1. Fill out an application
You can complete the CalFresh application at your local county office or online at benefitscal.org. To learn where you can apply in-person in your county (or to find places that can help you fill out an application), please use our Find Food Assistance tool.
2. Have a phone or in-person interview
In most cases, the county has 30 days after you turn in your application to determine if you will get CalFresh. During the 30 days, the county will interview you. The interview will be either over the phone or in person. During the interview, the county will go over your application with you.
3. Submit verifications
The county may ask you for “verifications” or proof of income and certain costs. You will have 10 days to turn in these items.
Here are some examples of items the county may ask you for:
- Proof of identity (examples: drivers license or identification card, passport, work or school ID, birth certificate, voter registration card)
- Proof of where you live (examples: drivers license or ID card, utility bill, rent receipt)
- Proof of income (examples: pay stubs, statement from employer, alimony check, award letter for unemployment or disability benefits )
- Social security numbers for everyone who is applying
- Proof of housing costs (examples: housing bills, utility bills, HOA fees, property tax statement)
- Proof of child support paid
- Proof child or adult care costs (example: bills)
- Proof of disability (example: award letter)
- Proof of medical costs if 60+ or disabled (examples: receipts for prescriptions, copay, service animal costs, glasses, hearing aids)
Even if you do not have everything on the list, you should still apply. The county may be able to help you get the information.
If approved for CalFresh benefits, you will receive an EBT card.
For more information see the section on using CalFresh.
FAQs about the Application Process
Does it cost money to apply for CalFresh? No. Applying for CalFresh is free and does not require a credit check.
Will I have to go into the CalFresh office? I live far away and don’t have transportation. No. You can apply for and receive CalFresh benefits without ever going into the CalFresh office. In fact, many counties have organizations that can help people with their applications. See what is available in your county by using the Find Food Assistance tool. You can apply online at benefitscal.org, complete your interview over the phone, and have your EBT card mailed to you.
Click here to see all the FAQ about CalFresh.