CalFresh is California's Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program. CalFresh is designed to help you purchase food and eat healthier. As indicated on their website, "CalFresh is a California financial aid program that helps students buy food and eat healthier. It won't affect your financial aid and you don't need your parent's tax return information to apply"
CalFresh Frequently Asked Questions
Do I qualify for CalFresh?
If you qualify or are eligible for the following programs, you may be eligible for CalFresh benefits:
- Part-time workers
- EOP Students
- Cal Grant recipients
- Students who are parents
- Students with an EFC of $0
- Students eligible for Work-Study
Does this affect my financial aid?
No! CalFresh will have no effect on your financial aid.
Do I need my parent’s tax information to apply?
No. You will not need your parent’s tax information or return to apply. However, you may need your own tax information, if applicable.
Can CalFresh help me buy clothes/supplies/etc?
Unfortunately, no. CalFresh SNAP benefits are only able to be used on food items.
How long does the application process take?
The online application takes about 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Please have your financial aid letter, official ID, and any other documents available for upload on the application portal. If you would like a paper application, would like a language interpreter, or are unable to complete the online application for any reason— please contact Santa Clara County Social Services: https://socialservices.sccgov.org/about-us/contact-social-services-agency
How much will I get per month?
The exact amount varies depending on your income, financial situation, and many more factors— please refer to your case worker or Santa Clara County Social Services for your exact amount or an estimate. The maximum amount available is $281 per month for a 1-person household.
What food can I buy with CalFresh?
The USDA currently allows any food to be purchased, including:
- Fruits and vegetables;
- Meat, poultry, and fish;
- Dairy products;
- Breads and cereals;
- Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and
- Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.
However, you CANNOT use your benefits to purchase:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
- Vitamins, medicines, and supplements. If an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase.
- Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store).
- Foods that are hot at the point of sale
- Any nonfood items such as:
- Pet foods
- Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
- Hygiene items, cosmetics
Can I use CalFresh out-of-state/when I’m at home?
Yes! CalFresh runs on the USDA’s national SNAP/EBT program, which means you can use your benefits at any store nationwide that accepts EBT or SNAP.