Am I eligible for CalFresh?
There are many factors that are considered to determine whether you are eligible for CalFresh. Most are related to residency, citizenship/immigration status, and income. In some cases, certain people in a household may qualify for CalFresh while others do not, even though they live in the same house (see PG. 454 for the definition of a “household”).
CALIFORNIA FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CFAP)
LPRs (Green Card holders) who have not lived in the U.S. for 5 years technically receive CalFresh benefits through CFAP, which is a program within CalFresh. Counties treat and administer CFAP benefits the same as CalFresh benefits. CFAP beneficiaries are treated the same and use their benefits the exact same way that CalFresh beneficiaries do. When you apply for CalFresh, the county automatically determines your CFAP eligibility too. For more information, see the CalFresh handbook at http://www.sccgov.org/ssa/foods/fschap31.pdf.
For CalFresh, a “household” can be one person, or it can be any group of people who live together, buy food, and make meals together. This means if you live with other people, but you buy and prepare food separately from them, you can apply for food benefits as part of a separate household. Spouses and parents and their children under age 22 who live together must apply as a single “household.”
To be eligible for CalFresh (food stamps), you must:
- Be a resident of the county where you are applying.
- Be a U.S. citizen or a “qualifying noncitizen.” You’re a “qualifying noncitizen” if you: (1) Are a lawful permanent resident (“LPR” or “Green Card Holder”) and (2) you meet all other CalFresh eligibility requirements
- Have a monthly total income that is no greater than the CalFresh income limit. The maximum total income you can have will depend on your household size, and the maximum limits change every year. Contact your local CalFresh office or call the toll free number below to learn what the limit is for your household when you’re ready to apply. You can also use this online tool to calculate how much CalFresh money you can get per month: http://lsnc.net/calculator/FFY2014_Food_Stamp_Calculator_Final_
- Call toll-free English: 1-877-847-3663 Spanish: 1-888-926-6432
- You can also look online at http://www.cdss.ca.gov/foodstamps/PG3628.htm
- Keep in mind that the maximum gross income limits do not always apply to households with mixed immigration status and/or people who are seniors or disabled.
- If you have less than $200 in liquid resources, you may be entitled to expedited benefits, and receive your benefits within three working days. For CalFresh purposes, “liquid resources” include all funds readily available to your household, such as; cash on hand, money in bank accounts, trust deeds, stocks, bonds, or individual retirement account (IRA) funds.
- You can still qualify for CalFresh if you own the home you live in, own a car, have a job, and/or do not have children.
Helpful HintHow Other Public Benefits Programs Combine With CalFresh
- Individuals who receive SSI/SSP benefits are currently not eligible for CalFresh, but other people in the household may still qualify. SSI benefits, for example, already include the value of CalFresh benefits, through a process known as “cash out.” For more information, please visit http://cfpa.net/CalFresh/CFPAPublications/CalFresh-Cashout101-2013.pdf. If you or your household is receiving cash aid—such as CalWORKs or GA/GR, you are “categorically eligible” for CalFresh (food stamps). However, you can still qualify CalFresh without receiving cash aid like CalWORKs or GA/GR, and in fact, most CalFresh recipients do not receive cash assistance.
See Food Stamps Regulation Eligibility Standards, Cal. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., http://www.calfresh.ca.gov/entres/getinfo/pdf/fsman4a.pdf. ↑
M.P.P. § 63-402.1; 7 C.F.R. § 273.1(a)(3). ↑
See Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), U.S. Dep’t of Agric. Food & Nutrition Serv., http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fact-sheet-resources-income-and-benefits. ↑
Overview of the Application Process: CalFresh Handbook, Cal. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., http://www.cdss.ca.gov/calfreshoutreach/res/Toolkit/Handbook-GeneralMarket/GeneralMarketHandbook_CH5_OverviewoftheApplicationProcess.pdf. ↑