Understanding Eligibility Requirements for CalFresh & How to Apply

a picture of grocery store shelves stocked with vegetables and canned food

The Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as CalFresh in CA, is a program that increases household food budgets, allowing families to put healthy and nutritious food on their table. However, by some estimates, only half of those eligible for CalFresh in L.A. County are receiving benefits. In Los Angeles County, food insecurity is a significant public health problem particularly among low-income households. According to a 2019 report by California Food Policy Advocates, nearly 2 million low-income adults and children face food insecurity in the county. This means that one in five individuals across the county faces food insecurity on a daily basis.

Food insecurity is defined as having limited, uncertain, or inconsistent access to the quality and quantity of food that is necessary to live a healthy life. Having sustained access to food is tied to positive social, physical, and mental health outcomes. In Los Angeles County, food insecurity is a significant public health problem particularly among low-income households, but CalFresh can help!

Eligibility for CalFresh

In Los Angeles, to qualify for CalFresh benefits, you must meet eligibility requirements including income and include all members of your household according to the Income Guideline. A “household” is a person living alone, living with others or a group of people who live together who purchase and prepare their food together. Parents and their children under age 22 who live together are considered a household. You may be eligible to CalFresh benefits if you:

  • Receive CalWORKs or General Relief.
  • Have limited income or no income.
  • Have limited property.
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident.
  • Must able-bodied, do not have children under age 18, and are working 20 hours per week or are in the Workfare program.

In Los Angeles County, an individual can receive up to $194 per month for food if their monthly income is under $2,082 and can be used like a debit card at any store that accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT) to purchase food.

CalFresh, COVID-19 & P-EBT Benefits

In April 2020, according to data received from the State, DPSS received 126,875 CalFresh applications, which is a 179% increase in comparison to April 2019. However, while there is an influx in applications, there is also an increase in emergency allotments due to COVID-19. For example, for families who do not yet receive the maximum dollar amount for their household, DPSS will automatically add the difference to a family’s EBT benefits. For example, if a family has 4 household members and makes less than $4,292 per month, then during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will receive $646 per month for food if they were not already receiving the maximum allotment for their household size. Use the chart below to see if you are eligible for CalFresh so that you can apply today!

 

 

Number of People in Household 130% Federal Poverty Level Max. Gross Income Allowed Gross Monthly Income Eligibility Standards for Modified Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) 200% Federal Poverty Level Max. Gross Income Allowed
1 $1,354 $2,082
2 $1,832 $2,820
3 $2,311 $3,556
4 $2,790 $4,292
5 $3,269 $5,030
6 $3,748 $5,766
7 $4,227 $6,502
8 $4,705 $7,240
Each Additional Member   + $738

 

Household Size Max CalFresh $ Amount
1 $194
2 $355
3 $509
4 $646
5 $768
6 $921
7 $1,018
8 $1,164
+Each

Additional

Person

$146

Separate from CalFresh, the state has also implemented Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT to help families with additional monetary assistance. Families can receive up to $365 per child if they have children that qualify for free or reduced priced school meals.  If you have not received your P-EBT card yet, you can apply at: https://ca.p-ebt.org/en/info  by July 15th, 2020. Once your application is processed, a P-EBT card will be mailed to the address you provided. Families with children are eligible for P-EBT benefits if:

  • Their school is closed due to coronavirus (COVID 19); and
  • They are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals

Families with children who applied for CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits after their school closed will get their P-EBT card in the mail before July 15, 2020. P-EBT is not a public charge and does not replace CalFresh benefits.

Applying for CalFresh

National Health Foundation offers CalFresh application assistance over the phone through a program called CalFresh Connection where a Promotora from our team will be assigned to your case to ensure that your CalFresh application is completed with required documents, submitted and will follow up to ensure that you receive your benefits. Additionally, our team is assisting families with P-EBT applications. They are certified CalFresh application assisters through DPSS and are available to help Monday through Friday from 8am-4pm. Below is the contact information for our team to start your application today!

Promotora Contact Information