Frequently Asked Questions about CalFresh
What is CalFresh?
Formerly called food stamps, CalFresh provides eligible households with an electronic benefits card that works just like a debit card and can be used at most grocery stores and farmers markets to ensure access to healthy foods. CalFresh is a nutrition supplement and is not intended to meet a familyís entire food need.
Who is eligible to receive CalFresh benefits?
Individual adults and families may qualify for nutrition assistance based on a number of factors including income and family size.
Does everyone living in my home have to get CalFresh benefits?
If you are living with other people who are not part of your immediate family, you can apply for just yourself, your family and the others who purchase and prepare food with you. Children up to the age of 22 cannot be considered a separate household if they live with their parents.
Does everyone in my home have to be a U.S. citizen to get CalFresh benefits?
United States citizens and some foreign nationals admitted for permanent residency may qualify for CalFresh benefits. Those in the country illegally do not qualify, but are not reported to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Is there a limit on the amount of property I can own and still get CalFresh benefits?
At this time California doesnít consider property for CalFresh eligibility.
What do I have to do to maintain eligibility?
A report will be mailed to you which must be completed and returned. If your circumstances change, your CalFresh benefits may also change based on the reported income, housing costs and number of people in the household. You will be notified of any change in a letter if your benefit amount changes.
What if I lose my EBT card?
Your EBT card can be replaced at the main Social Services office at 929 Koster Street in Eureka, or you can order a new card by calling Customer Service at 1-877-328-9677.
Can I sell or trade my CalFresh benefits or my EBT card?
It is illegal to sell the benefits on your EBT card or exchange those benefits for cash or any other item.
What if I disagree with an action taken by the county?
You have the right to appeal any decision made by the county, including the benefit amount, the way it was computed, and any action to discontinue your benefits. Instructions for filing an appeal can be found on the back of any notice of action you receive, or you can call 1-800-952-5253 (TDD call 1-800-952-8349).
How do I get my CalFresh benefits?
Your benefits will be available every month on a plastic electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. Your card will be automatically reloaded during each month of eligibility. You may pick up your EBT card at the CalFresh office where you will select a code (Personal Identification Number, or PIN). With the EBT card and your secret code, you will be able to ac-cess your CalFresh benefits at any grocery store or farmers market that has a card reader with the Quest logo.
- Dairy products
- Frozen food
- Seeds and plants to produce food
- Pet food
- Household supplies
- Hot food
- Paper products
- Food that will be eaten in the store
Fingerprints are no longer required to receive CalFresh.
Property ownership no longer affects your ability to receive CalFresh.
EBT cards make benefits easier than ever to access.
What should I bring with me when I apply?
Certain documents are needed to determine your eligibility for CalFresh benefits. Bringing these items with you when you apply may speed the application process. The guide below will help you determine what you need.
What will happen when I apply?
||Identification (birth certificate, driverís license, school or work ID, or California ID card)
||Resident Alien Card
|Social Security numbers
||Social Security numbers for each household member or proof that you have applied for cards
||Paycheck stubs. Check stubs and claim letters from Social Security, disability, workerís compensation and unemployment benefits. Verification of any other income.
||Proof of rent or mortgage payments, utility bills.
You may be given an appointment to return on another day to complete your application process or to com-plete a phone interview. Make sure you sign and date the application form during your first visit to the office. This will determine the day your benefits will begin.
Will I be fingerprinted?
Fingerprinting is no longer necessary when applying for CalFresh.
How long will it take to process my application?
The county has a maximum of 30 days to process your application. If you have a food emergency, you may request a faster response.
How will I know if my application has been approved?
You will be notified by mail telling you what your monthly benefits will be, or you can call toll free at 1-877-410-8809.