk, etc. – non-food items such as tobacco and medicines are restricted. Your CalFresh program eligibility will depend on your income, and you may be able to receive up to $300 in monthly aid.

General CalFresh Program Eligibility Guidelines

Low-income residents of California may be eligible for CalFresh, which is federally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program is more extensive than other assistance programs, and often, individuals on State Supplemental Program (SSP) and Social Security Income (SSI) may qualify. You also do not need a physical address to apply or qualify, and you do not need a central place to store or prepare your food.

If you are unemployed or between jobs, you may still be eligible for aid. Members of the military and homeowners may apply as well. If you qualify for the CalFresh program, you may also qualify for free wireless service.

Immigration Status

If you are a non-citizen who has entered the country for humanitarian reasons, you may be eligible for the CalFresh program. Temporary visitors and undocumented individuals are not eligible for aid. The program is also open to immigrants who have lawfully resided in the country for five or more years. If you are a lawful immigrant who has been in the country for less than five years, you should apply for assistance through the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

Permanent residents may apply for assistance. Some immigrants may still qualify for aid even if other household members do not qualify.

Income Requirements

You must be a resident of the state of California to be eligible for the CalFresh food stamp program. Additionally, you must have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001 – or – if you share your residence with someone over the age of 60 or someone with a disability, your checking and savings accounts  may not exceed more than $3,001.

Check the CalFresh benefits page to see if you are eligible based on your annual household income (before taxes).

Work Requirements

You don’t need to have a family to apply for CalFresh – individuals may apply. Despite the program’s flexibility, you will still need to fulfill a work requirement. The work mandate typically includes the following:

  • School
  • Community service
  • Training programs
  • Job searches

Work requirements vary between counties, and in some cases, the work requirement can be waived if you are pregnant, under 18, or you reside in a household with children. Some counties may require program enrollees to fulfill additional work requirements.

How to Apply for CalFresh

Applying online is the easiest application method and quickest way to get a response. You also have the option to apply via fax, phone, or in person. If you choose to apply in person, you should find a Social Service Regional Center in your area. If you prefer to apply by phone, you can call 1 (800) 281-9799 to complete the application in about 10 minutes. You may also request a callback from a representative if you have concerns or questions.

After submitting your application, it will be received by a representative. To hasten the online application process, be sure to have the following documents on hand:

  • Social security numbers for all household members
  • Proof of address
  • Valid ID
  • Immigration paperwork (if applicable)
  • Disability records (if applicable)

You will need to collect any documents stating your household income. Paystubs within the last 30 days are acceptable. The representative may also request to see proof of your expenses (e.g., utilities, child support payments, rent, etc.). If you qualify for the expedited program, you may be able to begin receiving benefits in as little as three days. Some applicants will need to attend an in-person interview to determine their eligibility.

Do You Meet the CalFresh Eligibility Requirements?

If you meet the CalFresh program eligibility requirements, you may also qualify to receive a free phone through enTouch Wireless. Contact us today to learn more.