Apply for CA Food Stamps

CalFresh Kern County (2021 Guide)

CalFresh is a benefits assistance program that helps limited-income individuals and families buy the food they need in order to stay healthy. If you live in the County of Kern, California, and need help with CalFresh, we can help. In this post, we will review everything you need to know about CalFresh Kern County – including CalFresh eligibility, how to apply for benefits, How to renew your benefits, BenefitsCal login help, and DHS contact information.

Before we get into CalFresh eligibility guidelines, first, we will explain what CalFresh is about and who is eligible to apply.

Next, we will explain each of the eligibility guidelines in detail, including the income limit, which is the most important.

We will then walk you through the 3 ways you can apply for CalFresh in Kern County.

Also, we will walk you through how much you are likely to receive in CalFresh if you are approved.

Additionally, we will review the CalFresh renewal process in Kern County and what you need to know to successfully complete SAR 7 or recertification.

Furthermore, we will explain the restaurant meals program in Kern County and how you can use your EBT card to buy food at restaurants and fast food places if you are eligible.

Lastly, we will provide DHS contact information, including the phone number and hours of operation.

Table of Contents:

Applying for CalFresh in the Kern County

  • CalFresh In Kern County
  • Who is Eligible for CalFresh?
  • CalFresh Eligibility Guidelines
  • CalFresh Income Limits – 2021
  • How Much in CalFresh will I Get?
  • How do I apply for CalFresh Benefits in Kern County?

Managing Your CalFresh Benefits

  • Kern County CalFresh Login (BenefitsCal Account Login)
  • How to Renew CalFresh in Kern County
  • CalFresh Kern County Phone Number

What is CalFresh?

The CalFresh Program is California’s version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP and was formerly known as Food Stamps.

CalFresh assists low-income individuals and households to purchase nutritional food.

Eligibility for CalFresh, as well as the benefit amount, is based on your household’s size and income level.

A household can be one person, a group of people, a family, or any combination of people that buy and prepare food together.

Children living with their parents are considered part of the same household until age 22.

Furthermore, many legal non-citizens are eligible for CalFresh benefits.

Also, even if you can’t get CalFresh benefits for yourself, other members of your household may be eligible.

Once approved monthly benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that works just like a bank debit card to buy food at most grocery stores and markets (including some Farmers Markets).

CalFresh Kern County

In Kern County, the CalFresh program is managed by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

In addition to CalFresh benefits, the DHS also handles CalWORKs, General Relief, and MediCal applications and benefits.

Furthermore, BenefitsCal is the website for Kern County Residents to apply for and to view their benefits online.

We will walk you through how to sign up for a BenefitsCal account or log in to your account if you already have done.

Who is Eligible for CalFresh?

Here are the categories of people who live in the state of California that are eligible for CalFresh:

  • Any California household or individual (including homeless) with low or no income
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients
  • CalWORKS or CAAP applicants can apply for CalFresh as part of their application process for those services
  • Students of higher education who meet eligibility requirements
  • Legal permanent residents and qualified immigrants

CalFresh Eligibility Guidelines for 2021

Here’s what you need to apply for CalFresh:

Proof of Identity

Applicants must provide proof of their identity to show that they are the person they claim to be.

Identity may be verified through a variety of documents, including but not limited to,

  • Department of Motor Vehicles ID or driver’s license
  • Work or school ID
  • Voter registration card
  • Birth certificate

Social Security Numbers

Individuals, including children, applying for CalFresh benefits, must either provide a Social Security number or proof they have applied for a Social Security Number.

Household members that are not eligible for CalFresh do not have to provide or apply for a Social Security Number.

Residency

The applicant must live in the state of California and must apply in their county of residence.

Persons without a permanent residence or a fixed mailing address can get CalFresh as long as they can prove residency in a county.

Work Rules

There are special rules for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents and are between the ages of 18 and 50, here’s what you need to know:

You must register for work or be working at least 20 hours per week or an average of 80 hours per month to receive CalFresh benefits.

