Each day, millions of Californians struggle to feed their families nutritious food or simply go without because they can’t afford it.
Help Me Help You is assisting to end this crisis by providing free enrollment assistance for CalFresh to receive benefits to purchase healthy food.
As of Sept 2022, 4.8 million Californian residents receive monthly CalFresh benefits and approximately 6.5 million are eligible.
What Is CalFresh?
CalFresh is a supplemental food program to help qualifying low-income individuals and families get the food they need to stay healthy. It is California’s version of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally known as Food Stamps. The CalFresh Benefit provides monthly dollars via an EBT debit card to purchase fresh and packaged groceries from participating grocery stores (including Albertsons, Vons, Walmart, Aldi, Amazon, and farmer's markets), as well as seeds/plants to grow your own food at home. Some participating stores also offer free home delivery. Seniors (60 years and over), the homeless, and the disabled also have the option to use their CalFresh EBT card to purchase hot or prepared food from participating restaurants including Everytable, Wingstop, Subway, Pizza Hut, El Pollo Loco, Fat burger, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and many more. CalFresh recipients also receive additional payments via Emergency Allotments when times are tough for all as well as other beneficial services.
Qualifying for a CalFresh EBT debit card means you would also qualify for a number of other beneficial services including:
National School Lunch Program for FREE/reduced prices of nutritious school meals and other services for school children
Health & Wellness Services
Fee Waivers for College Apps, Admissions Tests
Discounted utility services, transportation, and more.
Household income and size determine how much CalFresh dollars you receive. However, certain expenses, including your rent, childcare costs, and utility expenses such as gas and electric bills are deducted from household income to help you qualify for CalFresh and increase your benefits.
What is the CalFresh Emergency Allotment (EA)?
Since March 2020, emergency allotments (EA) have raised each household’s regular monthly CalFresh allotment to the maximum allowable allotment based on household size. Effective April 2021, CalFresh Emergency Allotment (EA) means an increase in CalFresh benefits for payments to take effect the following month. The EA increase was changed to include households already receiving the maximum regular CalFresh benefit and every eligible CalFresh holder will receive a minimum. Like previous EA rules, payments are based on a month-to-month approval from the federal government.
If you were already receiving $234 you can receive $329 ($234 + EA $95) and if you were receiving $139, you can receive $234 ($139 + EA $95). If you receive a $19 minimum regular allotment, you will receive $234 ($19 + EA $215). That is due to the new minimum of $95 in EA. The USDA is aiming to “provide greater equity to households most in need.
What Are the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Payments?
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is part of the U.S. government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through P-EBT, eligible school children receive temporary emergency nutrition benefits loaded on EBT cards that are used to purchase food. Children who would have received free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Act if their schools were not closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance for at least 5 consecutive days are eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. P-EBT also provides benefits to younger children in households participating in the CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) whose covered child care facility is closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance, or who live in the area of schools that are closed or operating with reduced hours or attendance. P-EBT doesn't impact EA payments.
CLICK ON THE VIDEO TO LEARN MORE
Important Updates to P-EBT Payments:
No application is required. Previous P-EBT students who are still eligible (haven’t graduated) and CalFresh households with eligible children (including 0-5) are automatically enrolled.
Do not throw out your card as this will be used to receive future payments
P-EBT does not impact immigration status AND public charge does not apply
If you have questions, call the P-EBT Helpline at 877-328-9677 OPTION #5, Mon.-Fri. 6AM to 8PM
How Does CalFresh Lower Poverty & Support the Economy?
Without CalFresh, nearly 700,000 additional Californians would be undernourished and in poverty. CalFresh also supports local businesses. For every $1 of CalFresh spent generates $1.79 for the local economy.
30% of LA residents do not realize they are eligible to receive CalFresh.
Who Is Eligible For CalFresh?
CalFresh is available to individuals and families with low incomes. Citizens and legal immigrant Californian residents are eligible. As of March 2021, CalFresh is not part of the Public Charge test and will NOT affect your immigration status. Undocumented immigrants are usually not eligible, however, they can apply for their children who are legal residents or U.S. citizens. Households without special circumstances must qualify under income guidelines.
If you have previously applied for CalFresh and were unsuccessful, you should try again. New legislation was passed to increase access and you may now be eligible.
Income Guidelines For CalFresh?
Are There Any Concessions?
People who receive SSI/SSP do qualify for CalFresh, and so may other household members.
The federal unemployment boost doesn't count toward people's income when they apply for CalFresh, making more jobless people able to qualify.
To qualify for CalFresh, households must meet the "net income" test which takes into account your expenses for shelter, medical bills, utilities, and childcare.
FREE CalFresh Enrollment Assistance:
Help Me Help You offers FREE CalFresh enrollment assistance. Our compassionate Calfresh experts simplify the application process, check your eligibility and assist you to access nutritious food quickly.
Once qualified, you will receive your CalFresh debit card and separate password to shop for groceries.
To stay eligible, all CalFresh recipients must complete report forms every six months with semi-annual recertification.
Call us today on (562) 612- 5001 to speak with one of our CalFresh advocates.
If you are a community-based agency interested in outreach materials or training for your staff, contact us on (562) 612-5001. To refer clients for FREE Calfresh enrollment please complete the referral form.
How To Volunteer To Help More Californian’s Access CalFresh:
Help Me Help You is always looking for volunteers to assist more Californians to access the CalFresh benefit. If you are interested in volunteering to distribute CalFresh flyers in the community or with online enrollments, please click the volunteer button to register
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Help Me Help You is an Official LA County Calfresh Outreach Partner