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Food Stamps


In California, there is the same food stamps program that the rest of the country has, but in California it is called CalFresh. It is known as an entitlement program because people using the food stamps must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to be approved for it. Some requirements include having a low income and either be actively looking for work or unable to work. Monthly benefits from the food stamps program in California will provide low income families with the food and nutrients their family needs. They can only be used for food items and not alcoholic beverages, household items, or tobacco.

What are Food Stamps?

Food stamps, or the CalFresh program as it is now called in California, is a program offering benefits to families in need of nutritious meals. There are also certain foods and items you will be able to purchase with your food stamps, including fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, bread, peanut butter, cereal and seeds to grow your own produce. They used to be available with paper vouches but you will now be given an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card which can only be used at certain places, such as grocery store and food marts. You will be given a set dollar amount of benefits each month to spend on these items only and get the same amount on the first of the following month. If you don’ use all of the benefits, the amount rolls over to the next month.

Program Requirements

CalFresh in California has certain eligibility requirements you must meet in order to qualify for the food stamps program. For example, your household can’t earn more than $28,665 a year for a family of four; the annual income limit varies depending on how many people are in your household. This is because the less people in your family, the less money you need to feed them healthy foods. Your current mortgage or rent, utilities and medical expenses are considered when determining eligibility, but optional bills like cell phones or cable are not.

How to Apply

If you want to apply for the food stamps program in California and you meet the above qualifications, you can do so in a number of ways. CalFresh lets you apply online, by phone, in person, by fax or by mail. You will need to fill out the application in full and include your person information, occupation if you have one, any disability, your age, how many people are in your family and their ages, and what your yearly income is. Send it to the address listed on the E-Benefits website if you decide to mail it in, otherwise the phone operator will let you know further instructions.


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