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 Sierra, California, and need help with CalFresh, we can help. In this post, we will review everything you need to know about CalFresh Sierra County.
This includes CalFresh eligibility, how to apply for benefits, How to renew your benefits, BenefitsCal login help, and Sierra County Department of Social Services 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 Sierra 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 Sierra County and what you need to know to successfully complete SAR 7 or recertification.
Furthermore, we will explain the restaurant meals program in Sierra 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 Social Services contact information, including the phone number and hours of operation.
Table of Contents:
Applying for CalFresh in the Sierra County
- CalFresh In Sierra County
- Who is Eligible for CalFresh?
- CalFresh Eligibility Guidelines
- CalFresh Income Limits – 2023
- How Much in CalFresh will I Get?
- How do I apply for CalFresh Benefits in Sierra County?
Managing Your CalFresh Benefits
- Sierra County CalFresh Login (BenefitsCal Account Login)
- How to Renew CalFresh in Sierra County
- CalFresh Sierra County Phone Number
- Restaurants that take CalFresh in Sierra 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.
CalFresh Sierra County
In Sierra County, the CalFresh program is managed by the Department of Social Services.
In addition to CalFresh benefits, the Social Services also handles CalWORKs, General Relief, and MediCal applications and benefits.
Furthermore, BenefitsCal is the website for Sierra 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.
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.
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.
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 – 2023
Here’s what you need to know about CalFresh income limits for 2023:
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.
|California SNAP (CalFresh) Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2023|
|Effective October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023|
|Household Size||Monthly Gross Income (200% of FPL)||Monthly Net Income (100% of FPL)|
|Each Additional Household Member: Add||$787||$394|
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 $193 for households with 1-4 members,
- A standard deduction of $225 for a household with 5 members,
- Standard deduction of $258 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.
|CalFresh Maximum SNAP Benefit Amount by Household Size|
|Effective October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023|
|Household Size||Maximum SNAP Benefit Allotment|
|Each Additional Household Member:||$211|
How do I apply for CalFresh in Sierra County?
There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits:
Option 1 – Online
The easier and quickest way to apply for CalFresh in Sierra County is online at BenefitsCal.com.
Option 2 – By Phone
You can call Sierra County Social Services to apply by phone or have an application mailed to you.
Here is the number to call:
Social Services Customer Service Center (CSC) 1-530-993-6720.
You can complete the paper application and return it to the Social Services office for processing.
Option 3 – In Person
Lastly, you can apply In person at any of the Social Services offices.
To locate a Sierra 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.
Sierra County Social Services office locations
Here’s the list of Sierra County Social Services office locations that handle CalFresh applications and benefits.
Loyalton Social Services Office
202 Front Street
Loyalton, CA 96118
P O Box 1019
Loyalton, CA 96118
24-Hour Emergency Contact
Downieville Social Services Office
22 Maiden Lane
Downieville, CA 95936
P.O. Box 38
Downieville, CA 95936
24-Hour Emergency Contact
BenefitsCal Login Help
If you live in Sierra 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.
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
- 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.
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.
If you forgot your password, click on the “Forgot Your Password” link as shown in the image below.
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.
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 Sierra County
In order to keep your CalFresh benefits in Sierra County, there are four requirements you have to meet each year.
- CalFresh Work Requirements
- Income Change Reporting
- Semi-Annual Report (SAR 7 form)
- Annual CalFresh Renewal and Recertification
Sierra 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|
Sierra 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
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:
Submit your Renewal form in person at your County Social Services office. Click here to locate Social Services 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.
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:
- 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 Sierra County Phone Number
Here’s how to contact the Sierra County Social Services regarding your CalFresh benefits:
The Customer Service Center is a “single point of contact” currently providing services for the following aid programs:
- General Relief
To find out about the status of your case or application, or to ask any other questions about your case, you can call:
Social Services Call Center:
Frequently Asked Questions About CalFresh in Sierra County
Here are the most frequently asked questions about CalFresh in Sierra County.
What if I don’t have all the information for a CalFresh Application?
If you do not have all the information to complete the CalFresh application, just complete what you can!
You may submit an incomplete application with just your name, address, and signature.
An Eligibility Worker can assist you in finishing the application.
Can Students in Sierra County Get CalFresh?
Yes, many students in Sierra County may qualify for CalFresh.
To see if you qualify, complete the CalFresh application.
You may also contact Sienna Anaya at Placer Food Bank at (916) 783-0481 ext. 112 or [email protected]
Additional Resources for Students
If you are a student in Sierra County and need food now, you may utilize a food pantry student liaison to get information on free food options available.
Food Pantry Student Liaisons are student leaders who are trained and knowledgeable about CalFresh and community services and resources.
What Income Changes do I have to Report to CalFresh?
These processes may be completed by phone, online, by mail, fax, or in person.
Additionally, CalFresh beneficiaries are required to report certain changes within 10 days rather than waiting for the semi-annual or annual renewal process, such as:
- Income increases above a certain amount
- If you are an Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD), you must report when you work less than 20 hours a week or when your training hours drop to less than 20 hours a week or 80 hours a month.
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 Social Services for new households to apply:
CALL: 530-993-6720 to apply by phone,
CLICK: BenefitsCal.com to apply online, or
IN PERSON: Locate your local county office at https://www.sierracounty.ca.gov/306/Public-Assistance.
What if I am Elderly or have a Disability?
If you are 60 years old or over, or have a verified disability, you are not required to look for work while receiving CalFresh.
Additionally, you may also be eligible to claim high medical bills that health insurance doesn’t cover as part of your CalFresh application.
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.
What Farmers Markets Accept CalFresh in Sierra County?
Many Farmer’s Markets across Sierra County allow users to use CalFresh.
Here are three reasons why it pays to use your CalFresh benefits at Farmers’ Market
- Produce may cost less at Farmers’ Market than at the grocery store!
- Farmers’ Market produce is grown locally and freshness is unbeatable!
- 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.
CalFresh Sierra County Summary
We hope this post on CalFresh Sierra County was helpful.
If you have further questions about CalFresh in Sierra 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: