Are You Struggling to Put Food on the Table?
The CalFresh program may be able to help you get the nutritious food you need.
What is CalFresh?
CalFresh is a supplemental food program to help individuals and families get the food they need to stay healthy. The CalFresh benefit is provided in an EBT debit card that looks like any other debit card. You can use it to purchase groceries and fresh produce at participating grocery stores and farmers’ markets just like you would any other debit card.
The CalFresh debit card also makes it easy to make healthy choices because you can shop for the nutritious foods you and your family prefer.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of common myths out there that keep people from applying for this important program.
The Truth About CalFresh
- It will not harm your immigration status
- Your children will not be required to serve in the military because you get it
- You don’t have to pay it back
- You don’t need to have children to be eligible
- You don’t have to work in exchange for getting it
- You can have a job and still get it
- You can own your own home and still qualify for it
- You can have a savings account and still get it
- You are not taking away benefits from someone else by participating
- You do not need to be fingerprinted (as of January 1, 2012)
CalFresh puts food on your table and dollars into the local economy. Every CalFresh dollar you spend generates $1.79 for the local economy. Everyone benefits when people are able to buy healthy foods from their local grocery store or farmers’ market.
Who is Eligible for CalFresh?
CalFresh is available to individuals and families with low incomes. Citizens and most legal residents are eligible. Undocumented immigrants are usually not eligible, but can apply for their children who are legal residents or U.S. citizens. Households without special circumstances (see note 3 below) must qualify under the following gross income guidelines (effective through September 30, 2012).
Even if you have applied for CalFresh before, you should try again. New legislation was passed to increase access and you may be eligible now even though you weren’t before.
||Gross Monthly Income
(130% of Federal Poverty)
Food Stamp Benefit
|Each additional member
1. In California, people who receive SSI/SSP do not qualify for CalFresh, but other household members may qualify.
2. Households also have to qualify under a "net income" test — taking into account their expenses for shelter, medical bills, utilities, and child care.
3. Households with a member in any of the following situations should call Food Connection (1-800-984-3663) to be screened, because the above income chart does not apply.
- Receiving SSI
- Elderly (over age 60)
- Full-time student
- Legal permanent resident for fewer than 3 years
How Can I Apply for CalFresh?
Step 1: Find out if you are eligible
Call Food Connection Hotline at 1-800-984-3663 for a screening over the phone. If it looks like you are eligible, you will be scheduled to meet with a CalFresh Outreach Specialist in the community near you or at the Food Bank office. If you prefer, you can download this referral form and fax it to the Food Bank. The fax number is on the referral form. A Specialist will call you back to screen you over the phone and set up an appointment for you if you are eligible.
Step 2: Submit an application
Specialists help with submission of the online application through www.benefitscalwin.org and will scan and submit verifications along with the application. If you are unable to meet with a Specialist at a community location, Specialists can take applications over the phone and verifications can be submitted by fax, email, or US mail.
Step 3: Complete the application process
Applicants will be scheduled for an interview with county social services personnel who make the final determination of eligibility and issue the EBT card. Additional verifications may be required at that time.
Step 4: If qualified, receive benefits and maintain eligibility
Once qualified, you will receive your CalFresh debit card. To stay eligible, all CalFresh recipients must complete report forms every three months and submit an annual recertification application.
Second Harvest Food Bank provides CalFresh application assistance throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Our Outreach Specialists would like to help you learn if you are eligible and if you are, assist you with the application process. To find an assistance location near you, please view our CalFresh Assistance Map, or you may view/print the flyers below for more specific geographical regions.
Outreach Flyers for Drop-in Application Clinics
Community organizations may wish to provide flyers for their constituents about the CalFresh and Food Bank programs. Please download the flyers which pertain to your region. Also, if you would like to refer someone to the Food Bank for screening, you may complete this referral form and fax it back. The fax number is on the referral form. A Food Bank representative will call to screen the client within 48 hours.
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Download general flyer about CalFresh
If you can help distribute these flyers in the community or have questions about CalFresh application clinics, please call Anna at 408-266-8866 ext 424.