What is CalFresh?
CalFresh is a nutrition program that can help low-income individuals and families purchase healthy foods.
CalFresh provides monthly financial assistance on a debit-like card known as an EBT card. If approved, your benefits will automatically be added to your account each month. The amount of benefits you can receive is dependent on your family size, countable income, and monthly expenses such as housing & utilities. The EBT card can be used at most grocery stores, discount chains, farmer’s markets, and neighborhood stores.
CalFresh will stretch your food dollars. You can buy more fruit, vegetables, eggs, milk, and other nutritious foods to help you and your family stay healthy. If you are finding it difficult to afford the nutritious food that you and your family need, the CalFresh Program may be able to help you.
Healthy eating doesn't mean breaking the bank. You can use your CalFresh dollars to buy fresh, local, seasonal, and nutritious produce at participating farmers' markets throughout San Mateo County. You can get even more through the Market Match program! For CalFresh participants, the Market Match program offers farmers' market customers a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $10 when they pay using their EBT cards. So, if you spend $10 at the farmer’s market, Market Match will give you an extra $10 to spend - that's $20 worth of fresh food! Now you can try all kinds of local and seasonal fruits & vegetables! To learn about Market Match and other CalFresh-related programs, check out our Mission: Nutrition page.
How do I know if I’m potentially eligible?
In general, you need to meet four main requirements:
- You must have low income. Your income requirements depend on your household size and monthly expenses.
- You must live in San Mateo County.
- Someone in the household must be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident.
For more details on specific eligibility criteria, visit our CalFresh Eligibility Details page.
How long does it take to get CalFresh?
If approved, you will receive benefits within 30 days of the date you apply.
You can receive your benefits within 3 calendar days if:
- You earn less than $150.00 in the month you apply and if you have less than $100 in cash OR
- Your household’s combined monthly income and cash are less than your household’s combined monthly rent and utilities OR
- You are a migrant or seasonal farm worker and have less than $100 in cash