Citizenship Status

U. S. citizens and many non-citizens are eligible for CalFresh.

Furthermore, even if some members of the household are not eligible, those who are may be able to get CalFresh benefits.

Eligibility for Aged and Disabled Households

There are special rules for households with seniors and people who are disabled.

If you are age 60 or over, or you are receiving Social Security Disability or Medi-Cal due to a disability, or a full VA pension here’s what you need to know.

You may be eligible with income over the regular limits if you pay very high rent and utilities and/or have medical expenses over $35 per month.

However, this must be computed on a case-by-case basis.

Asset Limits

Your household assets must fall below certain limits.

Households without a member who is elderly or has a disability must have assets of $2,250 or less.

However, households with an elderly or has a disabled person must have assets of $3,500 or less.

Income and Deductions

To be eligible for CalFresh, your monthly gross income (before payroll deductions) must be the same or below the amount listed in the chart for your household size.

CalFresh counts most types of income to determine if a household is eligible.

Most households must have a total gross monthly income less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty level, to be potentially eligible for CalFresh.

For CalFresh purposes, gross monthly income means a household’s total income before excluding allowable deductions.

Also, deductions are expenses that are subtracted from the household’s monthly gross income to arrive at the net monthly income.

CalFresh Income Limits – 2021

Most households must have a total gross monthly income less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty level, to be potentially eligible for CalFresh.

Number of People in Household Maximum Montly Gross Income Allowed – 200% Federal Poverty Level Maximum Monthly Net Income Allowed – 100% Federal Poverty Level
1 $2,148 $1,074
2 $2,904 $1,452
3 $3,660 $1,830
4 $4,418 $2,209
5 $5,174 $2,587
6 $5,930 $2,965
7 $6,688 $3,344
8 $7,444 $3,722
​9 $8,202 $4,101
​10 $8,960 $4,480
Each additional member +$758 +$379

CalFresh Income Deductions

Deductions are allowable expenses that can be subtracted from the household’s monthly gross income to arrive at the net monthly income.

The net monthly income is used to determine eligibility and the amount of CalFresh benefits that will be received monthly.

CalFresh deductions include:

  • 20% deduction from earned income,
  • A standard deduction of $177 for households with 1-3 members,
  • Standard deduction of $184 for a household with 4 members,
  • A standard deduction of $215 for a household with 5 members,
  • Standard deduction of $246 for a household with 6 or more members,
  • Cost of child care when needed to work, seek work or attend training for work,
  • Medical expenses exceeding $35 for elderly or disabled household members,
  • Court-ordered child support payments paid to non-household members, and
  • A portion of shelter (rent or mortgage) and utility costs

How Much in CalFresh will I Get?

If you are approved for food stamps in California, how much in benefits you get partly depends on the number of people in your household.

The table below shows you the maximum amount of benefits you may receive if you are approved, based on the number of people in your household.

Household Size CalFresh Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $250
2 $459
3 $658
4 $835
5 $992
6 $1,190
7 $1,316
8 $1,504
Each Additional Member: +$188

How do I apply for CalFresh in Kern County?

There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits:

Option 1 – Online

The easier and quickest way to apply for CalFresh in Kern County is online at BenefitsCal.com.

Option 2 – By Phone

You can call the Kern County Department of Human Services (DHS) to apply by phone or have an application mailed to you.

Here is the number to call:

DHS Customer Service Center (CSC) (661) 631-6062.

You can complete the paper application and return it to the DHS office for processing.

Option 3 – In Person

Lastly, you can apply In person at any of the Department of Human Services (DHS) offices.

To locate a Department of Human Services office near you, click here or see the list below.

After you submit an application, you will be contacted by an eligibility worker to complete the application process.

Kern County DHS office locations

Here’s the list of Kern County DHS office locations that handle CalFresh applications and benefits.

Offices of the Department of Human Services are open for customer service Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Closed on County Holidays.

