CalFresh

Among those eligible, California has the lowest participation rate in SNAP / CalFresh of any state… Let’s change that together!

We Are The CalFresh Outreach Team
How Can We Help You?

Cinthia Onoa and Maira Sandoval of the Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach Team

The CalFresh Outreach Program helps low-income, food-insecure individuals and families gain access to nutritious food through the California Department of Social Services CalFresh Program by helping them navigate every step of the application process.  This includes distributing fliers, providing pre-screening service and assisting with application completion and submission.

In 2017, the program expanded to include outreach at community colleges where the number of food-insecure students has been sharply increasing over the past couple of years, as they struggle to pay for tuition and housing.

We provide services at the Pasadena City College, Cerritos College, Cal Poly Pomona, Claremont Graduate University and Los Angeles Southwest College. We are currently in the process of adding Los Angeles Mission College, East Los Angeles College and Citrus College.

For more information on any of these opportunities please contact the Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach Team directly at (323) 234-3030 ext. 178.

Scroll down to find out additional information

What is CalFresh?

CalFresh is the new name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in California.  Formerly known as the Food Stamps Program, this is a federal program run through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Eligible individuals can apply for CalFresh benefits through an application process through the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services (LADPSS).

CalFresh is intended to help low-income people put healthy food on their tables each month. The program also stimulates state and local economies because it brings federal dollars into our communities everywhere that CalFresh benefits can be redeemed, such as grocery stores or Farmers’ Markets.

California has much to gain by insuring that all eligible residents enroll in the program and receive their CalFresh benefits. Unfortunately, CalFresh is not used enough here in Los Angeles County. Many eligible low-income residents (and the grocery stores in their neighborhoods) are missing out on valuable help because they do not participate in the program.

What can the benefits be used for?

fresh produce at the Church of the RedeemerCalFresh benefits are based on how many people are in the household and the household monthly net income. CalFresh dollars can buy bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. CalFresh dollars can not buy alcohol, non-food items, or prepared foods. California has other food and nutrition benefit programs that households can participate in along with CalFresh. These programs include the School Breakfast and Lunch Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC).

 

Do I qualify for CalFresh?

For CalFresh, a household can mean an individual who buys and cooks food for themselves or a group of people who buy and cook food together. There may be multiple households living under one roof and people in a household do not need to be related. The table below shows the maximum monthly allotment by household size as of October 2021. Most people below the gross monthly income limits listed below can qualify for CalFresh. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank can pre-screen you, help you with the application, and submit it to the county.

If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about CalFresh, or to register, please COMPLETE THIS FORM and someone from the Food Bank team will contact you.

Household Size Gross Monthly Income Maximum Monthly CalFresh Benefits
1 $2,148 $250
2 $2,904 $459
3 $3,660 $685
4 $4,418 $835
5 $5,174 $992
6 $5,930 $1,190
7 $6,688 $1,316
8 $7,444 $1,504
+Each additional member +$758 +$188

How do I apply for CalFresh?

As part of our mission to mobilize resources to fight hunger in our community, the Food Bank runs a CalFresh Outreach Program in partnership with the LA County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and our charitable agency partners. Through this program, the Food Bank sends trained outreach workers to food pantries during food distribution times. While visiting the pantries, outreach workers are available to answer questions about the CalFresh program, and accept applications from clients who wish to apply. After the preliminary parts of the application are completed, Food Bank Outreach Workers deliver them to the appropriate local DPSS office (determined by zip code) for processing.

Are you eligible for CalFresh? The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank can pre-screen you, help you with the application and submit it to the county. Throughout the week CalFresh outreach workers are stationed at different partner organizations in the community.

To find out when a CalFresh Outreach Worker may be in your community please contact the Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach Team directly at (323) 234-3030 ext. 187 to find out more information.

Would you rather apply online? You can apply online through the Los Angeles Department of Social Services. If you live in LA County, visit the website by clicking here: Your Benefits Now.

I already applied for CalFresh and have questions on the next steps

After applying with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank or through the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), your application will be processed. If you have a question about your application the best place to call is your caseworker at DPSS. A case worker will explain the program rules and help your household complete any part of the application that has not yet been completed.

After the application is submitted, an interview is required for your household to receive CalFresh benefits. The interview can occur in the county office or by telephone. A follow-up interview is required annually.

Local CalFresh office officials may waive the face-to-face part of the interview requirement if traveling to the county welfare department would be a hardship for your household. The face-to-face feature must be waived if your household is composed only of elderly or disabled members with no earned income.

After the interview, the CalFresh office will send a Notice of Action letter. If your household does not qualify for CalFresh benefits, the notice will explain why. If your household does qualify, the notice will explain the CalFresh benefit amount. It will also explain how many months you can receive CalFresh benefits (certification period) before being recertified.

There are several ways you can help the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank spread awareness about CalFresh.

  • Host a Los Angeles Regional Food Bank CalFresh Outreach Worker
    Connect with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank CalFresh Outreach team to have an outreach worker come to your organization to provide prescreening and application assistance. For information call 323-234-3030 ext. 187.
  • Contact the Department of Social Services
    The Los Angeles Department of Social Services has many CalFresh outreach opportunities.  For information on the mobile office visit: http://www.ladpss.org/dpss/outreach/default.cfm.

CalFresh Myth Busting

Truth: You can receive CalFresh as an individual without children.

Truth: You do not need to report CalFresh benefits on your tax return.

Truth: There are opportunities for non-permanent residents to receive CalFresh benefits in California. Receiving CalFresh will not influence your chances of getting citizenship. Legal permanent residents, “qualified” immigrants, victims of trafficking, and U visa applicants and holders may be eligible for CalFresh.

Truth: Since 2019 recipients of Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits are also eligible for CalFresh benefits.

Truth: Homeownership, car ownership, or savings, do not factor into CalFresh eligibility.

Truth: You do not need to have a job to qualify for CalFresh. If you do have a job, you can still receive CalFresh even if you get money from a job, other sources of government benefits, or a retirement account as long as you meet other requirements.

Truth: Pandemic policy and Public Health Emergency procedures have expanded CalFresh benefits and created more flexibility for recipients. Until July 31, 2022, several verbal signatures will be accepted and interviews are waived. Rules will change as the pandemic response changes.

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