Can I apply for CalFresh while incarcerated?
Yes! You can’t receive CalFresh benefits until you’re out, but, under some circumstances, you can apply while in prison or jail. Although you may apply for CalFresh while incarcerated, you should not do so unless you are less than 30 days from your release date. (If you apply for CalFresh more than 30 days before your release date, the county social services agency will probably deny your application because they will find that you are not eligible for the program yet – but you can re-apply again once you’re within 30 days of release or after you get out.) If you apply for CalFresh benefits while incarcerated, you will generally need to provide proof of your release date and a local address within the county. You must also complete and sign the application and designate an Authorized Representative (see Helpful Hint Box for more information.) If you are approved for CalFresh benefits, you will not begin receiving these benefits until after you get out.
When the county social services department receives your application, it must make a decision about your eligibility within 30 days of receiving your application. 7 C.F.R. § 273.2. If your release date is more than 30 days away, the social services department will not be able to verify your eligibility in time, so it will deny your application. Telephone call with Danielle Llewellyn, CalFresh Specialist, Alameda County Social Services Agency, Apr. 20, 2015. ↑
Telephone call with Danielle Llewellyn, CalFresh Specialist, Alameda County Social Services Agency, Apr. 20, 2015. ↑
Application for CalFRESH, Cash Aid, and/or Medi-Cal/Health Programs, State of Cal. Health & Human Servs., Cal. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., http://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/SAWS2PLUS.pdf. ↑
See Eligibility and Issuance Requirements, Cal. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., http://www.cdss.ca.gov/foodstamps/PG841.htm. As always, contact your county CalFresh office or an advocate should you have any questions regarding CalFresh benefits. Many thanks to Liz Gomez, CalFresh Outreach Manager at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, for her advice and feedback regarding the CalFresh application process. ↑