Cal Fresh

CalFresh (formerly known as Food Stamps) can help families and individuals put healthy and nutritious food on the table. CalFresh is a federal supplemental nutrition program for low-income families and individuals that meet certain income guidelines. CalFresh benefits help supplement your food budget and allow families and individuals to buy nutritious food. 

CalFresh benefits are accessed by using an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. An EBT card is used the same way you would use a debit or ATM card. Eligibility and the amount of CalFresh benefits issued depend on your household size, income and certain living expenses.

How to Apply for CalFresh: You can apply for CalFresh in person, by phone, online, mail, or fax.

  • Visit us and request an application
    • North Tahoe Family Resource Center
      • Beatriz, Health and Wellness Advocate
      • 530.546.0952
      • Via email
      • We are located at: 8321 Steelhead Avenue, Kings Beach, CA 96143
    • Bring in all verifications/documents needed to apply for everyone applying for benefits. For a list of needed verifications, click the Documents Needed to Apply link. It is very important to bring all verifications to be evaluated for eligibility promptly. The date of application is the date the application is received by us

  • Phone
    • 1 (888) 385-5160
  • Online 
    • Benefits CalWIN website you can:
      • Apply for CalFresh, 
      • Find out if you might be eligible to CalFresh and/or Medi-Cal benefits, 
      • Submit a Quarterly Report (QR 7) and 
      • Recertify your CalFresh case.
    • Simply select the link to begin the process. Proof of identity is necessary to be evaluated for expedited services (to receive CalFresh within 3 days).
  • Download an application. 
    • Print out the following three documents:
    • Complete as much of your application as you can. Your name, address and signature are necessary to begin the application process.
    • Send the completed application and documents to your us via U.S. mail, via fax, or drop them off. It is very important to send proof of identity to be evaluated timely should you be eligible for expedited services (receive CalFresh within 3 days). The date of application is the date the application is received by us.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What happens after I submit the application? 

  • After your application is received, a Human Services Specialist (HSS) will review your application and documents. You will receive a phone call and/or letter to set up either a telephone or face-to-face interview appointment and to request any necessary verifications. The interview may be held with the head of household, spouse, authorized representative or any other responsible household family member. During the interview, the HSS will:
    • Explain the program rules;
    • Explain your rights and responsibilities;
    • Go over the application; and
    •  Ask about your circumstances.
  • When all forms and documents are received, your application will be processed as quickly as possible, but no later than thirty (30) days from the date the county receives your application. We will send you a Notice of Action when a decision is made that will tell you if you are eligible, the amount of benefits, and when they will begin. If you are not eligible, we will send you a Notice of Action telling you the reason you are not eligible.
What is Expedited Service? 
  • Expedited Service means you can get your CalFresh in three (3) days.
  • You are eligible to CalFresh Expedited Service if:
    • Your household has less than $150.00 in monthly gross income and does not have assets (resources) over $100.00; or
    • Your household’s total monthly income and resources are less than the monthly rent or mortgage, and utilities; or
    • You are a migrant or seasonal farm worker and you do not have assets (resources) over $100.00
    • Yes, if you haven't received a decision on your case and it is past the timelines listed above, contact ACCESS at 1-866-262-9881 to check on the status of your application.
What if I am denied?
  • You may be eligible for assistance from another source. Visit our Additional Resources page for links to other resources (WIC and Project Mana Food). 
  • If you believe that you were wrongly denied, you can file an appeal by following the instructions on the back of your Notice of Action. 

What can CalFresh benefits be used to purchase?
  • CalFresh benefits can be used to purchase:
    • Foods for human consumption.
    • Seeds and plants to grow food for household use. 

What can you not purchase with CalFresh benefits?
  • CalFresh benefits cannot be used to purchase:
    • Any non-food item such as pet food, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items and cosmetics.
    • Alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.
    • Vitamins and medicines.
    • Any food that will be eaten in the store. *
    • Any food marketed to be heated in the store. *
* Except in a restaurant located in a county approved to operate a restaurant meals program.

Who can receive CalFresh benefits?
  • You may be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits, whether or not you work, if you have a low income.
What is the amount of CalFresh benefits I will receive?
  • The amount of CalFresh benefits a low-income person or family can receive is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan. The plan estimates how much it costs to provide a household with nutritious, low-cost meals. The estimates are revised every year to keep pace with changes in food prices. The average amount of CalFresh benefits received per household is about $200 per month.
What is the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)?
  • CFAP is a state-funded Calfresh program for legal permanent non-citizens residing in the U.S., and determined ineligible for federal food stamp benefits solely due to their immigration status.
Where do I go to apply for CalFresh benefits?
  • There are over 240 Calfresh offices in California operated by local county welfare departments. Low-income people may apply for CalFresh at any office located in the county where they live. To find information on your county click on the link County Welfare Departments . Also, there may be other locations were you can apply for CalFresh benefits. You may also file online at the E-Benefits California Website.
If I am receiving SSI/SSP, can I also receive CalFresh benefits?
  • If you are receiving SSI/SSP, you cannot receive CalFresh benefits in California. However, your family may be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits.