CalFresh Student Eligibility Rule
College students age 18 to 49 who are enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education, are only eligible to participate in CalFresh if the student meets an exemption. Exemptions from the CalFresh student eligibility rule include but are not limited to working an average of 20 hours per week or a total of 80 hours per month, responsible for the care of a child under the age of 6, responsible for the care of a child under age 12 without adequate childcare or as a single parent, disabled, physically or mentally unable to work, enrolled in a Program that Increases Employability (LIPE), or approved for a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funded benefit such as CalWORKs, Tribal TANF, Cal Grant A or B, or any other program funded by TANF.
In response to The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, the CalFresh student eligibility rule is now temporarily expanded to include students who either:
• Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work study during the regular school year, as determined by the institution of higher education, or
• Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero dollars in the current academic year determined in accordance with part F of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
Click here(XLSX, 441KB) for a list or approved LIPEs.
If you are a student who meets an exemption, you are encouraged to apply for CalFresh. See below for Methods to Apply.
If the students are already part of a CalFresh household, the CalFresh household must request to add the student to the case.
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)
P-EBT is a federal food program that gives eligible families with young and/or school-aged children food benefits to replace meals lost at childcare or school because of the pandemic. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), received approval to operate the program in response to COVID-19 related school and childcare closures.
You do not need to apply. P-EBT cards are automatically sent to eligible children based on information from other programs, including CalFresh Food benefits and free or reduced-price school meals.
Each eligible child receives their own reloadable card. Families with multiple eligible children receive multiple cards. The cards may not arrive at the same time.
For information about P-EBT eligibility, card mailings, and benefit amounts, go to the P-EBT website at https://ca.p-ebt.org/.
Note: The County cannot expedite the process
Families that have already received a P-EBT card and need assistance with PIN set-up, need to request a replacement card, or did not receive their card in the mail as expected, may contact the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677 (M-F, 6am to 8pm) for help.
Families that have not received a P-EBT card but have questions about their P-EBT eligibility can also contact the P-EBT Helpline at (877) 328-9677 (M-F, 6am to 8pm).
More information: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/home/pandemic-ebt
CalFresh is proud to play a critical role in reducing hunger and poverty and improving health by providing nutrition assistance to millions of low-income households through an array of vital services. CalFresh has the power to reduce hunger, support health, expand opportunity – and even respond to disasters. CalFresh provides monthly benefits to help households purchase the food they need if eligible. CalFresh benefits cannot be used to buy alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products. In addition, they may also be used to buy seeds and plants to grow food for the family to eat.
We have refreshed our CalFresh logo and have launched a family of CalFresh brands to unite each of our services across food benefits, nutrition education, employment and training, and disaster response under one shared identity.
The shared CalFresh vision of California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is for all people in California to have better access to better food for better living.
CDSS has launched a healthy living website: http://calfresh.dss.ca.gov/healthyliving/Home in partnership with state, county, community partners and local offices to promote healthy eating, physical activity, and food security.
How to apply for CalFresh
Who Is Eligible?
A CalFresh Household may be a family, an individual, or any combination that purchases food and prepares meals together. A child living with parents cannot be a separate household until age 22.
Citizens of the United States or non-citizens who are legally residing in the U.S. are eligible to apply for CalFresh. Non-citizen parents may be able to receive benefits for their children who are citizens. Some income and property limits are reviewed to see if the CalFresh household is eligible. Property used as a home is exempt from property limits.
The benefits you may be eligible to receive depend on your monthly income and household size.
Minimum requirements to file a CalFresh application
Methods to Apply
- Apply online 24-hours a day, 7 days a week by going to our Benefits CalWIN website, www.MyBenefitsCalWIN.org. (See Below)
- Applications can be mailed to: P O Box 1912, Fresno CA 93718
- By faxing in your application to (559) 600-7706
- Apply by visiting one of our locations
- Printable CalFresh Applications (CF 285)
My Benefits Calwin
This can be set up by using a computer or downloading the MyBenefits CalWIN mobile app (Available for iOS and Android)
With mybenefitscalwin.org, you do not have to visit the office. You can manage your benefits online. Get answers to your basic questions anytime, anywhere
- Apply or check eligibility
- View your current and historical program status
- Monitor benefit amounts and check EBT balances
- Manage your periodic reports and renewal forms online
- Submit periodic reports
- Communicate with a worker
How to Create a BCW Account
Step 1: Select create an account
Step 2: Select County of residence
Step 3: Enter your personal information
Step 4: Enter user name/password, select security questions, and sign-in picture
Step 5: Enter your detail information (email address and language) Step 6: You will be asked if you want to view your case information *if Yes, enter your social security number and birthdate
Step 7: Complete the confirmation process
Step 8: An email confirmation will be sent to the email address provided
Step 9: Check your email
Step 10: Confirm account set-up
Step 11: Return to My Benefits CalWIN
Expedited Service CalFresh (ES)
Immediate food assistance may be available for certain eligible applicants. ES must be processed within three (3) days of your CalFresh application date.
