CalFresh / SNAP Benefits

The SNAP food benefits California program, known as CalFresh and formerly called Food Stamps, provides monthly benefits to assist low-income households purchase nutritious foods. The California food stamps benefits are distributed electronically on an Electronic Benefit Transfer Card. This card, also called the Golden State Advantage Card, can be used just like a bank card at most food stores.
•    CalFresh benefits covered and non-covered items
•    California food stamps benefits requirements
•    CalFresh benefits numbers
•    CalFresh benefits expedited services
•    CalFresh benefits facts

CalFresh benefits Covered and Non-Covered Items

What are the food stamps benefits in California? California food stamps benefits cover the purchase of any food products intended for human consumption including, seeds or plants to grow food for household use. CalFresh benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items, such as: pet food, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, cosmetics, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, fast food, and any food that will be eaten in the store.

California Food Stamps Benefits Requirements

To be eligible for SNAP benefits in California, the beneficiary must be a California resident. Other eligibility requirements include citizenship status, registration for employment, income limits, someone in the household receiving SSI, property requirements, owner of house or car, checking and saving account amounts, student eligibility requirements, and criminal records. Details about eligibility requirements will be covered more thoroughly on the Eligibility page. For the SNAP food benefits California program, a household is defined as: an individual living alone, an individual living with others but who buys food and cooks meals separately, a group of individuals living together who buy food and cook food together, parents living with their children who are 21 years old or younger (married or unmarried, with their own children or not), adult children (22 years or older) living with their parents as long as they buy and cook their meals apart from their parents, and a woman with or without children who is temporarily living in a battered woman’s shelter.

CalFresh Benefits Numbers

The amount of CalFresh benefits a low-income family or individual can receive is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan. The plan estimates how much it costs to provide the average household with nutritious, low-cost meals. These estimates are revised every year to keep up with changing food prices. The average amount of CalFresh benefits received per household is $304 every month.
California food stamps benefits amounts depend on the size of the household, the household’s monthly income, and the household expenses. Generally, the greater CalFresh benefits go to the households with the least income. Maximum SNAP benefits California amounts are as follows: Household Size = 1, Maximum Amount = $194; Household Size = 2, Maximum Amount = $357; Household Size = 3, Maximum Amount = $511; Household Size = 4, Maximum Amount = $649; Household Size = 5, Maximum Amount = $771; Household Size = 6, Maximum Amount = $925; Household Size = 7, Maximum Amount = $1022; Household Size = 8, Maximum Amount = $1169 (Add $146 for each additional person after 8).

CalFresh Benefits Expedited Services

CalFresh benefits Expedited Services is a special program within the CalFresh umbrella. If a beneficiary qualifies for Expedited Services, he or she has the right to receive emergency CalFresh benefits within three business days from the time the county receives the petitioner’s application. In this case, Saturday and Sunday count as one day when determining the three days. The county will examine the application to see if the petitioner meets the requirements for Expedited Services. If the recipient is eligible, the county will contact him or her. Eligibility requirements for Expedited Services will be covered on the Eligibility page.

CalFresh Benefits Facts

SNAP food benefits California results taken from Federal Fiscal Year 2014 show the following:
•    Average age of head of household  =  39.8 years
•    Average age of child  =  7.5 years
•    Average number of persons per household  =  2.2
•    Recipients who are U.S. citizens  =  93.3 percent
•    Recipients who are female heads of households  =  68.7 percent
•    Households completing at least 12 years of education  =  67.6 percent
•  Single-person CalFresh only households  =  50.4 percent (percent of all Non-  Assistance households)
•    CalFresh households with earnings  =  24.1 percent
•    Ethnicity of head of household is:  Hispanic/Mixed Race = 40 percent; White = 30  percent; Black = 19 percent; Other = 8 percent; Mixed Race = 2 percent
•    Ethnicity of the CalFresh recipients is:  Hispanic/Mixed Race = 55 percent; White =  20 percent; Black = 15 percent; Other = 7 percent; Mixed Race = 2 percent