Apply for CA Food Stamps

How much will a Family of 4 Get in CalFresh?

How much in food stamps does a family of 4 get in California? Also, how much can a family of 4 make to qualify for CalFresh in 2021? In this post, we will answer these two questions, providing a detailed, step-by-step process to help you calculate Calfresh for a family of 4.

This post will cover:

  • Calfresh for a family of 4
  • How to Apply for CalFresh
  • CalFresh Application FAQs

Calfresh for a family of 4

To calculate Calfresh for a family of 4, you have to go through 3 steps:

In step 1, we will review eligibility for CalFresh.

Next, we will walk you through the income limit and how to arrive at your Net Income amount, which will be used to calculate how much your household will get in benefits.

Lastly, we will help you calculate how much your household will get in CalFresh based on your net income calculations in step 2.

Note that these are estimated benefits. To find out exactly how much you will receive in benefits, you will have to apply.

For help in applying for CalFresh, click here.

Otherwise, continue reading to see how much a family of 4 will receive in CalFresh benefits in California.

Step 1 – Check Eligibility Requirements for CalFresh

Generally, you may be eligible for CalFresh benefits if you:

  • Receive CalWORKS or General Relief
  • Have low-income or no income
  • Have limited property
  • Are a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident
  • Are an immigrant that meet certain criteria
  • Receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP)

You may be eligible even if you:

  • Own a car
  • Own a home
  • Have a job
  • Do not have a permanent home or are unhoused (people without homes can often get benefits within three days)
  • Are an individual or have a family
  • Are a veteran
  • Go to school – Are a student (there are special rules for students)
  • Are an immigrant – (there are special guidelines for immigrants)

Step 2 – How much can a family of 4 make to qualify for CalFresh?

The most important eligibility requirement for CalFresh is the income limit.

The CalFresh program has two income tests: gross and net monthly income limits.

However, it is important to note that CalFresh rules exclude some money from being counted as income to the household.

Gross monthly income Limit

“Gross monthly income” is the household’s income before any allowable deductions.

You must meet the gross monthly income limit for your household as shown in the table below in order to qualify for CalFresh.

For many households, the gross income eligibility limit is 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

Your gross income includes gross pay from work before your employer takes out taxes and other deductions.

You can locate your gross income on your pay stub.

See the table below for the gross income limit by household size.

Exceptions:

For CalFresh eligibility purposes, if all members of a household are on cash welfare assistance, the household is eligible for CalFresh regardless of its gross or net income.

Furthermore, if any member of the household is elderly or disabled, there is no gross income test.

However, a household with an elderly or disabled person must still meet the net income limit.

Net monthly Income Limit

The net income of a household is the income after all allowable deductions have been subtracted.

In order to be approved for food stamps in California, you must meet the CalFresh net income eligibility standard.

The net income limit is 100% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Therefore, if your household’s net monthly income is more than the net income limit, you do not qualify for CalFresh.

See the table below for the net income limit by household size.

As you can see from the table below, to qualify for CalFresh, the gross and net incomes for a family of 4 must be at or below $4,368 and $2,184 respectively.

CalFresh Gross and Net Income Limits

Household Size Gross monthly income
(200 percent of FPL)
Net monthly income
(100 percent of FPL)
1 $2,128 $1,064
2 $2,874 $1,437
3 $3,620 $1,810
4 $4,368 $2,184
5 $5,114 $2,557
6 $5,860 $2,930
7 $6,608 $3,304
8 $7,354 $3,677
Each additional member +$748 +$374

To arrive at your net income, you have to take your gross income and subtract allowable deductions.

Here are the deductions that are allowed.

CalFresh Income Limit Deductions and Allowances

Deductions and Allowances Amount
Earned Income 20%
Standard Deductions by Household Size $167 for households of 1 to 3 persons
$181 for households of 4 persons
$212 for households of 5 persons
$243 for households of 6 or more persons
Dependent Care No Dependent Care Maximum Limit
Maximum Shelter Deduction $586
Standard Utility Allowance $438
Limited Utility Allowance $139
Telephone Utility Allowance $18
Homeless Household Shelter Deduction $157
Excess Medical Deduction Under $35 a month-not eligible for deduction
$35.01 to $155 a month-eligible for $120
$155.01 a month and over-eligible to deduct the actual medical expense in excess of $35

Step 3 – Calculate CalFresh Amount

To calculate Calfresh for a family of 4, we start with the maximum SNAP benefits by household size:

The table below shows the maximum allowable SNAP benefit amount by household size.

From the table, you can see that a household of 4 will get a maximum benefit of $835.

However, how much your household will get depends on your net income, as calculated using the instructions above.

If you know what your net income is, follow the instructions below to figure out how much your family of four will receive in Calfresh.

