CalFresh

What is CalFresh?

CalFresh, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is not welfare. It's a nutrition assistance program that helps you stretch your monthly budget to purchase healthy and nutritious food. If eligible, you may receive benefits up to $192 per month.

  • CalFresh benefits are provided to eligible, low-income "household". 
  • Benefit amount is based on household size and household income, with deductions allowed for some expenses, such as housing.
  • Benefits are loaded on an EBT card that can be used like a debit card, with a Personal identification Number (PIN). 

Application Process

Apply through GetCalFresh

  • Submit application online.
  • The county has 30 days after you turn in your application to determine if you will get CalFresh. During the 30 days, the county will interview you. 
    • The interview will be either over the phone or in person at one of the Yolo County offices (Woodland, West Sacramento, or Winters). The county will send an appointment letter in the mail. 
    • If you miss the initial appointment, then you would have to contact the Yolo County Benefits Center (1-855-278-1594) to reschedule. 
  • Submit any verifications that the county requests.
  • If approved, you will receive an EBT card. 

Apply through Max, a CalFresh Representative, at the Aggie Compass 

  • Make an appointment with Max.
  • Max will assist you in completing the application and the interview during the appointment. 
  • Submit any verifications that Max requests. 
  • Applications will be processed within 30 days of applying. 
  • If approved, you will receive an EBT card. 

Household Size and Income

  • What is a household?
    • A household can be one person, a group of people, a family, or any combination of people that buy and prepare food together.
  • Do I have to include my roommates on the application?
    • Individuals that purchase and prepare food together on a regular basis are considered to be one CalFresh household. An individual who purchases and prepares food alone is considered to be one CalFresh household. More than one CalFresh household can live in the same home if they purchase and prepare food separately.
  • Do I have to report my parents' income on my application?
    • If you are living away from home, then you do not have to report your parents' income. You only have to report their income if they are part of your CalFresh household. 
    • If you live with your parents, then they are considered part of your CalFresh household until you turn 22 years old, regardless of either your marital status or if you purchase/prepare your food separately. 
  • Is financial aid considered income?
    • Yes. Financial aid is considered income and will need to be reported on the application. Any financial aid that is federally funded will not be counted against you. Educational expenses are taken into consideration.
  • What are the income limits for CalFresh?
    • Most CalFresh households are subject to a gross income determination test. Gross income is all non-excludable income (before taxes) from any source including all earned income and all unearned income (I.e. Social Security, unemployment benefits, etc.). The maximum gross income limit allowed is 200% of the Federal poverty level (FPL). Below is a chart of gross monthly income for 200% of the Federal poverty level by household size.

      Note: These numbers change every year. 
Household Size Gross Income Limit Maximum Benefit
1 $2,010 $192
2 $2,708 $352
3 $3,404 $504
4 $4,100 $640
5 $4,798 $760
6 $5,494 $913
7 $6,190 $1,009
8 $6,888 $1,153

    Student Eligibility

    Students can only qualify for CalFresh if they meet certain criteria. There are many definitions and exemptions that can be confusing. Read carefully in order to find out if you are considered a student and whether you may be eligible.

    Note: Even if you are not eligible for CalFresh, you may still potentially qualify under non-student eligibility and other people in your household may still qualify.

    Citizenship Requirement
    • Is there a citizenship requirement? 
      • Yes. U.S. citizens may qualify for CalFresh benefits. However, some non-citizens such Permanent Resident Noncitizens (Legal Permanent Residents [LPR’s]), Refugees, Granted Asylum, victims of human trafficking or domestic violence, among other qualified noncitizen categories, may still be eligible to CalFresh benefits. 
    • Are international students eligible for CalFresh?
      • Most international students have a student visa. Individuals with a student visa do not meet the citizenship requirement for CalFresh, which would make them ineligible to receive CalFresh benefits.
    • Are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or AB540 students eligible for CalFresh?
      • Unfortunately DACA and AB540 students are not eligible because they do not meet the citizenship requirement. 
    • Are undocumented students eligible for CalFresh?
      • Unfortunately undocumented students are not eligible because they do not meet the citizenship requirement. 
    Who is a student?

