CalFresh Lake County (2024 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 Lake, California, and need help with CalFresh, we can help. In this post, we will review everything you need to know about CalFresh Lake County.

This includes CalFresh eligibility, how to apply for benefits, How to renew your benefits, BenefitsCal login help, and Lake County Department of Social Services (DSS) 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 Lake County.

Also, we will share details on how much you are likely to receive in CalFresh if you are approved.

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

Furthermore, we will explain the restaurant meals program in Lake 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 DSS contact information, including the phone number and hours of operation.

"CalFresh Lake County"

Table of Contents:

Applying for CalFresh in the Lake County

  • CalFresh In Lake County
  • Who is Eligible for CalFresh?
  • CalFresh Eligibility Guidelines
  • CalFresh Income Limits – 2024
  • How Much in CalFresh will I Get?
  • How do I apply for CalFresh Benefits in Lake County?

Managing Your CalFresh Benefits

  • Lake County CalFresh Login (BenefitsCal Account Login)
  • How to Renew CalFresh in Lake County
  • CalFresh Lake County Phone Number
  • Restaurants that take CalFresh in Lake County

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.

Additionally, Seniors and certain students are eligible for CalFresh benefits.

Once approved monthly benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that works just like a bank debit card.

You can use your California EBT card to buy eligible food items at most grocery stores, markets (including some Farmers’ Markets), and online.

CalFresh Lake County

In Lake County, the CalFresh program is managed by the Department of Social Services (DSS).

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

Furthermore, BenefitsCal is the website for Lake 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 the 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

What You Need to Apply for CalFresh

Here’s what you need to apply for CalFresh benefits:

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.

Some Households are Subject to Resources (Asset) Limit

Some households are subject to resource limits when applying for CalFresh

Resources are counted as part of CalFresh eligibility only for those households that :

  • Contain a member who has been disqualified from participating in CalFresh because of an Intentional Program Violation,
  • Have a head of the household that does not comply with work requirements,
  • Have any member of the household that has been convicted of certain categories of drug felonies

CalFresh Resource Limit

Households that fit one of the three descriptions above are subject to a resource limit of $2,500.

However, households with an elderly or disabled person must have assets of $3,750 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 – 2024

Here’s what you need to know about CalFresh income limits for 2024:

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

If your household has a person who is 60 or older or disabled, only the net income limit must be met.

Calfresh Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2024
Effective October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024
Household Size Monthly Gross Income (200% of FPL) Monthly Net Income (100% of FPL)
1 $2,430 $1,215
2 $3,288 $1,644
3 $4,144 $2,072
4 $5,000 $2,500
5 $5,858 $2,929
6 $6,714 $3,357
7 $7,570 $3,785
8 $8,428 $4,214
Each Additional Household Member: Add $858 $429

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 $198 for households with 1-3 members,
  • A standard deduction of $208 for a household with 4 members,
  • Standard deduction of $244 for a household with 5 members,
  • Standard deduction of $279 for a household with 6 or more members,
  • Cost of childcare 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,
  • Total amount of your household’s income, and
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan.

The Thrifty Food Plan is a government estimate of how much it costs to provide a household with nutritious, low-cost meals.

The table below shows the maximum CalFresh benefits for households with zero income.

As your income increases, your CalFresh benefit amount goes down.

Maximum SNAP Benefit Amount by Household Size for Fiscal Year 2024
Effective October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024
Household Size Maximum SNAP Benefit Allotment
1 $291
2 $535
3 $766
4 $973
5 $1,155
6 $1,386
7 $1,532
8 $1,751
Each Additional Household Member: Add $219

How do I apply for CalFresh in Lake County?

There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits:

Option 1 – Online

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

Option 2 – By Phone

You can call Lake County DSS to apply by phone or have an application mailed to you.

Here is the number to call:

DSS Customer Service Center (CSC) 707-995-4200 | Toll-Free: 800-628-5288 and request an application be mailed to you.

Fill out the application packet and mail it to:

Lake County Department of Social Services
15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway
Lower Lake, CA 95457

Option 3 – In Person

Lastly, you can apply In person at any of the Lake County Department of Social Services (DSS) offices.

To locate a Lake County Department of Social 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.

Lake County Department of Social Services office locations

Here’s the list of Lake County Department of Social Services office locations that handle CalFresh applications and benefits.

Lake County Department of Social Services Office

15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway
Lower Lake, CA 95457

BenefitsCal Login Help

If you live in Lake 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.

"Login to your account"

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.

"accept terms and conditions"

 

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.

"BenefitsCal dashboard"

Forgot Password?

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

"BenefitsCal forgot password"

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.

"Enter email address to reset 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 Lake County

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

They are:

Lake 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

Lake 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

Submit your Renewal form in person at your County Department of Social Services (DSS) office. Click here to locate a DSS Office near you or see the address above.

If you are submitting by mail or fax, contact your county CalFresh Office for their fax number or mailing address.

