THE LATEST ON COVID-19:

During the pandemic, if you receive CalFresh you will be given the maximum amount available. You’ll get your extra amount deposited into your account the following month. You can text 2-1-1 for more information on COVID-19 specific changes to benefits.

If you need immediate food, you can request expedited service for your benefits or find an Orange County food bank.

CalFresh Orange County Food Stamps 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. The Orange County food stamps office is the County of Orange Social Services Agency.

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 where you can use your benefits in Orange County 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.

Qualifications

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 other factors.

If you’re signing up in Orange County, you’ll need to be a resident of Orange County and a U.S. citizen or an approved non-citizen.

The amount you receive will depend on your household and if there are seniors or people with disabilities in your household. Your determination will ultimately be decided by an Eligibility Technician through the Orange County SSA.

 

How Do I Apply for Food Stamps?

You can apply online, by phone, mail, fax, or in person. In Orange County, you can still visit Social Services Agency offices, which you can find out more about on the SSA website. SSA directs you to apply at mybenefitscalwin.org if you want to apply online, but you can also go to getcalfresh.org. You can find your local office with the SSA locator tool.

When you submit your application, you will need to provide documentation about your financial situation and household. This includes things like your resident status and income, and it can be helpful to include bills, such as utilities, rent, and medical bills.

After you submit, you’ll need to complete an interview either on the phone or in person. If you’re approved, you’ll get your EBT card.

You can call 800-281-9799 to get started as well.

Other Resources

Immediate Need: If you need immediate help with food, you can visit a local food bank that you can look up here.

Seniors: If you are a senior or there are seniors in your household, you may benefit from

Senior Food Boxes or the Food for Seniors program.

There are also community resources like a mobile food trolley that serves low income families, Farm 2 Family fresh farm deliveries, and food donations that you can learn about here.

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.