Bakersfield (Main Office)

ADDRESS:
100 E California Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93307

PHONE:
(661) 631-6000

Columbus Center

ADDRESS:
3711 Columbus Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93306

PHONE:
(661) 873-2400

Delano – Temporarily Closed for Renovations

ADDRESS:
1816 Cecil
Delano, CA 93215

PHONE:
(661) 721-5134

Lake Isabella

ADDRESS:
7050 Lake Isabella Blvd, Suite 130
Lake Isabella, CA 93240

PHONE:
(760) 549-2006

Lamont

ADDRESS:
8300 Segrue Rd
Lamont, CA 93241

PHONE:
(661) 635-4000

Mojave

ADDRESS:
2340 Hwy 58
Mojave, CA 93501

PHONE:
(661) 824-7500

Ridgecrest

ADDRESS:
145 E Ridgecrest Blvd
Ridgecrest, CA 93555

PHONE:
(760) 499-5200

Shafter

ADDRESS:
115 Central Valley Hwy
Shafter, CA 93263

PHONE:
(661) 746-8300

Taft

ADDRESS:
119 North 10th Street
Taft, CA 93268

PHONE:
(661) 763-0200

BenefitsCal Login Help

If you live in Kern County, then you can use the BenefitsCal online portal to apply for and manage benefit assistance.

Follow the instructions below for help logging in BenefitsCal online account.

If you do not have an account, see our guide on how to create BenefitsCal Account.

Step 1 – Visit BenefitsCal Website

To start the login process for your BenefitsCal account, visit the BenefitsCal Account website at https://benefitscal.com/.

Once you are on the homepage you will need to locate the “Log In” button, which is usually located at the top of the site (see image below).

Click on the “Log In” button to proceed with the process.

Step 2 – Enter Email Address and Password

Next, you will be taken to a page where you will be required to enter your account email address and password, as shown below.

Once you enter the correct email address and password, click “Log In” to continue, as shown by the image below.

Step 3 – View your account

If you entered the correct email address and password, you will be automatically taken to your BenefitsCal account page, as shown below.

Once there, you can perform a variety of tasks, including applying for:

  • Federal Emergency Rental Assistance
  • Food Stamps/SNAP
  • Cash Assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Discounts on Subway Fares

Step 4 – First Time Login

When you first log in to your BenefitsCal account, you will see the page below.

Accept the terms and conditions to proceed.

 

Step 5 – BenefitsCal Dashboard

After you have accepted the terms and conditions, you will be taken to the page below, which is your BenefitsCal dashboard.

Forgot Password?

If you forgot your password, click on the “Forgot Your Password” link as shown in the image below.

Next, you will be required to enter your email address to reset your password, as shown in the image below.

Once you have entered your email address, click “Next” to reset your password.

The video below does a great job of walking you through how to reset your password.

If you still need further assistance in resetting your BenefitCal password, we suggest you watch the video below.

How to Renew CalFresh in Kern County

In order to keep your CalFresh benefits in Kern County, there are four requirements you have to meet each year.

They are:

Kern County CalFresh Renewal Timeline

The table below provides a simple overview of the CalFresh renewal process.

It includes SAR 7 renewal and annual recertification timeline.

As you will see below, the table shows the specific date each renewal process has to be completed based on the date of your initial application for CalFresh.

Initial CalFresh Application SAR-7 Timeline Recertification Timeline
1 January June 5th December 5th
2 February July 5th January 5th
3 March August 5th February 5th
4 April September 5th March 5th
5 May October 5th April 5th
6 June November 5th May 5th
7 July December 5th June 5th
8 August January 5th July 5th
9 September February 5th August 5th
10 October March 5th September 5th
11 November April 5th October 5th
12 December May 5th November 5th

Kern County CalFresh Renewal Process

You must turn in this recertification application and be interviewed before the end of your certification period to continue receiving CalFresh.

In many counties, you can complete this recertification application online.

We will first explain the recertification process, then we will explain how you can complete the process online.

CalFresh Recertification Process

Here are the steps you need to take to complete the CalFresh recertification process.

Step 1 – Complete the Recertification Application Form

Click here for the recertification application form.

