If you receive SSI/SSP benefits (Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment), you may be eligible for CalFresh food benefits and you can apply now! California had been the only state excluding SSI recipients from food benefits, but this law was changed last year and the legislature ensured that no household would receive less in overall benefits and many may receive more.

With the high cost of living in our area, seniors and people with disabilities should take advantage of the ability to receive CalFresh and SSI at the same time. CalFresh – nationally known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) – allows participants to use EBT cards at participating grocery stores and farmers’ markets to purchase healthy food. CalFresh helps recipients increase their grocery budget and afford more nutritious, fresh food.

Call our Food Connection hotline at 1-800-984-3663 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to talk to someone who can help you understand if you qualify and assist with your application.

This change in benefits is effective June 1 and, importantly, applying for CalFresh will not affect your SSI/SSP benefits. If you receive SSI, you’ll fall into one of two types of households affected by the change:

You live in a household where no one receives CalFresh: Most SSI recipients (individuals or couples living alone) will fall into this category. You can apply in person, over the phone, or online.

You live with someone that already receives CalFresh: SSI members in existing CalFresh households do not need to apply – they’ll be added to the household at the next semi-annual or annual reporting date. However, your household can request that the SSI recipient be added sooner. If adding a new SSI recipient to your household increases CalFresh benefits, more funds will be added to the existing EBT card. If adding a new SSI recipient leads to a reduction or loss of your household’s CalFresh benefits, your household will receive Supplemental Nutrition Benefits or Transitional Nutrition Benefits to make up for the loss so you will see no change in overall CalFresh benefits

CalFresh recipients can receive up to $192 a month for a household of one, and up to $353 a month for a household of two. Your exact benefit will be determined by your income and expenses, so make sure to claim expenses – like rent and out-of-pocket medical costs – in your application to maximize your benefit amount.

Additionally, California has streamlined the CalFresh application process for seniors and people with disabilities, so it’s easier for you to receive the benefits you’re eligible for. Your application interview can be done on the phone or in person. You’ll complete the two-page application just once a year, and you’ll only need to recertify every three years – no interview required.

For more information or to apply for CalFresh:

  • Call our Food Connection hotline at 1-800-984-3663 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We can answer your questions and help you apply.
  • Apply online at getcalfresh.org.