Household Size Maximum SNAP Benefit with
25% Increase
1 $250
2 $459
3 $658
4 $835
5 $992
6 $1,190
7 $1,316
8 $1,504
Each additional member (+$188)

First, multiply your net monthly income by 0.3 (30 percent).

Round up this amount to the nearest dollar.

Next, take this amount and subtract it from the maximum benefit level for a household of your size using the table above.

The result is the amount of your monthly benefits.

To illustrate this point, we are going to use an example of a family of four with a net monthly income of $1,400 a month.

To determine the family’s CaFresh benefits, take 30% of the “net income” (30% of $1,400) and subtract it from the maximum benefit, as follows:

$1,400 Net Income for Family in Example
x .30 (Multiply by 30%)
$420 Countable Income
$835 Maximum SNAP for 4 persons
-$420 Countable income (round up)
$415 Monthly SNAP benefits for the Example Family of 4

Therefore, in the example above, the family of 4 with a net income of $1,400 a month will get $415 a month in CalFresh Benefits.

How to Apply for California Food Stamps

There are 3 ways you can apply for food stamps in California.

Option 1 – Apply online

You can apply online through the California benefitscal.org website (as shown in the image below).

Depending on your county of residence, you will be redirected to one of the following websites to apply:

BenefitsCal
C4YourSelf
YourBenefitsNow

Click here to get started with your online application for CalFresh.

Option 2 – Apply at CDSS Office Near You

You can apply in person at the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) office near you. Click here to locate a CDSS office.

Option 3 – Download California Food Stamps Application

You can download an application, complete it, and mail it to your county CDSS office or submit it in person.

CalFresh Application FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the CalFresh application process.

Do I have to be employed or have some income to receive CalFresh?

No. Employment is not an eligibility requirement for CalFresh.

In addition, there is no minimum income requirement to qualify for food stamps in California.

You may still qualify to receive CalFresh if you:

  • Earn money from a job
  • Get unemployment benefits
  • Get child support
  • Own a house or a car
  • Get disability benefits
  • have money in savings

Do I have to go to the CalFresh office for an interview?

As mentioned above, you may apply for CalFresh online through the California benefitscal.org website.

Interviews for food stamps applications are usually done over the phone.

However, If you do not have a phone, are unable to keep a phone
appointment, or would prefer an appointment in the office, you can request one.

Can I get CalFresh If I am receiving Social Security Retirement or Disability benefits?

Yes. Both Social Security (SSA) benefit and Disability (SSDI and SDI) benefit recipients
may be eligible for CalFresh.

As mentioned in the income limit requirements above, households that have people age 60 or older, or people with a disability, don’t have to pass the gross income test.

Furthermore, as of June 1st, 2019, SSI/SSP recipients may be eligible to receive CalFresh in addition to receiving a monthly Social Security Disability benefit.

Is CalFresh Public Charge?

If you meet the eligibility for CalFresh and are approved to receive benefits, you will not become a public charge.

Here are some things to know about CalFresh and Public Charge:

    • You will NOT become a public charge because you are getting CalFresh.
    • If you get CalFresh, it will NOT hurt your chances of getting a green card.
    • You will NOT lose your green card because you are getting CalFresh.
    • Applying for CalFresh will NOT affect your (or your family’s) immigration status.
    • You will NOT be denied U.S. citizenship because you get CalFresh benefits.
    • Public charge rules do not apply to programs like CalFresh, WIC, and school lunch programs.
    • All children born in the U.S. can get CalFresh benefits if they qualify. It does not matter where their parents were born.
    • Even if sponsored non-citizens refuse CalFresh benefits, the rest of their household can still get benefits.

For complete details about CalFresh and public charge, see our post on Is CalFresh considered a Public Charge?

Calfresh for a family of 4 Summary

We hope this post on Calfresh for a family of 4 was helpful.

Questions?

If you have further questions about Extra SNAP Benefits, California SNAP, or EBT Card, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about CalFresh and CalFresh EBT, including:
Restaurants that Take CalFresh in California
How to Apply for California P-EBT
California P-EBT Extension for 2020/2021
How much will I get in CalFresh in 2021?
How to Complete CalFresh SAR 7 Form
$3,000 Stimulus Child Tax Credit for Families

Kwame Kuadey

Kwame Kuadey writes about personal finance and the social safety net. His career started in banking but he caught the entrepreneurial bug and has spent the last decade building successful businesses, including an Inc. 500 Company. Kwame believes everyone has the power to improve their quality of life by seeking knowledge and taking action. In 2012, Kwame founded Empower Media to help low-income households improve their financial situation. His expertise is in topics relevant to low-income households, including government benefits and assistance, banking products, access to credit, plus tools & resources to help reduce income volatility and build wealth. Kwame has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Washington Post, ABC, and NPR.

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