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CalFresh (Food Stamps)

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To assist low-income people and families purchase food they need for good health. It is the nation’s first line of defense against hunger and the cornerstone of all federal nutrition assistance programs.

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About the CalFresh Program
The CalFresh Program (formerly known as food stamps) is a segment of the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services and administered by the Department of Social Services. The amount of CalFresh benefits you can receive is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan, which is an estimate of how much it costs to buy food and prepare nutritious, low-cost meals for your household. This estimate changes every year to keep pace with food prices.

CalFresh benefits are distributed by Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). EBT cardholders access their benefits using the California “Golden State Advantage” card. The EBT card provides faster service; the cardholder simply slides his/her card through a point-of-sale (POS) device available at numerous grocery stores. The card is convenient, secure, in line with commercial banking practices of automated payment, and reduces the stigma associated with receiving public assistance.

Program Requirements
  • Meet income guidelines as indicated on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website
  • Meet resource guidelines
  • Citizen or legal resident
  • Meet work requirements

Covered Services
  • Purchase foods for human consumption
  • Purchase seeds and plants to grow food for household use