CalFresh Eligibility

A "household" is a person living alone or living with others or group of people who live together and normally buy and prepare their food together. Parents and their children under age 22 who live together are considered to be a household.

There are some eligibility requirements. Generally, you may be eligible to CalFresh benefits if you:

  • receive CalWORKs or General Relief.
  • have limited income or no income.
  • have limited property.
  • are a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident.
  • are able-bodied, do not have children under age 18, and are working 20 hours per week or are in the Workfare program.

Certain groups of people may not receive CalFresh benefits:

  • people who are neither U.S. citizens nor legal residents.

If you aren't exempt from working or are working at least 20 hours a week, or are participating in a Workfare program, you must participate in the CalFresh Employment and Training Program. You will gain valuable skills in job search, vocational training, remedial education, substance abuse treatment, and work experience. Your Eligibility Worker will explain the program to you.


You must meet certain income qualifications to receive CalFresh benefits:


Gross Income is all income from any source that isn't exempt. Your Eligibility Worker will explain the exemptions to you.

Some examples of excluded income include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Any college work study programs.
  • Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA).
  • Independent Living Program (ILP).
  • Relocation Assistance Benefit.
  • Any award or scholarship provided to or on behalf of a dependent child based on the child's academic or extracurricular  activity.

This chart shows the maximum gross income limit per month allowed for a household of a given size.

Number of People in Household

130 % Federal Poverty Level
Maximum Gross Income Allowed

Gross Monthly Income Eligibility Standards for Modified Categorical Eligibility (MCE)/Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) 200% Federal Poverty Level Maximum Gross Income Allowed

























Each Additional Member



For most households, your monthly gross income (before payroll deductions) must be at or below 200% Federal Poverty Level (FPL)  for your household size.

When there is a disqualified member in a household, that household will be subject to the 130% FPL and resource requirement.


After it is determined that your household’s gross income doesn’t exceed the allowable Gross Income, your Eligibility Worker will determine your adjusted Net Income. This is done by subtracting certain work expenses and other allowable deductions from your monthly Gross income. The result of the subtraction is your Adjusted Net Income, and it's used to determine the dollar value of the CalFresh benefits you can get each month.

Number of People in Household

Maximum Net Income Allowed

















Each Additional Member




The 130% gross income limit is not used to determine eligibility for households that contain an elderly and/or disabled household member. Instead, the net monthly income limit is used to determine eligibility.


Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.

NOTE: Effective February 1, 2011, the CalFresh resource rules have changed and the value of all resources is no longer considered when determining eligibility for CalFresh benefits provided a household has received the "Family Planning - Pub 275" brochure.

Resources consist of bank accounts, stock and bonds, real estate (home or land) autos, cash on hand, retirement accounts, etc. Verification  of your resources may or may not be required.  Resources will continue to be considered if you are applying for cash aid, Medi-Cal, and/or Expedited Services for CalFresh benefits and must continue to be reported for that purpose. The County will let you know if you need to provide any verification.

Income from resources, such as interest, dividends, royalties and rental income will continue to be considered in your CalFresh budget and you must continue to report this kind of income.  The County will let you know if the resources need be reported and verified for the purpose of determining whether there is income to be budgeted on the CalFresh case.


You may be eligible to get CalFresh benefits in the same day or within 3 days if one of the following applies:

  • Your gross income is less than $150 per month and the money you have on hand or in the bank is less than $100, or
  • You are a migrant or seasonal farm worker and destitute, or
  • Your household’s combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the household’s monthly rent or mortgage and utility costs.

To apply for emergency CalFresh benefits, you only need to complete an application providing your name, address, and signature. The Eligibility Worker will ask for your proof of identity, residence, income, and resources, but you cannot be denied for not having these documents with you.


Only U.S. citizens and legal residents may get CalFresh benefit.  This means that:

  • If there are citizens, legal residents, and non-legal residents living, shopping, and preparing food together in your household, only the citizens and legal residents may receive CalFresh benefits. To determine eligibility, ALL household income, including that for the non-legal residents, will be considered, but the income will be prorated by the number of eligible people in the home.
  • If you are a non-legal resident with a citizen or legal resident child, you may apply for your children, but only the citizen/s and legal resident/s in the household may get CalFresh benefits.


Effective May 1, 2011, all CalFresh households can apply for Restoration of benefits when their case gets terminated due to incomplete or non-receipt of SAR, during the calendar month following the discontinuance date. For more information about restoration see this flyer.

After your application is approved, you will need to report your household changes (household member, income, expense, etc.) on a Semi-Annual Report (SAR 7).  You will receive the report in the mail.  You must submit this report for ongoing CalFresh eligibility determination.  You can submit SAR 7 online via YBN.  Also, you will need to comply with a yearly Re-evaluation for ongoing CalFresh eligibility determination.