CalFresh Benefits

Calfresh Renewal and Recertification Guide – 2021

If you are currently receiving CalFresh benefits, filing your CalFresh renewal application in a timely manner is part of the four main things you have to do on a regular basis to keep your CalFresh benefits.

CalFresh recipients have to complete two regular reports in order to keep their benefits: the semi-annual report and the annual recertification.

In addition, they have to report any changes in income during the year immediately and comply with work requirements.

In this post, we will review four major requirements you have to comply with during the year to keep your CalFresh benefits.

Next, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of renewing your CalFresh benefits, including the rules around the renewal process.

Finally, we will answer the most frequently asked questions around CalFresh renewal.

This post will cover:

  • Four Requirements to Keep your CalFresh Benefits
  • CalFresh Renewal Timeline
  • The CalFresh Renewal Process
  • How to Complete CalFresh Recertification Online
  • CalFresh Renewal and Recertification FAQs

Four Requirements to Keep your CalFresh Benefits

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

CalFresh Work Rules

Some CalFresh recipients are now required to meet federal work requirements.

The rules apply to anyone receiving CalFresh between the ages of 18-49 that does not have a child living in the home.

The CalFresh ABAWD (Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents) Program has many different activities that can be completed virtually and/or safely in-person in order to meet your work activity requirements.

Your employment specialist will work with you to determine what activities safely fit your needs.

Income Change Reporting

Between regular reports, households are required to report when their household income exceeds their Income Reporting Threshold (IRT).

Additionally, you are required to submit proof of income, such as a pay stub or award letter, within 10 days of the increase.

Your caseworker will tell you what your specific IRT is.

Households may also report, during the certification period, any change that could increase benefits, such as a job loss or increased shelter expenses.

Semi-Annual Report (SAR 7 form)

Most households are required to fill out a SAR 7 (Semi-Annual Report) form 6 months after receiving CalFresh benefits.

If you’re not sure about your reporting timeline, haven’t received one in the mail, or have recently moved, call your local CDSS office.

You must submit your filled-out and signed SAR 7 form to the CDSS office in order to keep receiving CalFresh benefits.

Click here to download the SAR 7 Form.

See our step-by-step instructions on how to complete the SAR 7 Form.

Annual CalFresh Renewal and Recertification

Recertification is similar to a renewal process and is needed in order to keep receiving CalFresh benefits.

The CalFresh recertification period is 1 year for most households and 2 years for some seniors and people with disabilities.

Effective November 1, 2020: Recertification interviews are waived through June 2021. The County may still contact you if the information is incomplete.

A face-to-face interview waiver means that those without a phone can come into a County lobby to use a phone to contact one of our staff during business hours.

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

The 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

The first step in the recertification process is to complete the CalFresh recertification form.

Below is the first page of the CalFresh Recertification Form. Click on the link below to download the entire form.

Click here for the recertification application form.

Be sure to answer all questions on the recertification application.

You must at least provide your name, address, and signature to begin your recertification process.

When you are done completing the form, read about your rights and your responsibilities before you sign the 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 on-line. Here’s how:

In-Person

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.

Online

You can complete the re-certification online using the following online portals, depending on your county of residence:

For detailed steps on how to complete your re-certification online, scroll down below to the “How to Complete CalFresh Recertification Online” section.

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.

However, if you do not have a phone or will prefer an in-person interview, it can be done at the County office or other place if arranged with the County.

Furthermore, if you need other arrangements because of a disability, let the caseworker know.

Also, your CalFresh county caseworker can help you complete the recertification application during the interview if you did not fill out all sections or if you need to make changes.

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.

To avoid a delay in recertifying, provide proof of any changes in the circumstance at the time of the interview.

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.

If you are denied further benefits, the letter will state the reason(s) why.

If you reapply timely and get recertified before your certification period ends, you will continue to receive benefits on your EBT card.

Continue to use your EBT card and the same Personal Identification Number (PIN) to buy food.

EBT Card Replacement

If your EBT card is lost, stolen, or destroyed, call (877) 328-9677 or the County right away.

How to Complete CalFresh Recertification Online

Depending on your county of residence, you can use one of the following online portals to complete your annual recertification or semi-annual report for CalFresh online!

If you are new to the online system, create a user ID and password to get started!

MyBenefitsCalwin.org CalFresh Renewal

If you have a MyBenefitsCalwin.org account, you can complete your annual recertification or semi-annual report for CalFresh online!

To sign in, visit www.mybenefitscalwin.org.

If you need help login into your MyBenefitsCalwin.org account, see our post on MyBenefitsCalwin.org account login help.

If you are new to the MyBenefitsCalwin.org online system, you will be required to create a user ID and password to get started!

For help in creating your MyBenefitsCalwin.org, see our post on how to create a MyBenefitsCalwin.org account.

YourBenefitsNow CalFresh Renewal

If you have a YourBenefitsNow account, you can complete your annual recertification or semi-annual report for CalFresh online!

To sign in, visit yourbenefits.laclrs.org.

If you need help login into your YourBenefitsNow account, see our post on YourBenefitsNow account login help.

If you are new to the YourBenefitsNow online system, you will be required to create a user ID and password to get started!

For help in creating your YourBenefitsNow, see our post on how to create a YourBenefitsNow account.

C4yourself.com CalFresh Renewal

If you have a C4yourself.com account, you can complete your annual recertification or semi-annual report for CalFresh online!

To sign in, visit c4yourself.com.

If you need help login into your C4yourself.com account, see our post on C4yourself.com account login help.

If you are new to the C4yourself.com online system, you will be required to create a user ID and password to get started!

For help in creating your C4yourself.com, see our post on how to create a C4yourself.com account.

Calfresh Renewal Summary

We hope this post on Calfresh Renewal was helpful.

If you have further questions about CalFresh 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:
$600 Stimulus Check for Californians FAQs
Restaurants that Take CalFresh in California
California P-EBT Extension for 2020/2021
CalFresh Account Login Help
How much will I get in CalFresh in 2021?
February Extra Food Stamps Schedule
March Extra Food Stamps Schedule
April Extra Food Stamps Schedule – CA

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