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Food Assistance Overview

Published on: 9/19/2019 4:59 PM
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24-Hr Automated InfoLine: 
1-877-96-BENEFITS  or
The CalFresh Program helps single people and families with little or no income to buy food. In Santa Clara County, people authorized to receive CalFresh benefits can buy food by using a plastic card at a grocery store or other authorized place. Most food stores accept the CalFresh benefit card which is used much like a bank card—as good as cash to pay for food.
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The eligibility information listed below will give you an idea of whether or not you may be eligible for CalFresh benefits. However, eligibility for the program can only be fully evaluated by an Eligibility Worker at your local Social Services Agency Intake Office.
  • If you have an immediate need for food,  you may apply for Expedited  Service, you may also want to check out what the Food Bank has to offer.
  • There is No resource limits if your family only applies for CalFresh Program unless you apply for Expedited Services. 


Applications may be submitted to the county either in person, through an authorized representative by fax, mail, or by phone. Applications are available at your local  Social Services Agency Intake Office or refer to the Attachments section below for an electronic copy. 

You may also apply online via the Benefits CalWIN website at If you submit your application online, you will receive an appointment letter for a face-to-face or phone interview.


Basic Eligibility Requirements 
  • CalFresh benefits are provided to eligible, low-income “households.” A household can be one person, a group of people, a family, or any combination of people that buy and prepare food together. Children living with their parents are considered part of the same household until age 22.
  • Most legal noncitizens can get CalFresh benefits. Even if you can’t get CalFresh benefits for yourself, family members born in this country can.
  • Most types of income are counted. Gross income means income before any deductions. Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions. Most households receiving CalWORKs cash aid are eligible for CalFresh. Households without an elderly or disabled member must meet both a gross and a net income test. Households with an elderly or disabled member, only have to meet a net income test.
Effective October 1, 2019  the monthly income limits are:
People in Household Gross Monthly Income (130%) Net Monthly Income Gross Monthly Income (200%)
1 $ 1354 $ 1041 $ 2082
2 $ 1832 $ 1410 $ 2820
3 $ 2311 $ 1778 $ 3556
4 $ 2790 $ 2146 $ 4292
5 $ 3269 $ 2515 $ 5030
6 $ 3748 $ 2883 $ 5766
7 $ 4227 $ 3251 $ 6502
  • 200% is for households eligible for Modified Categorical Eligible (MCE)
  • 130% is for households that are ineligible for MCE
Allowable deductions include:
  • 20% of earned income.
  • A standard deduction based on household size.
  • Medical expenses over $35 a month for elderly or disabled members.
  • Dependent care costs No Limit
  • Legally owed child support.
  • A percentage of shelter costs. 
Maximum Amount of CalFresh That Eligible People May Receive
The table below is in effect  October  1, 2019. It shows the most you could get if you have no income. As your income goes up, the amount of CalFresh benefits you will get goes down.

People in Household Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $ 194
2 $ 355
3 $ 509
4 $ 646
5 $ 768
6 $ 921
7 $ 1018


How to Complete the SAR7

The "How to Complete the Eligibility Status Report (SAR7)" video will provide you with step by step guidance on how to complete the SAR7 report correctly and remind you when and how to turn it in.



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