Bookmark and Share

CalFresh Puts Food on the Table

CalFresh logo

What is CalFresh?

CalFresh 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.

How the Community Benefits from CalFresh Participation

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, 2016).

Even if you have applied for CalFresh before, you should try again. New legislation has passed to increase access and you may be eligible now even though you weren't before.


Household Size Gross Monthly Income
(200% of Federal Poverty)
Maximum Monthly
CalFresh Benefit
1 $1,980 $194
2 $2,670 $357
3 $3,360 $511
4 $4,050 $649
5 $4,740 $771
Each additional member +$694 +$146


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
  • Over age 60
  • Disabled
  • Full-time student
  • Undocumented
  • 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. To find an assistance location near you, please view our Representative Assistance Map.

You may also fill out this referral form.

Step 2: Submit an application

Specialists help with submission of the online application through 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 six months with a semi-annual recertification.

CalFresh Fact Sheets

CalFresh Fact Sheet in English
CalFresh Fact Sheet in Spanish
CalFresh Fact Sheet in Vietnamese

For locations to apply, call Food Connection at 1-800-984-3663.

Volunteer Opportunity

If you can help promote and market CalFresh and other community food programs to people in need, we need your help! Find a volunteer opportunity here.

Site Visits by Food Bank Representatives

If you would like a Food Bank representative to make a presentation or assist community members with CalFresh and other food program applications, contact Anna Dyer at 408-266-8866 ext. 424 or


Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is a CalFresh Outreach Subcontractor of the California Association of Food Banks which receives funding from the California Department of Social Services.


View our representative assistance map to find a location near you where you can meet a Food Bank representative in person to learn about food programs available to you.

Need a presentation about CalFresh? Complete this request form.