CalFresh Benefits

CalFresh Los Angeles (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 Los Angeles County and need help with CalFresh, we can help. In this post, we will review everything you need to know about CalFresh Los Angeles – including CalFresh eligibility, how to apply for benefits, How to renew your benefits, YourBenefitsNow login help, and DPSS 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 criteria.

We will then walk you through the 3 ways you can apply for CalFresh in Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles County and what you need to know to successfully complete SAR 7 or recertification.

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

Table of Contents:

Applying for CalFresh in Los Angeles County

  • CalFresh In Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles?

Managing Your CalFresh Benefits

  • Los Angeles CalFresh Login (YourBenefitsNow Account Login)
  • How to Renew CalFresh in Los Angeles County
  • CalFresh Los Angeles Phone Number
  • Restaurants that take CalFresh in LA County

What is CalFresh?

The CalFresh Program is California’s version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP and 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 Los Angeles County

In Los Angeles County, the CalFresh program is managed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS).

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

Furthermore, YourBenefitsNow is the website for Los Angeles County Residents to apply for and to view their benefits online.

We will walk you through how to sign up for a YourBenefitsNow 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.


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 Gross Income Allowed – 200% Federal Poverty Level Maximum Net Income Allowed – 100% Federal Poverty Level
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 +377

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 $167 for households with 1-3 members,
  • Standard deduction of $181 for a household with 4 members,
  • A standard deduction of $212 for a household with 5 members,
  • Standard deduction of $243 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 $234
2 $430
3 $616
4 $782
5 $929
6 $1,114
7 $1,232
8 $1,408
Each Additional Member +176

How do I apply for CalFresh in Los Angeles County

There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits:

Option 1 – Online

The easier and quickest way to apply for CalFresh in Los Angeles County is online at Your Benefits Now!

Apply online by clicking here.

Option 2 – By Phone

You can call the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) to apply by phone or have an application mailed to you.

Here is the number to call:

DPSS Customer Service Center (CSC) (866) 613-3777.

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

Option 3 – In Person

Lastly, you can apply In person at any Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) District Office or outreach site.

To locate a DPSS office near you, click here.

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

YourBenefitsNow Account Login Help

As mentioned above, the Your Benefits Now online portal is used to apply for and manage benefits in Los Angeles County, including CalFresh.

If you already have an account, follow the instructions below for help logging in YourBenefitsNow online account.

If you do not have an account and need help creating one, see our post on how to create a YourBenefitsNow online account.

Step 1 – Visit YourBenefitsNow Website

The first step when completing the login for your YourBenefitsNow account is to visit the website. You can access the website here.

Once there, click on “Login to your account” as shown below.

Step 2 – Answer Prompt

Next, a page will open with a box, asking you if you remember your Customer ID/PIN or your Username/Password as shown below?

Click “Yes”, if you do.

However, if you do not remember them, click “No” for help.

Step 2 – Enter Username and Password

Next, you will be taken to the new page, where you can enter your sign-in credentials.

Enter your YourBenefitsNow account Username and Password.

When complete, click the “Sign In” button as shown below.

Step 4 – Accept Disclaimer

Once you have entered your login credentials successfully, you will be taken to the page below, where you will see a disclaimer from the DPSS.

Read the disclaimer and click “I Agree” in order to proceed to view your YourBenefitsNow account.

Step 5 – View your account

Once you have accepted the disclaimer, you will automatically be taken to your account, as shown by the image below.

Once you have logged in, there are a number of tasks you can perform from your account as stated above, including:

  • View details on your existing benefits
  • Start or continue an existing application
  • Check the status of an application you have already submitted
  • Schedule an appointment for a new application
  • Upload verification documents
  • See your Caseworker details
  • See eligibility information for CalFresh, CalWORKs, General Relief, and MediCal

How to Renew CalFresh in Los Angeles County

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

They are:

  • CalFresh Work Rules
  • Income Change Reporting
  • Semi-Annual Report (SAR 7 form)
  • Annual CalFresh Renewal and Recertification

Los Angeles 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

Los Angeles 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:


Apply in person at your County CDSS office. Click here to locate a California Food Stamps Office near you.

By Mail

You can mail the form to your County CDSS office. Click here to locate a California Food Stamps Office near you.

By Fax

You can fax the completed, signed application form to your County CDSS office. Click here to locate a California Food Stamps Office near you.


You can complete the re-certification online using the Your Benefits Now Portal.

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

If you do not have a YourBenefitsNow 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 Los Angeles Phone Number

Here’s how to contact the DPSS regarding your Los Angeles County CalFresh benefits:

The Customer Service Center (CSC) is a “single point of contact” currently providing services to 33 District Offices for the following aid programs:

  • CalWORK
  • CalFresh
  • Medi-Cal
  • General Relief

Phone numbers

Toll-Free (866) 613-3777
Local Numbers

(310) 258-7400

(626) 569-1399

(818) 701-8200

Hours of Operation — excluding holidays:

Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. — 7:30 p.m.
Saturday from 8:00 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Restaurants that take CalFresh in LA County

If you currently live in Los Angeles County and receive CalFresh benefits we have great news!

Your CalFresh EBT Card or Golden State Advantage card can be used at select restaurants and fast food places if you meet the eligibility criteria.

This is part of the CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program.

The Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows CalFresh recipients who are 60 years of age or older, disabled, or homeless to use their CalFresh benefits to purchase lower-cost prepared meals at approved participating restaurants in certain counties.

Currently, the restaurant meals program is active in the following counties:

How to use your EBT Card at Restaurants in Los Angeles

Using your EBT Card to purchase hot meals at restaurants and fast food locations is easy.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Find a participating restaurant or fast-food chain near you. Eligible locations will display the Restaurant Meals sign (pictured below).
  2. Purchase hot meals – breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the restaurant by using your California EBT Card at checkout.
  3. Follow the instructions and enter your 4-digit EBT Card PIN to complete your purchase.
  4. Get your receipt to see the remaining balance on your EBT Card CalFresh benefits account.


List of Restaurants that Accept EBT in Los Angeles

Currently, there are over 1,200 restaurants that accept EBT Cards in Los Angeles, California.

For a list of these restaurants and to find one near you, see our full article on Restaurants that take CalFresh EBT in Los Angeles.

CalFresh Los Angeles Summary

We hope this post on CalFresh Los Angeles was helpful.


If you have further questions about CalFresh in Los Angeles 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
Restaurants that Take CalFresh in California
LA County DPSS Guide
California P-EBT Extension for 2020/2021
Los Angeles County DPSS Mobile Application
CalFresh Income Limits for 2021
May 2021 California Extra Allotment
Free Thanksgiving Dinners and Turkey Giveaways

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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