CalFresh expansion brings more food benefits to low-income seniors, people with disabilities

Published May 31, 2019

Starting June 1, older adults and people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, may be newly eligible for CalFresh food benefits.

CalFresh provides monthly food benefits for individuals and families with low incomes, stretching dollars for nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. Food benefits are issued monthly to eligible households via an electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, card. The EBT card can be used at participating grocery stores and farmers markets, much like a debit card. CalFresh benefits were previously known as food stamps. 

As of June 1, thanks to a new state law, people receiving Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment can apply to receive CalFresh benefits with assistance from the Placer County Health and Human Services Department. There will be no change to SSI/SSP monthly benefit amounts.

Currently, approximately 7,300 Placer County individuals and families receive CalFresh benefits. There are about 5,600 people countywide receiving SSI, 2,200 of whom are expected to be newly eligible for CalFresh benefits with the expansion. 

“This change is an important step in helping reduce hunger and improve nutrition for the most vulnerable in our community,” said Amanda Sharp, the county’s Human Services director. “CalFresh also generates economic activity in our local supermarkets, farmers markets and more.”

Every $5 of CalFresh dollars spent creates an estimated $9 in local economic activity. The amount of CalFresh food benefits a household receives is based on household size, income and monthly expenses, such as housing, utilities and medical costs. The average amount nationally for an older adult or person with disability is $105 – $110 per month, with a maximum of $192 monthly. 

“Our community is aging rapidly and our senior population is growing,” said Seniors First Executive Director Stephanie Vierstra. “Food insecurity is a major issue and the CalFresh expansion will help us better ensure that our elderly population is fed and healthy.” 

Seniors First is one of numerous community partners that can assist residents with CalFresh applications. 

There are four ways to apply for CalFresh food benefits: 

  • Online: Visit
  • By phone: Toll free at 1-888-385-5160, or call our Rocklin (916-784-6000) or Auburn (530-889-7610) offices. 
  • In person: Visit one of our county Human Services offices: 

Auburn - 11542 B Ave., Auburn (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Rocklin - 1000 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Tahoe - 5225 N. Lake Blvd., Carnelian Bay (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m)

Or receive help at one of several participating community organizations

Applicants will then be interviewed and their eligibility determined within 30 days. Language services and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available.

Access a fact sheet with more information here