How To Apply For Food Stamps In California

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program that offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. The program is run by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you live in this state and need to apply for a California Golden State Advantage Card, then the information below shows you how to apply for food stamps in California. If you have additional questions or concerns about the California SNAP program or the EBT application process, please contact the California Department of Social Services for assistance.

In California, each county may have a different way to apply for CalFresh benefits. You can apply online, via mail or deliver your application to your local county office.

  • You may request an application by phone, in person, fax, or by mail from your county office
  • Applications for CalFresh benefits are available online
  • One adult household member or authorized representative must sign the application.
  • Complete as much of your application as you can.
  • An interview will be setup once your application is turned in.
  • Once verified, you will receive your benefits within 30 days from date of application.
  • You may be categorically eligible if you are receiving CalWORKs.
  • You may qualify for expedited service and receive your benefits within 3 days.

Calfresh Households
A CalFresh household is a group of people who live together, buy food, and prepare meals together and whose members meet the California eligibility requirements and are approved for benefits. The amount of CalFresh benefits you get will depend on the number of eligible people in your household and on how much monthly income is left after certain expenses (deductions) are subtracted.

  • An interview is required before certifying your household to get CalFresh benefits.
  • An eligibility worker will explain the program rules and help complete the application with you.
  • After the interview, the CalFresh office will send a notice if you qualify for benefits or not.
  • Local office officials may waive the face-to-face part of the interview if you cannot travel.

Documents to Bring to Interview
If you have a face-to-face interview, please bring verification with you of your income and expenses. If you cannot get all the information together by your interview date, still come for the interview because you will have additional time to provide this information. If you need assistance in obtaining this information, please discuss this with your CalFresh worker at the time of the interview. The following are examples of what to bring:

  • Proof of identity (driver's license, etc.), alien status.
  • Social Security Numbers for all household members.
  • If employed, proof of income (wage stubs, earning statements, etc.) for the past 30 days.
  • Bank statements for checking accounts, savings, certificates of deposit, stocks, etc.
  • Proof of shelter costs.

Verification
The CalFresh worker will also ask for proof of certain information that has been reported. The following must be verified prior to certification:

  • Identification
  • Immigration Status (in some cases)
  • Sponsored Noncitizen Information (in some cases)
  • Residency
  • SSN number for all Household Members
  • Gross Income
  • Evidence of Disability
  • Utility Expenses
  • Medical Expenses
  • Child Support Obligations and Payments

Categorical Eligibility
Households in which all members are authorized or receiving cash aid, such as CalWORKS or GA/GR, are considered categorically eligible. This means the CalFresh Program accepts eligibility determinations made by the other program for resources, gross and net income limits, sponsored alien information, county residency, and social security number information. CalFresh Households containing California Food Assistance (CFAP) recipients are not categorically eligible.

Expedited Service
For expedited service, only identification is required and other verification can be postponed. Other verification such as shelter costs, dependent care costs, household size, and liquid resources do not require verification unless questionable. Households that qualify for expedited service (ES) go through the same application process as all other clients, but not all information has to be verified before benefits are issued. Households may qualify for (ES) based if the household:

  • Has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources of $100 or less; or
  • Migrant or seasonal farm workers who are destitute; or
  • Monthly gross income + liquid resources which are less than rent or mortgage & utilities
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