San Mateo County

CalFresh San Mateo 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 San Mateo and need help with CalFresh, we can help. In this post, we will review everything you need to know about CalFresh San Mateo – including CalFresh eligibility, how to apply for benefits, How to renew your benefits, MyBenefits CalWIN login help, and HSA 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 San Mateo 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 San Mateo County and what you need to know to successfully complete SAR 7 or recertification.

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

Table of Contents:

Applying for CalFresh in the County of San Mateo

  • CalFresh In San Mateo 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 San Mateo?

Managing Your CalFresh Benefits

  • San Mateo CalFresh Login (MyBenefits CalWIN Account Login)
  • How to Renew CalFresh in San Mateo
  • CalFresh San Mateo Phone Number
  • Restaurants that take CalFresh in San Mateo 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.

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 San Mateo County

In San Mateo County, the CalFresh program is managed by the County of San Mateo Human Services Agency (HSA).

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

Furthermore, MyBenefits CalWIN is the website for San Mateo County Residents to apply for and to view their benefits online.

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

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

Number of People in Household Maximum Monthly 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,
  • 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.

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 San Mateo County?

There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits:

Option 1 – Online

The easier and quickest way to apply for CalFresh in San Mateo is online at Your MyBenefits CalWIN!

Apply online by clicking here.

Another way to apply for CalFresh in San Mateo County is through www.getcalfresh.org.

Option 2 – By Phone

You can call the County of San Mateo Human Services Agency (HSA) to apply by phone or have an application mailed to you.

Here is the number to call:

HHSA Customer Service Center (CSC) 1-(800) 223-8383.

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

Option 3 – In Person

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

To locate an HSA Family Resource Center office near you, click here.

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

San Mateo County HSA office locations

Here’s the list of San Mateo County HSA office locations that handle CalFresh applications and benefits.

HSA Northern Region-Daly City

271 92nd Street
Daly City, CA 94015
650-301-8440

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

HSA North Region – South San Francisco

1487 Huntington Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080
650-877-5608

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

HSA Administrative Office

1 Davis Drive
Belmont, CA 94002
650-802-7507

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

HSA Central Region – Quarry Road

550 Quarry Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
650-802-6450

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

HSA Central Region – Harbor Bldg B

400 Harbor Boulevard Bldg B,
Belmont, CA 94002
650-802-6470

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

HSA Southern Region – Middlefield Road

2500 Middlefield Road
Redwood City, CA 94063
650-599-3811

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

HSA – Southern Region – East Palo Alto

2415 University Ave
East Palo Alto, CA 94303
650-363-4175

Hours: 8:00 to 5:00pm

San Mateo County HSA CalFresh Fax Number

Additionally, you can fax your completed application to the HSD at 650-620-9732.

MyBenefits CalWIN Login Help

If you live in the County of San Mateo, then you can use the MyBenefits CalWIN online portal to apply for and manage benefit assistance.

Follow the instructions below for help logging in MyBenefits CalWIN online account.

Step 1 – Visit MyBenefits CalWIN Account Website

To start the login process for your MyBenefits CalWIN, visit the MyBenefits CalWIN website at www.mybenefitscalwin.org.

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

Click on the “Sign In” button to proceed with the process, as shown below.

Step 2 – Enter username

Next, you will be taken to a page where you will be required to enter your account username, as shown below.

You will have to enter a valid username in order to proceed to the password page.

Once you enter the correct username, click “Next” to continue, as shown by the image below.

Step 3 – Enter username

If you entered the correct username, you will be taken to the password page, with the sign-in image/picture you selected showing.

Make sure the picture is the one you picked.

Once you enter your password, click the “Sign In” button as shown below.

Step 4 – View your account

If you entered the correct password, you will be automatically taken to your MyBenefits CalWIN account page.

Once there, you can perform a variety of tasks as listed above, including:

  • See if you are eligible for benefits
  • Apply for Benefits
  • View or Continue an Application
  • Learn about Affordable Health Insurance

Forgot Username and Password

If you do not remember your login credentials, follow the instructions below:

Forgot Username

If you do not remember your username, click on the “Forgot Username?” link, as shown below.

Next, You will then be taken to a page where you have to provide your email address to retrieve your username.

