Notice: Counties are receiving more applications than usual. Application processing may be delayed.

Here’s how CalFresh works.

Submit an application

We’ll guide you step by step. This should take about 10 minutes.

Submit proof of your situation.

This includes documents like your ID, paystubs, or rent receipts. You can do this during your application or come back to this website any time in the next 30 days.

What proof to submit

We’ll let you know what to submit at the end of the application based on the answers you gave us.

These documents are usually required to get CalFresh:

  • A copy of your ID.
  • Proof of any income.
  • Proof of immigration status (for non-citizens).
  • Proof of student status (for college students).

These documents are optional but can increase your benefit amount:

  • Proof of housing expenses.
  • Proof of child support paid.
  • Proof of child/dependent care paid.
  • If you are 60+ or disabled, proof of medical expenses.

What if I can’t get the proof?

Tell your case worker during your interview. CalFresh will generally accept a sworn statement as a last resort if you cannot get the documents needed.

Do an interview with a county worker.

Once you apply, you’ll need to do a 30-60 minute interview over the phone.

Learn about the interview

On the application, you can select to interview over the phone or in-person at the county office.

Interviewing over the phone

Once you submit your application, your county will call you within two weeks for your interview.

If possible, they will do the interview on the spot. Otherwise, they will work with you to schedule an appointment at a later date.

If the county can’t reach you, they will mail you a notice with your interview time and date. If you missed the interview, you can call your county to reschedule it.

Interviewing at a county office

After you submit your application, the county will mail you a notice with your interview date, time, and location.

Expect the interview to take 30-60 minutes.

Get money for groceries.

If approved, you’ll get an EBT card with money for groceries within 30 days.

Using my EBT card

If you are approved for CalFresh, you will usually get two separate pieces of mail with:

  • 1. Your EBT Card
  • 2. Your PIN Number

Just like a debit card, you will need your PIN number to use your EBT card.

EBT cards are accepted at most grocery stores, corner stores, and farmer's markets. Your benefit amount will be reloaded on your card every month.

If you are 60+ or disabled, or you do not have access to cooking equipment, you might also qualify for the CalFresh prepared meals program.

Learn more about using your EBT

Can I get benefits faster?

You may be eligible for Expedited Service, giving your county 3 days to process your application. Due to COVID-19, processing may be delayed several weeks.

You can qualify if: your household makes less than $150 in monthly income and has less than $100 on hand right now; or your household's combined monthly income and money on hand are less than your household's combined monthly rent and utilities; or you are a migrant or seasonal farm worker and have less than $100 on hand right now.

If you need food now, you can also contact your local food bank.