How much will I get in CalFresh in 2021?

If you are wondering, “How much will I get in CalFresh per month”, we can help you. In this post, we will explain CalFresh food stamps eligibility, income limit, and how to calculate how much in benefits you are likely to receive in 2021 based on your household income.

"How much EBT will I get per month in California"

  • What is CalFresh?
  • Determine CalFresh Eligibility
  • CalFresh Income Limit – 2021
  • How much will I get in CalFresh?
  • Calculate CalFresh Amount
  • Apply for CalFresh Benefits
  • FAQs about CalFresh

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.

CalFresh benefits allocation is based on a number of factors.

Once you are approved, the amount you will receive depends on how many people are in your household and the net monthly income of your household.

There are two steps to calculating how much in CalFresh you will get.

Step 1 – Determine Income Eligibility

Follow the steps below to calculate your gross income, net income, and see if you meet the asset requirements.

We have also provided an example below for you to follow in calculating how much in CalFresh you are likely to receive based on your household income.

To be eligible for California food stamps, a household’s income and resources must meet three tests:

Eligibility Test 1 – Gross monthly income

The first test you must meet in order to be eligible for CalFresh benefits is the gross income test.

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.

Eligibility Test 2 – Net monthly income

The second test is the net income test.

A household’s Net income, or income after deductions are applied, must be at or below the poverty line (100 percent of the poverty line).

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.

Eligibility Test 3 – Assets

The final test you must meet is the Assets test.

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.

However, households with an elderly or has a disabled person must have assets of $3,500 or less.

What are considered assets for food stamps?

Generally, resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts, count as assets.

Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count

Note that states have the option to relax the asset limits, and many have done so.

Therefore, check with your state’s food stamps agency for details on what the asset requirements are for your state.

As mentioned, the food stamps income limit is determined as a percentage of the National Poverty Guidelines as issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Below is the most current national poverty guidelines, followed by the complete 2020 Food stamps income limit.

Federal Poverty Guidelines 

Number of People in Household 48 States & DC Alaska Hawaii
1 $12,760 $15,950 $14,680
2 $17,240 $21,550 $19,830
3 $21,720 $27,150 $24,980
4 $26,200 $32,750 $30,130
5 $30,680 $38,350 $35,280
6 $35,160 $43,950 $40,430
7 $39,640 $49,550 $45,580
8 $44,120 $55,150 $50,730
For nine or more, add this amount for each additional person $4,480 $5,600 $5,150

Based on the National Poverty guidelines above, the following food stamps income limit chart is calculated by the USDA.

Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.  Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made.

Under Federal law, all income is counted to determine eligibility for SNAP unless it is explicitly excluded.

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 Allowable Deductions

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 will I get in CalFresh in 2021?

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 $204
2 $374
3 $535
4 $680
5 $807
6 $696
7 $1,071
8 $1,224
Each Additional Member +153

Step 2 – Calculate CalFresh Amount

The example below is provided to help you calculate how much food stamps you are likely to receive based on your income, assets, allowable deductions, and household size.

The example uses a family of 3.

Example: Calculating a Household’s Monthly SNAP Benefits

Consider a family of three with one full-time, minimum-wage worker, two children, dependent care costs of $77 a month, and shelter costs of $964 per month.

Here are the steps to calculate how much in food stamps this family will receive.

Step 1 — Gross Income:
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Full-time work at this level yields monthly earnings of $1,256.

Step 2 — Net Income for Shelter Deduction:
Begin with the gross monthly earnings of $1,256.

Subtract the standard deduction for a three-person household ($167), the earnings deduction (20 percent times $1,256, or $251), and the childcare deduction ($77). The result is $761 (Countable Income A).

Step 3 — Shelter Deduction:
Begin with the shelter costs of $964. Subtract half of Countable Income A (half of $761 rounds to $381) for a result of $583.

Step 4 — Net Income:
Subtract the shelter deduction ($583) from Countable Income A ($761) for a result of $178.

Step 5 — Family’s Expected Contribution Towards Food:
30 percent of the household’s net income ($178) is about $53.

Step 6 — SNAP Benefit: The maximum benefit in 2021 for a family of three is $535.

The maximum benefit minus the household contribution ($535 minus $53) equals about $482.

The family’s monthly SNAP benefit is $482.

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Apply for CalFresh Benefits

There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits:

Option 1 – Online

You can apply online at www.GetCalFresh.org.

Option 2 – By Mail or Phone

You can call your county Department of Social Services (CDSS) Office to apply by phone or have an application mailed to you.

To locate a CDSS office near you, click here.

You can complete the paper application and return it to your county CDSS office for processing.

Option 3 – In Person

Apply at your county Department of Social Services (CDSS) office.

To locate a CDSS office near you, click here.

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

CalFresh Phone Number

For additional help submitting your application for CalFresh, please contact the CDSS Hotline.

Customer service representatives are available to help you submit your application.

CalFresh Info Line: 1-877-847-3663.

FAQs about CalFresh

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the California Food Stamps application process:

If I enroll in CalFresh, I will be taking benefits from someone else who needs it more?

No. CalFresh is an entitlement program, which means that all who are eligible and
apply will receive benefits.

You are not “taking someone else’s place” if you apply.

The program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, which sets
aside funds for the program.

What can you purchase with CalFresh?

CalFresh can be used to buy any food or food product that is produced for human consumption. The exception to this is hot foods or lunch counter items prepared or heated in the store.

In addition, CalFresh benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items like soap, toilet paper, shampoo, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, vitamins or medicines, and pet food.

However, you can use your California SNAP EBT Card to purchase seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food.

Can I get CalFresh if I am not a United States citizen?

You may be eligible if you are a “qualified” noncitizen. This includes Permanent Legal Residents (holders of a green card), refugees, asylees (an individual who has been granted asylum), and individuals granted withholding of deportation or removal.

In addition, Cuban/Haitian entrants, individuals paroled into the U.S. for a least one year by immigration authorities, conditional entrants (temporary green card).

Furthermore, certain victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking (T visa), and applicants for U visa/interim relief are also eligible for CalFresh.

Which immigrants can get CalFresh?

If you are an immigrant, here’s what you should know.

A household can get CalFresh if at least one person has:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • A green card
  • Refugee status, asylum, or parolee status
  • A U-Visa or T-Visa or is applying for one
  • Applied for relief under VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)
  • Proof of being a Cuban or Haitian entrant

An individual does not qualify for CalFresh if they are in the U.S.:

  • On a student, work, or tourist visa
  • Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) unless they meet the other qualifying factors
  • As an undocumented person

CalFresh Eligibility Summary

Here’s the bottom line:

CalFresh helps limited-income individuals and families buy the food they need in order to stay healthy.

How much you will receive depends on how many people are in your household and the net monthly income of your household.

To be eligible for California food stamps, a household’s income and resources must meet three tests.

These are Gross Income, Net Income, and Assets Test.

There are three ways you can apply for CalFresh benefits: Online, In Person, and By Phone.

Questions?

We hope this post on the topic “How much will I get in CalFresh” 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:
Extra Food Stamps for CalFresh Cardholders – 2021
CalFresh Eligibility Guide 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