Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, CalFresh benefits cannot be used to purchase:

  • Any non-food item such as pet food; soaps, paper products, and household supplies; and 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.

Yes, but you may be required to participate in a work or training program.

Some noncitizens may be eligible to CalFresh but, even if you aren’t eligible to CalFresh, other members of your family may be eligible. Getting CalFresh won't hurt you if you want to become a citizen of the United States.

After all necessary information is provided and verified for eligibility, you should be able to receive your CalFresh benefits within 30 days from the date of your application.

If you meet the requirements, you may qualify for Expedited Service and will receive your CalFresh benefits within three (3) days from the date of your application.

If you are receiving SSI/SSP, you cannot receive CalFresh benefits in California. However, other family members may be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits.

CalFresh benefits can be used to purchase:

  • Foods for human consumption.
  • Seeds and plants to grow food for household use.

If you are 60 years old or over, or have a verified disability, you don't have to look for work. You may also be able to claim high medical bills that health insurance doesn't cover.

The amount of CalFresh benefits you can receive is based on the number of people in your household, the total amount of your household’s income, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan. The Thrifty Food Plan is a government estimate of how much it costs to provide a household with nutritious, low-cost meals.

Helpful Numbers

Child Abuse Hotline

(209) 468-1333

Elder Abuse

(209) 468-3780 or
(888) 800-4800

Fraud Hotline

(209) 953-7733