As of September 1, 2020, the amount you could receive for CalFresh food stamps in Los Angeles are 5% higher in order to account for cost of living. Additionally, CalFresh recipients are now receiving the maximum amount of benefits available, and your extra amount will be deposited into your account the following month. You can text 2-1-1 for more information on COVID-19 specific changes to benefit amounts.

The Los Angeles food stamps offices (run by the DPSS) that handle CalFresh may be closed, but you can look up your local office on the DPSS CalFresh page and call to find out.

If you need immediate food, you can find an L.A. food bank to visit.


Los Angeles Food Stamps (CalFresh) Benefits

The federal government has a program called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which most people refer to as food stamps. The program is called CalFresh in California and you can learn more about CalFresh and how to receive benefits across California in one of our companion articles. You might be eligible for CalFresh food stamps if you have a low income and fit a few other criteria. In Los Angeles you will work with a local Department of Public Social Services office for your benefits.

CalFresh food stamps aren’t actually stamps. Instead you get an EBT card (like a debit card) that the government deposits money into every month. You can use the card at a lot of different grocery stores and markets. (You can look up the grocery stores available in Los Angeles online.)

You can only buy certain items with your EBT card. Here is a list of some of the items:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Rice, breads, and cereals
  • Dairy products like milk and cheese
  • Seeds and fully grown plants that produce fruits or vegetables

Things like alcohol, cleaning supplies, vitamins or medicine, or hot foods aren’t included.


Your eligibility for CalFresh is primarily determined by your household income. You cannot make more than 200% of the federal poverty level in gross income (before taxes) which you can look up online. If you qualify for this income, you’ll be considered on the basis of your income after taxes, and factors like your resident status, and the amount you receive will depend on your household and if there are seniors or people with disabilities in your household.


How Do I Apply for Food Stamps in Los Angeles?

You can apply for food stamps online, by phone at 866-613-3777, or in person if your local office is open. L.A. County’s DPSS CalFresh website features all three options.

When you submit your application, you will also need to provide proof of your financial situation including income statements. It can be helpful to submit bills as well to show what your costs are for the household. You’ll also need to provide a proof of ID and documentation about your immigration status if you’re not a U.S. citizen (you might still be eligible for benefits).

After your application, you’ll be contacted by DPSS for an interview and finalization of your benefits. Once approved, you’ll be sent your card and will be able to get started.


Other Resources

Immediate Need: If you need immediate help with food, you can visit a local food bank. You can look up some food banks in Los Angeles here, or any in L.A. or California here.

Seniors: If you are a senior or there is a senior in your household, you might also benefit from the Meals on Wheels program, the Great Plates Delivered program, meals distributed during COVID-19 through the Human Services Association – Phillip Murray Housing, or the Home Delivered Meals program that you can reach at 800-510-2020.

Other Meal and Food Resources: For any members of the family, you can find a list of more food programs on the L.A. County Public Health website.

If you’d like to learn more about how to save money and take advantage of all the government benefits that are available to you at this point in time, visit EKS California.