Enter your email address in the space provided, then click “Submit”. You will receive an email with instructions about your username.

Forgot Password

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

This link will only be revealed once you have successfully entered your username at the login page.

Next, you will be taken to the page below where you will have to answer one of the secret questions you selected when you signed up for your MyBenefits CalWIN account.

Provide the answer to the question in the space provided and click “Submit” for further instructions on how to retrieve your password.

MyBenefits CalWIN Video

We strongly suggest that you watch the video below, which does an excellent job of explaining in detail how to navigate the MyBenefits CalWIN website.

It explains the various task you can perform once logged in, including how you can check your eligibility for benefits and the status of your application.

How to Renew CalFresh in San Mateo County

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

They are:

San Mateo 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

San Mateo 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 HSA office. Click here to locate an HSA Food Stamps Office near you.

By Mail

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

By Fax

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

Online

You can complete the re-certification online using the MyBenefits CalWIN Portal.

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

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

Step 3 – HSA 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 San Mateo Phone Number

Here’s how to contact the HSA regarding your San Mateo County CalFresh benefits:

The Customer Service Center (CSC) 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 HSA at (800) 223-8383.

Restaurants that take CalFresh in San Mateo County

If you currently live in the County of San Mateo 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 San Mateo County

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 San Mateo County

Currently, there are a number of restaurants that accept EBT Cards in San Mateo County, California.

However, the HSA has not yet released a list of participating restaurants.

Click here to find a participating restaurant near you.

Restaurant Meals Program Now Statewide

A recent bill passed by the California legislature (Assembly Bill 942) has expanded the RMP to all counties in California. 

As of September 1, 2021, The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) announced that the RMP has expanded to a statewide program.

The CDSS plans to have RMP restaurant vendors in every county in the coming years!

Therefore, as a result of this legislation, San Mateo CalFresh recipients who meet the eligibility requirements for the RMP (are 60 years of age or older, disabled, or homeless) can use their benefits to purchase food at restaurants statewide in counties that are participating in the program.

Click here to find a participating restaurant near you.

Restaurants participating in the program will display the sign below going forward:

Frequently Asked Questions About CalFresh in San Mateo County

Here are the most frequently asked questions about CalFresh in San Mateo 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 HSA for new households to apply:

CALL: 1-(800) 223-8383 to apply by phone,
CLICK: MyBenefits CalWIN to apply online, or
IN PERSON: Locate your local county office here.

Can you receive aid from other programs and receive CalFresh?

Yes. In California, 60 percent of the CalFresh households also receive cash aid from other public assistance programs.

However, there is a restriction that a household cannot participate simultaneously in the CalFresh Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

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.

If I get more benefits than I’m due, will I have to repay the extra CalFresh benefits?

Yes. If CalFresh determines that you received too much in CalFresh benefits, you will be required to pay those benefits back.

This is called an over-payment.

Even if you did not cause the error that led to the overpayment, you will be required to pay back the overpayment.

If this happens, you will be notified in writing and provided options for repayment.

Repayment options include a reduction in your regular allotment each month until the balance has been paid.

To help prevent over-payments, please report your income and household information.

What Farmers Markets Accept CalFresh in San Mateo County?

CalFresh is also accepted at many Farmers’ Markets throughout San Mateo County.

When you use your EBT card at Farmers’ Markets, some offer a Market Match, which gives you additional dollars (up to $10) to spend on fresh fruits & vegetables!

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.

What is Market Match?

Market Match is California’s healthy food incentive program, which matches customers’ federal nutrition assistance benefits, like CalFresh and WIC, at farmers’ markets and other farm-direct sites.

Market Match is available at over 240 sites, across 40 California counties, that are run by nearly 60 community-based organizations and farmers’ market operators.

Spend $10 in CalFresh money and get an additional $10 to purchase more produce.

You can buy fruits, vegetables, bread, cereals, baked goods, meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, cheese, jams, jelly, honey, seeds, and plants that produce food.

To find local farmers’ markets participating in Market Match, go to FMFinder.org or here.

CalFresh San Mateo County Summary

We hope this post on CalFresh San Mateo County was helpful.

Questions?

If you have further questions about CalFresh in San Mateo 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
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

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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