Food Assistance FAQ's
NEW APPLICANT FAQs:
What is CalFresh vs. what are Food stamps?
CalFresh is the new name for Food Stamps. It is essentially the same program with a new look and philosophy. CalFresh are benefits to help you supplement your current spending on food/plants or seeds to grow your own produce. If you qualify for CalFresh benefits, you will receive a monthly allotment according to your monthly income and expenses.
Can I apply for CalFresh benefits for myself only, even though I live with my family or with others?
Anyone who lives together and purchases and prepares food together is grouped as a household and must apply together.
Is there a limit as to how many households can be under the same roof or how many individuals can be in one household?
No, there is no limit. Households are grouped by those who purchase and prepare food together.
How do I apply for expedited CalFresh?
By applying for CalFresh, you are automatically screened to see if you qualify for expedited services at the time the application is filed. It will be processed within three working business days.
How many times can a household be certified expedited services?
Every time you apply for CalFresh you may be potentially eligible to receive expedited services. There are no expedited services during your quarterly reports or at re-certification.
What happens if I run out of CalFresh benefits before the end of the month?
You cannot be issued additional benefits for that month. Benefits are issued according to your monthly income, if the benefits are not sufficient enough to last the entire month, please refer to local food banks to supplement your food supply.
Do I have to be working to receive CalFresh benefits if I am elderly/disabled?
No. You are not required to obtain employment or participate in a work/training program to qualify for CalFresh.
Once I turn in my application, when will I hear back from my worker?
If you mail or submit your application online, then a benefits analyst will call you within 3 business days from the day you submit. If you come in to one of our regional offices to apply, you will automatically be able to speak to a worker and complete all your paperwork. You will have a 10 day due date if any verifications were missing, if you do not submit verifications by this time frame, your application will be denied. If you are still interested in receiving benefits, you may submit any requested verifications previously requested and submit them before your 30th day from your application date.
What is a CalFresh interview?
A CalFresh interview is mandatory and must take place during the initial application process. You have the option to complete the interview at a regional office or by phone. If you come in to our Regional office a worker will conduct your intake interview in person. If your application is mailed or submitted through Mybenefitscalwin.org, then an interview will be done by phone. The entire interview process can take approximately 30 minutes. A benefits eligibility worker will go over the application questions to determine if you are potentially eligible for the program. Once completed the worker will advise you either in person, by phone, or by mail what documents are needed to determine your final eligibility.
Do I lose my benefits if I don’t use them all within a month?
No. Your benefits will roll over to the following month. If you have not used your EBT card at all for 1 year, the state will permanently remove your benefits from the card.
Will the County remind me when my Semi-Annual Report (SAR) and Recertification are due?
Yes, the county will send you a mailed notification with a reminder and paperwork approximately 30 days prior to your due date. You will also receive an automated phone call to remind you about an upcoming recertification.
Does an interview need to be done for the Semi-Annual Report (SAR)?
No. You must submit the report and proper verifications. You can mail them or drop them off at your nearest office, but you will not need to speak to a worker.
Can I change my recertification appointment time if I'm not available for the time/date given?
Yes. You may call 1-800-223-8383 to reschedule your appointment.
What if I need assistance with filing out my Semi-Annual Report (SAR) or Recertification?
You can always call our call-center at 1-800-223-8383 and speak to a worker regarding any questions you may have. You can also come into one of our regional offices and request to see a worker on site.
If I turn in either of my reports after they are due, will that result in a termination of benefits?
Depending on how late you turn in your reports, it may result in you having to re-apply for benefits or having your benefits stop for a period of time until they get reviewed.
How can I request a copy of my Semi-Annual Report (SAR) or Recertification packet if I miss-placed mine?
To download the form please refer to the PARTICIPANTS PAGE and go to the REQUIRED FORMS section. You can also call 1-800-223-8383 to request new forms to be mailed to you, or you can come into one of the regional offices to pick up a copy.
What is questionable citizenship?
It is when the information on the application is inconsistent with the statement you made during the CalFresh interview.
Will receiving CalFresh negatively affect the possibility of gaining US Citizenship?
No, CalFresh will not hurt your immigration status or impact any possibility of becoming a legal permanent resident. CalFresh is not considered a public charge.