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 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 the 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 Lake County Phone Number

Here’s how to contact the Lake County DSS 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 questions about your case, you can call:

Lake County Department of Social Services Call Center:
707-995-4200 | Toll Free: 800-628-5288

Frequently Asked Questions About CalFresh in Lake County

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

Can I Use my California SNAP EBT on Instacart?

Yes. You can also use your California Food Stamps benefits with Instacart.

Instacart is an online grocery delivery service, to buy groceries at SNAP-participating retailers for delivery or pickup.

Instacart provides groceries through the following EBT SNAP retailers:

  • ALDI
  • FoodMaxx
  • Lucky Supermarkets
  • Save Mart

What Farmers Markets Accept CalFresh in Lake County?

Many Farmer’s Markets across Lake 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.

Lake County Farmers Markets

Below is a list of farmers’ markets in Lake County. Be sure to call each market to make sure they accept EBT.

You can also find out whether they offer Double EBT Match.

  1. Saturday Market at the Mercantile Location: 4350 Thomas Dr., Finley, CA 95435 Contact: Cornelia Sieber-Davis, (707) 263-6076 Schedule: Saturdays, 10am – 1pm, Year-Round
  2. Tuesday Market at Library Park Location: 225 Park St., Lakeport, CA 95453 Contact: Cornelia Sieber-Davis, (707) 263-6076 Schedule: Tuesdays, 10am – 1pm, May – September
  3. Middletown Farmers Market Location: Middletown Square Park, Middletown, CA 95461 Contact: Joseph Eckhart, (707) 321-1876 Schedule: Fridays, 4pm – 8pm, April – December
  4. Lovisone Vineyards and Farmstand Location: 12100 Hwy 29, across from C St., Lower Lake, CA 95457 Contacts: Sarah Renkes & Melanie F. Garrett, (702) 762-4052 Schedule: Saturdays, 9am – 1pm, May – November
  5. The Little Red Hen Farmers Market Location: 6264 E. Hwy 20, corner of 11th Avenue, Lucerne, CA 95458 Contacts: Sarah Renkes and Melanie F. Garrett, (702) 762-4052 Schedule: Fridays, 9am – 1pm, May – November
  6. Clearlake Certified Farmers Market Location: Lakeshore Dr., Clearlake, CA 95422 Contact: Elizabeth Kelly, (707) 350-5683 Schedule: Saturdays, 4:30pm – 7:30pm, April – September
  7. Cobb Community Farmers Market Location: Pine Grove Resort, 15960 Bottle Rock Rd., Middletown, CA 95461 Contact: Donald Merrill Jr., (707) 295-8881 Schedule: Tuesdays, 4pm – 7pm, May – September
  8. Hidden Valley Lake Market Location: Hidden Valley Lake Grocery Outlet, 18657 Oak Meadow Dr., Middletown, CA 95461 Contact: Joseph W. Eckhart, (707) 321-1876 Schedule: Sundays, 9am – 1pm, Year-Round

Don’t miss out on these fantastic markets in Lake County, offering a wide variety of fresh, locally-sourced goods. Experience the lively community spirit and support local farmers and artisans by visiting these markets throughout the year.

I need food Now. What Should I do?

If you need food now, you can contact Food Pantries and soup kitchens in Lake County using the phone numbers below:

Food Pantries in Lake County, CA

If you need food assistance in Lake County, there are several food banks and pantries available to help.

Here’s a list of food banks, pantries, and programs in the area.

Food Banks:

  1. Clearlake Gleaners
  • Collects surplus and donated food for distribution to elderly, homeless, and low-income families in Lake County
  • Location: 1894 Big Valley Road, Finley, CA 95435
  • Phone: (707) 263-8082
  • Website: https://www.facebook.com/CLGleaners/

Food Pantries:

  1. United Methodist Church
  • Contact: (707) 994-2507
  • Location: 16255 Second Street, Lower Lake, CA 95457
  1. Calvary Chapel of Clearlake
  1. United Christian Parish
  1. Saint John’s Episcopal Church
  • Food pantry available on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (no proof of income or need required)
  • Contact: (707) 263-4785
  • Location: 1190 North Forbes Street, Lakeport, CA 95453
  • Website: http://www.saintjohnslakeport.org/food_pantry
  1. Meals-to-Go United Christian Parish
  • Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
  • Address: 745 No Bush St., Lakeport, CA 95453
  1. United Christian Parish
  • Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Address: 5340 3rd Street, Kelseyville, CA 95451
  1. Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa – The Food Project
  • Delivers food to over 20,000 people per year
  • When: 4th Monday 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Location: 4085 Main Street (St. Peter Parish), Kelseyville, CA 95451

CalFresh Lake County Summary

We hope this post on CalFresh Lake County was helpful.

Questions?

If you have further questions about CalFresh in Lake 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:

Get the Complete Guide of EBT Discounts for 2024! $1,000+ Worth of Savings!

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