Be sure to answer all questions on the recertification application.

Step 2 – Submit Your Recertification Application Form

Next, turn in the signed application to the County.

You can do so in person, by mail, by fax, or online. Here’s how:

In-Person

Apply in person at your County DHS office. Click here to locate DHS Office near you.

By Mail

You can mail the form to your County DHS office. Click here to locate an office near you.

By Fax

You can fax the completed, signed application form to your County DHS office. Click here to locate an office near you.

Online

You can complete the re-certification online using the BenefitsCal Portal.

Click here for help logging into your BenefitsCal account or see the instructions above.

If you do not have a BenefitsCal account, click here for help in creating one.

Step 3 – CDSS Acknowledgment and Interview Appointment

The County CalFresh office will send you an interview appointment letter to discuss your recertification application.

Most interviews are done by phone.

Step 4 – Attend Recertification Interview

The next step in the recertification process is to attend your interview on the appointed date.

During the interview, your caseworker will go over the information on the application and will ask questions to recertify you for CalFresh and determine your benefits.

Bring proof of changes in:

  • Income
  • Number of People in Your Household (People buying/eating together)
  • Housing costs.

It is very important to keep your interview even if you do not have proof of the changes discussed above.

Step 5 – Recertification Application Decision

Next, your caseworker will make a decision regarding your recertification.

You will know by mail whether you will keep receiving CalFresh benefits, what your benefit amount will be, and if there are any other changes.

CalFresh Kern County Phone Number

Here’s how to contact the Kern County Department of Human Services (DHS) regarding your CalFresh benefits:

The Customer Service Center is a “single point of contact” currently providing services for the following aid programs:

  • CalWORK
  • CalFresh
  • Medi-Cal
  • General Relief

Phone numbers

To find out about the status of your case or application, or to ask any other question about your case, you can call:

DHS’s Call Center:
1 (877) 410-8812.

Frequently Asked Questions About CalFresh in Kern County

Here are the most frequently asked questions about CalFresh in Kern County.

If I am receiving SSI/SSP, can I also receive CalFresh benefits?

Starting June 1, 2019, the CalFresh food assistance program expanded to include eligible older adults and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits.

There are multiple ways to connect with DHS for new households to apply:

CALL: (661) 631-6062 to apply by phone,
CLICK: BenefitsCal.com to apply online, or
IN PERSON: Locate your local county office at https://www.kcdhs.org/about-dhs/about-us/office-hours-and-locations.

What can CalFresh benefits be used to purchase?

CalFresh benefits can be used to purchase:

  • Foods for human consumption.
  • Seeds and plants to grow food for household use.

Are there items I cannot purchase with CalFresh benefits?

Yes. CalFresh benefits cannot be used to purchase:

  • Any non-food items, including pet food, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, and cosmetics.
  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
  • Vitamins and medicines.
  • Any food that will be eaten in the store.
  • Any food marketed to be heated in the store.

What Farmers Markets Accept CalFresh in Kern County?

Many Farmer’s Markets across Kern County allow users to use CalFresh.

Here are three reasons why it pays to use your CalFresh benefits at Farmers’ Market

    1. Produce may cost less at Farmers’ Market than at the grocery store!
    2. Farmers’ Market produce is grown locally and freshness is unbeatable!
    3. By using your CalFresh benefits at Farmers’ Market, you help support the local economy and small farms.

You can also get an extra $10 to spend on produce when you use your CalFresh EBT Card at select farmers’ markets under the Market Match program.

To find a Market Match farmers market near you, click here.

CalFresh Kern County Summary

We hope this post on CalFresh Kern County was helpful.

Questions?

If you have further questions about CalFresh in Kern County or California 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:
Emergency Allotment for CalFresh – Extra Food Stamps for 2021
Free Cell Phones with CalFresh
How to Apply for California P-EBT
California P-EBT Extension for 2020/2021
CalFresh Account Login Help
CalFresh Income Limits for 2021
May 2021 California Extra Allotment

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