WHAT IS CalFresh?

The CalFresh Program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy most food items at many markets and food stores. The CalFresh Program helps to improve the health and well-being of qualified households and individuals by providing them a means to meet their nutritional needs.

Computer icon with link to Calfresh Benefits website
Map location pin icon with link to TAD Find and Office website


You may apply for CalFresh online via BenefitsCal, in person at your local offices, via mail, or by fax.  Complete as much of the application as you can.  Your name, address and signature are necessary to begin the application process.

The easiest and quickest way to apply for CalWORKs, CalFresh and/or Medi-Cal is online at www.benefitscal.com.

See CalFresh brochures for more information on eligibility criteria and requirements.

CalFresh FAQs

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.​

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.

Yes, you may be eligible to receive CalFresh benefits even if you work if you are low income. Income limits vary depending on the number of persons in your household and their ages.​

No, some noncitizens may be eligible to CalFresh, but even if you aren’t eligible to CalFresh, other members of your family may be eligible.

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

Beginning June of 2019, individuals receiving or authorized to receive SSI/SSP are eligible for CalFresh, provided all other eligibility criteria are met.

Yes, you can complete a paper application and mail it to, or drop it off at, any TAD district office.  For an application in English, click here.  For an English application in large print, click here.  For an application in Spanish click here.  For a Spanish application in large print, click here.

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 are not required to look for work. You may also be eligible 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.

The Department of Public Health provides a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program: 1-800-472-2321.

The statewide Restaurant Meals Program provides elderly, disabled and/or homeless households with the option to purchase prepared meals at authorized vendors using CalFresh benefits. To identify participating restaurants in your area, click here.

Surcharge-free resources may be found at:


Submit an application for CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, County Medical Services Program (CMSP), or Disaster CalFresh via BenefitsCal by clicking Apply Now from the homepage. Fill out the application as completely as possible to avoid delay in processing your application.

Submit application on BenefitsCal

Staff verifies the application submitted is complete and schedules the customer for an interview to obtain appropriate non-financial/financial information and verifications to determine program eligibility.

Staff will verify the application you submitted.

Staff approves or denies the application within prescribed timeframes.

Staff approves or denies application.