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 about 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.
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.
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|
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.
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:
Apply in person at your County CDSS office. Click here to locate a California Food Stamps Office near you.
You can mail the form to your County CDSS office. Click here to locate a California Food Stamps Office near you.
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 following online portals, depending on your county of residence:
- GetCalFresh.org (get more information on GetCalFresh website)
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 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.
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:
- 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!
BenefitsCal.com CalFresh Renewal
If you have a BenefitsCal.com account, you can complete your annual recertification or semi-annual report for CalFresh online!
To do so, you will have to link your CalFresh case if you are a first-time user, as shown in the image below.
To sign in, visit www.benefitscal.com.
If you need help login into your BenefitsCal.com account, see our post on BenefitsCal.com account login help.
If you are new to the BenefitsCal.com online system, you will be required to create a user ID and password to get started!
For help in creating your BenefitsCal.com, see our post on how to create a BenefitsCal.com account.
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.
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: