CalFresh Frequently Asked Questions

Your CalFresh allotment depends on the size of your household. The maximum allotment for one person is $194 per month. The maximum allotment for a four person family is $649. In California, the average amount of benefits per person is approximately $150 per month, and the average amount of benefits per household is $330.

The chart below is effective 10/1/2014 for the Thrifty Food Plan maximum allotment amounts based on household size.

Household Size Thrifty Food Plan
1 $194
2 $357
3 $511
4 $649
5 $771
6 $925
7 $1,022
8 $1,169
Each additional member +$146
As of February 1, 2011 your resources (bank accounts, cash on hand, etc.) are not considered in the eligibility determination. The resources of a household are looked at when screening for emergency appointments only. Your home (that you live in) and personal belongings, including the vehicles you own, do not count if within the 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for most households.

Household gross monthly income (prior to deductions) cannot exceed 200 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines. For a household of three, this is $3,300. A household’s net monthly income cannot exceed 100 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines. For a household of three, this is $1,650.

If the household exceeds the income limits then it will have a $2,000 resource limit or a limit of $3,250 if the household has an elderly or disabled member.

What can you purchase with CalFresh?
CalFresh can be used to buy any food or food product that is produced for human consumption. The exception to this is hot foods or lunch counter items prepared or heated in the store. CalFresh benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items like soap, toilet paper or shampoo. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, vitamins or medicines, and pet food are also excluded. You can, however, use your CalFresh benefits to purchase seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food.

Yes. Being married and/or having children are not requirements.
Yes. In California, 60 percent of the CalFresh households also receive cash aid from other public assistance programs. There is a restriction that a household cannot participate simultaneously in the CalFresh Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. Also, in California, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/ SSP) Program recipients do not qualify for CalFresh.
Yes. A person must reside in the county in which an application is filed. Residence in a permanent dwelling or a fixed mailing address is not required.
In Contra Costa County you can apply at the Employment & Human Services Department office locations:

East County Central County West County
4545 Delta Fair Boulevard
400 Ellinwood Way
Pleasant Hill
151 Linus Pauling Drive

151 Sand Creek Road

1305 Macdonald Avenue

     All office hours 8:00AM – 5:00PM    Monday – Friday

You can access the online application from any computer 24 hours 7 days a week at

For questions and assistance, please call the 24 hour toll free automated information line:
(877) 505-4630.