CalFresh, California’s version of SNAP, provides monthly food assistance to low-income households that meet state and federal eligibility guidelines. Benefits are distributed on a monthly schedule to CalFresh accounts linked to CalFresh EBT cards.
EBT cards can be used in grocery stores, participating retailers and even farmers’ markets. Your benefits can be used to purchase most food items, plus seeds and plants that grow food for your household to eat.
According to the California Department of Social Services, CalFresh benefits cannot be used to purchase food that can be consumed or heated in the store. You also cannot purchase non-food items, including:
- Pet food
- Household supplies
Check the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP Retailer Locator to find out where you can use your CalFresh benefits. Click “Enter the SNAP Retailer Locator” and enter your address. For a list of farmers’ markets that accept CalFresh benefits, visit here.
California also participates in the Restaurant Meals Program, a state option that allows certain SNAP recipients who might not be able to prepare meals for themselves to buy prepared meals at restaurants with their SNAP benefits. Not all locations participate in this program, so call ahead and ask if CalFresh EBT cards are accepted.
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You can apply for CalFresh benefits online at GetCalFresh.org or by calling the CalFresh Info Line at 877-847-3663. If you qualify for expedited CalFresh benefits, you could receive benefits on the same day or within three days following the date your application is received.
How To Score EBT Discounts
There are additional ways to save money using your Calfresh EBT card. As previously reported by GOBankingRates, there are four types of product discounts or free services available to California SNAP recipients:
- Computers/internet/cell phones: Through the Affordable Connectivity Program, eligible CalFresh recipients could receive up to a $30 per month discount on internet service (up to a $75 per month discount if a household is on qualifying Tribal lands) or a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer and a low-cost service plan covered by the ACP. Eligible SNAP participants can also get a free cell phone through the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program.
- Museums/zoos/aquariums: You can take advantage of free or discounted admission to dozens of California museums and over 600 museums throughout the United States.
- Amazon Prime: CalFresh recipients can sign up for an Amazon Prime EBT discount at about half the regular cost of a subscription ($6.99/month).
- Farmers’ markets: Many California farmers’ markets offer EBT matching, allowing recipients to double the amount of food they can buy up to $10 per visit.
CalFresh benefits are distributed over the first 10 days of each month. The date your benefits are deposited onto your CalFresh EBT card depends on the last digit of your case number. Benefits are deposited on the assigned day, even if that day is a weekend or holiday.
Here’s the CalFresh EBT deposit schedule for December 2022:
|Case # ends in:||Benefits available:|
SNAP recipients will also receive another hefty payment in December, which includes the 12.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) approved for 2023. The COLA for 2023 began on Oct. 1, 2022 and will run through Sept. 30, 2023, which will help SNAP recipients deal with rising food costs.
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