    You are considered a student if you are: 

    • Age 18-49 and is physically and mentally "fit" for employment. If the person has a disability, they are not considered a student.
    • Enrolled at least half-time (as determined by the school) in regular curriculum at an "institution of higher education" in which the regular curriculum meets the standard requirements for graduation or certification in a particular field of study.
    If you are considered a student, you may get CalFresh if you:
    • Are approved for state or federal work-study and anticipate working during the current school year, OR
    • Work at least 20 hours per week, and be paid for such employment, OR
    • Are enrolled full-time, and are a single parent with a dependent child under age 12, OR
    • Are exerting parental control over a dependent child under age 6, OR
    • Are exerting parental control over a dependent child age 6-11 without adequate child care, OR
    • Are receiving CalWORKS, OR
    • Are receiving Cal Grant A or B, OR
    • Are participating in CalFresh Employment and Training or another job training program accepted by CalFresh, OR
    • Do not plan to register for the next school term, OR
    • Are participating in ANY of the following:
      • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
      • Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
      • Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)
      • College Disabled Students Program and Services/Student Academic Support
      • Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) Program
      • UC McNair Program
      • CalFresh Employment and Training Program
      • Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) Program
      • Puente Project
      • Foster Youth Success Initiative
      • Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth
      • Educational Support (CAFYES)
      • Extended Foster Care (AB 12/AB 212)
      • Guardian Scholars Program
      • Chafee Educational Training Voucher Program
    Who is not a student?

    The student eligibility rules do not apply to people who are:

    • Age 17 and under or age 50 and older, OR
    • Physically and mentally "unfit" for employment due to disability, OR
    • In high school, OR
    • Enrolled less than half-time (as determined by the school), OR
    • Enrolled in programs or classes that do not require a high school diploma or GED, OR
    • Enrolled in schools that are not considered institutions of higher education.

    CalFresh FAQs

    • What if I have a job?
    • You can have a job and still may be eligible for CalFresh.
    • If I do not work, can I still qualify for CalFresh?
    • Students are not required to work in order to qualify for CalFresh. However, you still must meet all other CalFresh requirements in order to qualify.
    • What are some of the requirements for CalFresh in regards to students?
    • Students must meet the citizenship, identification, income, address and student- related information requirements in order to determine eligibility for CalFresh benefits.
    • Can freshmen receive CalFresh benefits if they have a meal plan?
    • No. Individuals with an unlimited meal plan are not eligible to receive CalFresh benefits because they receive more than half of their meals from another source.
    • What are the income limits for CalFresh?
    • Most CalFresh households are subject to a gross income determination test. Gross income is all non-excludable income (before taxes) from any source including all earned income and all unearned income (I.e. Social Security, unemployment benefits, etc.). The maximum gross income limit allowed is 200% of the Federal poverty level (FPL). Below is a chart of gross monthly income for 200% of the Federal poverty level by household size.

      Note: These numbers change every year. 
       
      Household Size Gross Income Limit  Maximum Benefit
      1 $2,010 $192
      2 $2,708 $352
      3 $3,404 $504
      4 $4,100 $640
      5 $4,798 $760
      6 $5,494 $913
      7 $6,190 $1,009
      8 $6,888 $1,153
    • What are the minimum/maximum benefits one can receive?
    • The benefit amount is based on household size and household income, with deductions allowed for some expenses, such as rent and/or utilities. Please refer to the previous question for the maximum benefit allotments.
    • How will I receive CalFresh benefits?
    • The County will mail or give you a plastic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Benefits will be put on the card when your application is approved. Sign your card when you receive it. You will set up a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use your card.
    • What if I have money in my bank account?
    • Liquid resources are no longer considered in the eligibility determination for most households. 

      Note: This does not apply to CalFresh Expedited Services (ES) requests – where, if eligible, the county must complete your request for ES within 3 days. During triage to determine if you are eligible to an ES appointment, you will be asked about money in your bank account(s). For most households, even if you are not eligible for ES, you may still qualify for regular CalFresh processing/benefits, regardless of your liquid resources.
    • How do I use my CalFresh benefits?
    • CalFresh benefits are issued on an EBT card that works like a debit card. You can use it at most grocery stores and many farmers markets. For a list of locations near you that accept EBT please go to https://www.ebt.ca.gov.
    • What can I buy with CalFresh benefits?
    •  
      You CAN buy You CANNOT buy
      breads and cereals beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
      fruits and vegetables any nonfood items: pet food, soaps, paper product, household supplies
      meats, fish, and poultry vitamins and medicines
      dairy products

      hot foods and food that will be eaten in the store

    • Will I have to pay back the benefits?
    • You will not have to pay back any benefits you were eligible to receive. However, if there is a mistake and you receive more than you are eligible for, you will be responsible for paying that amount back.
    • How often do I need to report?
    • If your initial application is approved, you will then be required to report changes every six months and whenever your household exceeds its Income Reporting Threshold (IRT) for CalFresh.
    • Can I apply for CalFresh if I don’t get FAFSA?
    • Yes. Financial aid is not a requirement for Calfresh benefits.