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Historic CalFresh Expansion

June 14, 2019

Two weeks ago California implemented a historic expansion to its CalFresh program (known as food stamps formerly and SNAP federally), impacting hunger and food security throughout the state. On June 1, 2019, California’s CalFresh rules changed making Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients permitted to apply CalFresh — known as the “SSI Expansion.” This is the first time in the history of the program that SSI recipients are eligible to receive CalFresh and made possible by Assembly Bill 1811.

“We are thrilled that the CalFresh expansion for SSI recipients is underway,” said Andrew Cheyne, Director of Government Affairs for the California Association of Food Banks. “The exclusion denied food assistance to some of the most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities in our communities. Now, people receiving SSI can apply for CalFresh and if eligible, receive valuable benefits to buy food with dignity and according to their needs.”

Before this change, SSI recipients automatically received $10 a month for food, but barred from applying for CalFresh benefits. Now, a household of one-person, is eligible to receive between $15 and $192 a month in nutrition benefits.

“We are proud to be a leading member of the Californians for SSI (CA4SSI) coalition that achieved this historic policy victory. It’s hard to understand how important this is towards reducing hunger in California. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the state, counties, and community partners to ensure that those who are eligible access this essential benefit,” Cheyne said.

How to apply for CalFresh:

  • Apply online here – http://getCalFresh.org
  • Apply over the phone – call 1-877-847-3663
  • Additionally, many counties have organizations that assist community-members with the CalFresh application


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