CalFresh is a USDA program that aims to help improve the health and nutrition of low-income families. CalFresh can stretch food dollars, allowing families and individuals to buy more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and other healthy food.
There are over 3.2 million Californians that are eligible for CalFresh and not enrolled in the program according to the California Food Policy Advocates. In 2019, 2-1-1 San Diego’s Enrollment Center helped more than 16,000 households get connected to $1,416,000 in CalFresh benefits.
• You can use your benefits to purchase a variety of healthy food from participating grocery stores and some farmers’ markets.
• Using CalFresh benefits means more money left in your pockets for other bills and expenses.
• A USDA study found that every $1 of CalFresh benefits generates $1.84 in economic activity.
CalFresh benefits are deposited monthly on an EBT card that works like a debit card with a PIN. You can check the balance online or over the phone. You can use your benefits almost anywhere food is sold such as supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, stores like Target and Costco, some ethnic markets, and some farmer’s markets.
Find out where you can use your benefits.
CalFresh is for low-income people who meet federal income eligibility rules. If a parent is ineligible, they can apply on behalf of their children. If you receive SSI/SSP benefits may be eligible for CalFresh Food benefits with no change to their SSI/SSP monthly benefit. For information on CalFresh and CalWORKs eligibility expansion for individuals with a drug felony conviction, click here.
Call 2-1-1 to be pre-screened for likely eligibility. Because benefits are administered by the County, only a County eligibility worker can make the final decision on qualification and will notify you of your case status within 30 days.
The amount you receive depends on your income, expenses, and family size.
2-1-1 San Diego is leading the way in phone-based outreach and application assistance. We can complete your entire CalFresh application over the phone, submit it electronically on your behalf, and send your required documentation directly to the County, so you don’t have to physically go into a County office. Our process is especially beneficial for those who are disabled, elderly, homebound or lack transportation or childcare and cannot go to the County office to apply during office hours.