CalFresh Outreach Center

collage of fresh fruits and vegetables across the top, Cal Fresh Food logo at the bottom right corner.

CalFresh = money for groceries. The staff of Cal State LA's CalFresh Outreach Center helps guide students through the entire CalFresh application process, including determining eligibility to apply, assistance completing the application and obtaining verification documents, and navigating the 30-day application period and the renewal process.

This program is funded through the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and is implemented in partnership with county social services offices.

What is CalFresh?

CalFresh, known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, provides monthly benefits to purchase groceries to individuals and families with low-income and provides economic benefits to communities. CalFresh is the largest food program in California and provides an essential hunger safety net.

CalFresh benefits can help buy nutritious foods for a better diet. CalFresh benefits stretch food budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, including more fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods. The amount of benefits a household receives is dependent on household size countable income, and monthly expenses, such as housing and utilities. The program issues monthly benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card (like a debit card). Food may be purchased at any grocery store or farmers market that accepts EBT cards.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for CalFresh you must meet the Basic Household Eligibility Guidelines. Students who are between 18 and 48 years of age must also meet the Student Exemption.

Basic Household Eligiblity

1. Your household income must meet the limits listed in the following table:

Effective 10/1/19 – 9/30/20
Number of People in Household Gross Monthly Income Max CalFresh Allotment*
1 $2,128 $204
2 $2,874 $374
3 $3,620 $535
4 $4,386 $680
5 $5,114 $807

Household = a person living alone or a group of people living together who purchase and prepare food together. *Minimum amount is $15/month.

2. Your household must include at least one U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

*If you have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), you are most likely not eligible for CalFresh benefits, even with work VISA or SSN.

Student Exemption

If you are a student who is between 18 and 48 years of age, at least one of the following must apply to you:

  • Participate in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
  • Participate in the Guardian Scholars Program and/or Extended Foster Care Act 
  • Registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD)
  • Receive a Cal Grant A or B and are: unmarried; 25 years old or younger; you and your parents had a household income of less than $50,000 the year you applied for the grant
  • Receive or qualify for Federal Work-Study and anticipate working during the school term
  • Work 20 hours or more per week
  • Exert parental control over a dependent household member under the age of 6
  • Exert parental control over a dependent household member between the ages of 6 and 12 without adequate child care
  • Are a single parent of a dependent household member under the age of 12 and enrolled full time (at least 12 units)
  • Participate in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), or a Food Stamp Employment and Training Program (FSET)
  • Are a recipient of CalWorks or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)

*The student exemption does not apply to students who are 17 years of age or younger or 49 years of age or older.
*You may not be eligible for CalFresh if you or someone in your household receive more than half of (11 or more) meals per week from another source.

Application Process

STEP 1: If you think you may be eligible, complete our online CalFresh Student Pre-Screening Form.

Once we receive the form, a CalFresh team member will contact you to schedule an appointment.

STEP 2: Although the CalFresh application is online, we encourage you to work on the application with a CalFresh Outreach team member. They are familiar with the process and will likely help get you through the application faster.

STEP 3: Once the county receives your application, your 30-day application period begins.

STEP 4: During this 30-day period, you will need to:

  • Complete an interview with the county office by phone or in person. The county office will call or mail you the date and time for your interview.
  • Let your CalFresh Outreach Team know if you have not heard from the county within the first seven days.

STEP 5: You will have to provide verification documents to your county office. Examples of verification documentation include:

  • Copy of ID
  • Proof of address
  • Utility bill
  • Pay stubs
  • Financial aid award letter and schedule

STEP 6: To keep your CalFresh benefits, you will be required to complete:

  • An SAR 7 Eligibility Report six months after your initial application is approved. The county will let you know when this is due.
  • A Recertification Application and an interview before the end of your certification period. The county will let you know when your Recertification Application is due and will send you a letter confirming the time and date of your interview.

Contact CalFresh Outreach

In order to protect the health and safety of our Cal State LA community, the CalFresh Outreach Center is suspending in-person appointments.

All appointments are taking place online or by phone.

For questions, please email Jessica Vera at [email protected]

Additional food assistance is available at the Cal State LA Food Pantry.

This website was funded by USDA, SNAP, known in California as CalFresh, an equal opportunity provider and employer, and the California Department of Social Services.