Can college students get food stamps in California? Does getting CalFresh affect financial aid? How much can eligible California students get in food stamps? If you are asking any of these questions or have other questions about CalFresh for students, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we are going to explain in detail all you need to know about food stamps for college students in California, including eligibility, income limits, how to apply, and what you can expect once you submit an application.
CalFresh is a nutrition program that can help low-income individuals and families purchase healthy foods.
CalFresh provides monthly financial assistance on a debit-like card known as an EBT card. If approved, your benefits will automatically be added to your account each month.
The amount of benefits you can receive is dependent on your family size, countable income, and monthly expenses such as housing & utilities.
The EBT card can be used at most grocery stores, discount chains, farmer’s markets, and neighborhood stores.
Many college students are eligible for financial aid to assist with paying for college.
Consider CalFresh as your food aid to help you focus on school and stay healthy.
CalFresh benefits help increase food budgets, allowing individuals and families
to afford nutritious options including fruits, vegetables, organic foods, and more.
According to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) on average, more than 127,000 California college students receive CalFresh each year.
Eligible students can receive up to $250 per month to purchase eligible foods at most grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and online, including on Amazon.
However, more students are eligible for CalFresh than apply.
It is estimated the number of college students who are eligible for CalFresh is between 416,000 and nearly 700,000.
Eligibility to the CalFresh program has temporarily been expanded to include students attending school half-time or more that:
Here are the eligibility requirements for CalFresh for students:
To be eligible for CalFresh as a student, you must be a US Citizen or Permanent Legal Residence (PLR).
The income limit you must meet to qualify for CalFresh depends on your household size.
Unless you are living with a spouse or your kids, your household size is 1.
Below is the gross and net income limit for CalFresh eligibility for 2021/2022 based on household size.
|CalFresh Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2022|
|Effective October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022|
|Household Size||Gross Monthly Income (200% of FPL)||Gross Monthly Income (130% of FPL)||Net Monthly Income (100% of FPL)|
|Each additional member||+$758||+$492||+$379|
If you meet the eligibility requirement for CalFresh as a student, here’s what you’ll need to complete an application:
Additionally, collect anything below that applies to you:
Follow the steps below to apply for CalFresh as a student in California:
Here are the documents you will be required to upload:
Be sure to provide a good contact number and the best time(s) for a phone interview
The next step in the CalFresh application process is the interview. Your interview must be completed within 30 days of application.
Note that missing your interview will result in denial of your application.
Once you submit your application, you will receive a text/call to schedule an interview
During your CalFresh interview, be prepared to answer the following questions:
The caseworker will also confirm what income is counted and what income is excluded in deciding CalFresh eligibility.
Once you have completed the interview and submitted any required documents, the next step in the process is to wait for a decision on your application:
The county CDSS office will send you a letter in the mail within 30 days of submitting your application.
If you do not hear back in 30 days, call the county CalFresh office.
If you are approved for CalFresh, you will receive a Calfornia EBT Card.
Your EBT Benefits card will be mailed and PIN will be mailed separately.
Be sure to complete SAR 7 Eligibility Status Report Form to maintain your CalFresh benefits. Instructions for SAR 7 are found here.
If you are denied CalFresh, you can appeal the decision.
CalFresh households must “recertify” their eligibility in order to keep continuously receiving CalFresh benefits.
To do this, they must complete a new application before the 15th of the month when their certification period will end.
The county CalFresh office will notify CalFresh recipients when their re-certification date is near.
The image below explains in detail the CalFresh application cycle, including when you are required to recertify.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about CalFresh for students:
Yes. As a student attending school half-time or more, in order to be eligible for CalFresh you must also work at least 20 hours a week, be approved for a state or federally funded work-study program, or have parental responsibility of a child under age six.
No. CalFresh is not considered income, therefore getting CalFresh as a student does not affect your financial aid or taxes returns.
The amount of CalFresh Food benefits a household receives is based on household size, income, and monthly expenses, such as housing, utilities, and medical costs.
Benefits amounts range from $20 – $250 per month.
See the table below for how much you are likely to get in CalFresh based on your household size.
To calculate the exact amount you are likely to get based on your household income, see our post on California SNAP Calculator.
|Household Size||Maximum SNAP Allotment|
|For each additional member over 8||+$188|
All CalFresh applicants will have to complete an interview when they submit a new application for benefits.
The interview can be completed in-person or over the phone.
During the interview, the county CalFresh eligibility worker will ask questions similar to those on the application.
The interview is to confirm what was reported on the application.
They may ask additional questions as well.
It depends. For a CalFresh application to be expedited, the household must meet certain conditions.
If a household qualifies for Expedited Service, they can get their CalFresh Food benefits in three days or less.
For a household to be eligible for Expedited Service, they must meet one of the following:
A household is a person or group of people who buy and prepare food together.
Here are the household rules for CalFresh:
First, you may live with people who don’t count as an household member, such as a roommate, who purchases and prepares their own food.
Second, if you are under the age of 22 and live with biological, adoptive, or stepparent(s) you must apply for CalFresh together, even if you purchase and prepare your own food.
Third, if you are married, you and your spouse must apply as one household.
See our full list of CalFresh for students’ FAQs here.
We hope this post on CalFresh for Students was helpful.
If you have further questions about California SNAP or EBT Card, please let us know in the comments section below.
Also, be sure to check out our other articles about California SNAP and EBT, including:
$3,000 Child Tax Credit from 2021 Stimulus
California P-EBT Extension
How much will I get in CalFresh
Does Costco Take EBT in California?
Extra Food Stamps for California
CalFresh for SSI/SSP Beneficiaries