Using CalFresh Benefits
  • CalFresh benefits are deposited on a plastic card that is called an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The EBT card works like a debit card. It includes a private 4-digit PIN that you create. A card can be mailed to you or replaced in-person. Replacing in-person requires any form of identification. You can visit any of the regional offices for a replacement.
  • CalFresh EBT cards can be used to purchase food at most grocery stores, discount chains, and neighborhood stores.
    • To find an EBT-friendly store near you, please CLICK HERE
  • 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!
    CalFresh can be used to buy food items such as:
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Beans, fish, poultry, meat, eggs
    • Rice, bread, tortillas, cereal
    • Dairy products like milk and cheese
    • Baby food and infant formula
    • Seeds and plants that produce food
    CalFresh cannot be used to buy:
    • Alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes
    • Non-food items (i.e. pet food, toilet paper, diapers, and soap to name a few)
    • Vitamins, medicine, and supplements
    • Hot foods or premade meals
    Maintaining CalFresh Benefits

    If you are currently receiving CalFresh, please note that you must abide by the following in order to keep your benefits active. Failure to comply by reporting responsibilities may cause your benefits to be late, changed, or terminated.

    SAR-7 (Semi-Annual Report) form:

    Households are required to fill out a SAR-7 (Semi-Annual Report) form six (6) months after receiving benefits. The form gets mailed to your address on file. The SAR-7 Report is considered complete when all questions have been answered, all proof of income is attached, and all required signatures are completed.


    After a year of receiving CalFresh, it is required to complete a recertification to renew benefits. This is done via a phone appointment. An in-person appointment at the Belmont office is available if requested. A recertification packet containing your appointment letter will be sent to you approximately 30 days prior to the due date.

    You will need to provide:

    1. Current proof of all monthly gross income
    2. Current utility expenses
    3. Current residency verification
    4. Any current child care/child support expenses (if applicable)

    NOTE: If your household includes people aged 60 or over, or who have a disability, you will not need to complete a recertification every year. Please see ELDERLY OR DISABLED for more information.

    When your income changes (IRT):

    Households are required to report when their household income exceeds their Income Reporting Threshold (IRT), and will need to submit proof, such as a paystub or award letter, within 10 days of the increase. Your specific IRT amount is determined upon application, and your worker will tell you what that amount is. Contact our staff at 1-800-223-8383 for assistance if your income has exceeded your IRT, or you may be required to pay back benefits that you were given in error. 

    Households may also report any change that could increase benefits, such as a job loss or increased shelter expenses, at any time.