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CalFresh is the new name for California's Food Stamp Program. CalFresh is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that provides assistance for households to purchase nutritious food. The program uses an easy credit card format called Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to purchase food at retail stores and farmers markets.

All CalFresh applications and recertifications must be processed as soon as possible. CalFresh applications must be processed no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the date the application is received by the County. The County must notify the applicant in writing, if the case is approved or denied, no later than 30 calendar days from the date the County receives the CalFresh application. If you qualify based on an emergency situation, you may be eligible to receive CalFresh Expedited Service benefits within three (3) calendar days from the date the application is received by the County. If you are having problems with your CalFresh application, please call 510-645-9332 or email

CalFresh Awareness Month

The Alameda County Social Services Agency (ACSSA), in partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB), the Alameda Health Consortium, University of California, Berkeley and other community partners are implementing a 2018 CalFresh Awareness Month Campaign: CalFresh for Health. This effort aims to address the impact of sugar sweetened beverages and food insecurity by promoting Rethink Your Drink and Get More At The Farmer’s Market campaigns. These campaigns will raise awareness of the importance of making healthy food choices and provide information on local Farmer’s Markets where CalFresh recipients can use their benefits to purchase healthy and nutritious food for their families.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are leading sources of added sugars in the diets of U.S. residents. Daily sugar sweetened beverage consumption is associated with obesity, gout, tooth decay and cavities, and other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People who regularly consume sugary drinks have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who rarely have such drinks.

The Farmers Market Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to strengthening Farmers Markets across the U.S., reports that Farmer’s Markets increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Everyone should have access to nutritious food, but it is not always available, or affordable, especially for those living in low-income neighborhoods, struggling daily to make ends meet. Due to cost and access, fresh fruits and vegetables remain a luxury that many families are unable to afford.

As part of our “CalFresh for Health” focus we are promoting the benefits of healthy eating and access to fresh nutritious foods as part of our “CalFresh for Health” commitment. We aim to raise awareness about the health effects associated with the consumption of sugary drinks by promoting the benefits of drinking water and by increasing access and participation in the CalFresh Program. See our calendar for a complete list of CalFresh Awareness Month activities:

Who May Be Eligible

  • All US citizens (Except persons receiving SSI/SSP benefits)
  • Most immigrants - Legal Permanent Residents

What Verification Is Needed

  • Identification (does not need to be a picture ID)
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of any income
  • Proof of expenses - rent receipt, utility bills, childcare receipts, medical receipts

How Much Income Can I Have

  • Income depends on the number of people in your household
Household size Maximum Gross Income Maximum benefit amount
1 $2,010 $192
2 $2,708 $352
3 $3,404 $504
4 $4,100 $640
5 $4,798 $760
6 $5,494 $913
7 $6,190 $1,009
8 $6,888* $1,153**
*Add $698 for each additional person for monthly income.
**Add $144 for each additional person for maximum benefit.

Restaurant Meals Program

The Restaurant Meals Program allows homeless, elderly (age 60 or over), and disabled CalFresh households to use CalFresh benefits to purchase prepared meals at participating restaurants. Local restaurants participating in the service will display a sign on their door or window indicating they are an Alameda County Restaurant Meal location. A list of currently participating restaurants is also available here.

Are you interested in joining the Alameda County Social Services Agency in helping homeless, elderly (age 60+) and disabled customers obtain prepared meals using their CalFresh benefits with their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card at your location?

If so, please contact CalFresh Program Specialist, Rashon Seldon at 510.259.3821.

See the Restaurant Meals Program Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information.

How to Apply

There are several options available. You can request an application be mailed to you, apply online or simply pick one up at any of our public contact offices.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is CalFresh?

CalFresh are America's primary form of nutrition assistance. To alleviate the stigma associated with coupons, CalFresh benefits are provided via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works just like a normal debit card.

2. Do I have to be on Public Assistance to be eligible to receive CalFresh?

No. Many recipients of CalFresh are employed, elderly or disabled who need assistance purchasing nutritional food.

3. How long does it take to receive CalFresh benefits?

If you qualify for CalFresh, you will receive benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you have very little or no income and less than $100 in cash, you may be eligible to receive CalFresh within 3 days.

4. What is the average benefit amount from CalFresh?

The average monthly benefit is about $149.79 per person and almost $295 per household.

5. What foods are eligible for purchase with CalFresh?

Households can use CalFresh to buy any food or food product for human consumption as well as seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food. Households cannot buy:

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
  • Lunch counter items or food to be eaten in the store
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Pet food
  • Any non-food items such as soaps, paper products, and household supplies.

6. I am a single adult without dependents; can I apply for CalFresh benefits?


7. What if I have a bank account?

Liquid resources such as cash, checking and savings accounts are not counted in the CalFresh Program.

8. What if I'm disabled, and am unable to cook for myself?

Disabled and elderly individuals may have others assist them with cooking when needed.

Also, disabled, elderly and homeless individuals can buy prepared meals under the Restaurant Meals Program. See the information above about this service.

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