Second Harvest of Silicon Valley not only refers community members to free groceries at nearby food distributions and pantries, but we can also help you apply for CalFresh (also called SNAP or EBT, formerly known as food stamps).
Why is it important to connect callers to CalFresh benefits?
Director of Services Kelly Chew says it best: “CalFresh is the solution for the general public because it gives you the most flexibility. CalFresh can add to your food budget to put healthy and nutritious food on the table. You can use CalFresh at so many stores and even online. You can even have the CalFresh food shipped to your door from the grocery store. CalFresh is the best solution to addressing hunger in general. It is supplemental to our food.”
Because we consider CalFresh a complement to free food programs, we always inform callers that CalFresh could be an option and that we can help them through the application process. Living here is expensive. Getting healthy food doesn’t have to be.
Food Connection Hotline: 1-800-984-3663
Call us Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. PST. We can answer your questions and help you apply for CalFresh.
We asked our Food Connection Hotline staff the most asked questions they receive about CalFresh. Clients will ask:
What is CalFresh?
CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) helps people with limited income pay for food. CalFresh can be used at most grocery stores, when ordering groceries online at select retailers and at farmers markets that accept an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Benefits are provided on an EBT card that works like a debit card. CalFresh benefits are not a loan and do not need to be paid back.
CalFresh is a nutrition program, funded by the USDA, which also funds free lunches at schools and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). CalFresh is not the same as CalWORKs or welfare. The CalFresh Program is federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outside of California.
How can I apply for CalFresh?
Call our Food Connection hotline: 1-800-984-3663
We can answer your questions and help you apply.
Request a Contact
Select your preferred language below to have us get in contact with you.
English | Spanish | Vietnamese | Chinese | Tagalog
You can also visit the CalFresh online application page to submit your application directly.
What to Expect Next?
Visit our CalFresh page to understand what to expect in the application process:
Expect a phone call or mail within 14 days.
If you are approved for CalFresh, you will get an EBT card for groceries within 10 days of approval.
EBT cards work in most food stores, online and at some farmers markets.
“We get a lot of calls about CalFresh because people want to be helped with the application. They love our services.” – Claribel, bilingual in Spanish and English
What can I buy with my CalFresh EBT card?
CalFresh benefits can be used to purchase any food EXCEPT heated foods. CalFresh cannot be used to buy non-food items such as diapers, beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco.
How much can you get from CalFresh?
California releases its maximum CalFresh Allotments every fiscal year. For this current cycle, here are the maximum monthly asset limits:
|People in Household||Gross Monthly Income||Net Monthly Income||Maximum CalFresh Allotment
|Each additional member||+$758||+$394||+$211
Do I have to pay CalFresh back?
No, you will not have to pay any money back unless you are overpaid.
Do CalFresh benefits roll over each month?
Yes, any balance remaining on your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card will roll over to the following month. Your benefits won’t be adjusted or reduced because you aren’t using the full amount every month.
Do you have to pay taxes on CalFresh?
No, you do not need to report CalFresh on your tax return.
Does CalFresh count as income?
No, CalFresh allotments made to each household are not counted as taxable income.
Do I need to show proof of income when applying for CalFresh?
Earned and unearned income must be reported. If you need help getting documentation, you should discuss your needs with the CalFresh case worker during the interview.
Who can get CalFresh?
You can get CalFresh even if you get money from a job, disability, unemployment, Social Security, CalWORKs, General Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or retirement.