You may be eligible for ES if you meet one of the following requirements:
- Your household's monthly gross income (before taxes) is less than $150 and liquid resources are $100 or less.
- Your household's combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the combined monthly rent / mortgage and utility expenses.
- You are a migrant or seasonal worker with $100 or less in liquid resources.
All CalFresh applications are automatically screened for ES.
Review your Information using DSS PASS
Access DSS Pass at: DSSPASS.fresnocountyca.gov
Clients can simply visit the site, create an account, and conveniently access self-service options such as:
- View Case Information
- View, download, and print Income Grant Verification
- Check upcoming appointments
- Upload documents/verifications
- View community resources
What you will need to create an account:
- Case number
- Date of Birth of the Primary Applicant
- Social Security Number or ID Number from your Benefits Identification Card
- Valid Email Address
Note: Fresno County DSS employees and their relatives will not be able to create an account
DSS PASS Resources/Links:
Client and Staff You Tube Informational Videos
Client Video 1: Website Overview
Client Video 2: How to Create A DSS PASS Account
Client Video 3: How to Navigate the DSS PASS Website
Client Video 4: How to Reset Your DSS PASS Password
Client Video 5: Reset Your DSS PASS Password When You Can't Access Your Email
Staff Video 1: ICMS Overview
Need more assistance? Speak with a Worker!
Call us toll free at 1-855-832-8082, Monday through Friday between 7:30 am-4:30 pm.
Reasonable Accommodations and Interpreting Services
Reasonable accommodations and services in multiple languages are available at no cost to you. If you require a reasonable accommodation or an interpreter, please let a worker know.
California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
The State of California provides state-funded CalFresh food benefits through CFAP for qualified non-citizens who do not qualify for federal benefits. CFAP benefits are issued through the same case as federal CalFresh benefits.
Great News! Soon all California immigrants age 55 years or older will be able to get CFAP food benefits regardless of immigration status as long as they meet all of the other CalFresh eligibility criteria. With this change, all Californians age 55 years or older, regardless of their immigration status, will be able to receive a monthly food benefit to help meet their basic needs.
Important! This benefit is not available yet and an implementation date has not been established yet. The CDSS webpage will be updated once an implementation date for the CFAP expansion has been confirmed. Visit the CDSS web page for more information on CFAP expansion at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/calfresh/california-food-assistance-program. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) would like you to take a survey to ask you some questions about the ways you are managing to meet your food needs. The survey asks questions about the food situation in your home. The CDSS is conducting this survey to collect information and stories from individuals who may be impacted by the expansion of the CFAP food benefits. The best person to answer would be an adult who shops for food or participates in meal preparation. The survey is available in both English and Spanish and will take between 5-10 minutes to complete.
Please click HERE to begin the survey.
If the link does not work, please copy and paste the following URL into your browser: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7016915/CFAP-Expansion-Participant-Stories-Survey
Please feel free to forward this survey to anyone who might be interested in participating. For more information contact CFAP@dss.ca.gov.
Thank you for your participation!
The County of Fresno Department of Social Services’ response to COVID-19 Coronavirus
The County of Fresno Department of Social Services (DSS) is committed to assisting adults, children, and families to achieve health, safety and self-sufficiency through a diverse range of programs and partnerships.
DSS has planned, prepared and is responding by adhering to Federal/State/Local public health guidance to help protect you and prevent exposures to COVID-19 Coronavirus. We will continue business operations to meet our goals of providing excellent service delivery to the community. For your safety, we are strongly encouraging you to utilize the resources we have available as many of the services and benefits can be obtained without coming into the office.
Fresno County Department of Social Services is promoting online, phone, mail, FAX and internet services. Below are the options you may utilize to access services.
Need to reschedule your appointment or missed your appointment? Call: 1-855-832-8082
- Hours of operations: Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
24/7 Automated System: 1-877-600-1377
- Case and Benefit Information
Pick up your phone and dial 2-1-1 to be automatically connected.
2-1-1 Fresno County is an Information and Referral Helpline that gets people connected with agencies and/or organizations that can help them in their time of need.
2-1-1 Fresno County is a free and confidential service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year in over 170 languages.
2-1-1 Fresno County is also a Disaster and Emergency Response Center. If you are outside Fresno County and need assistance, please go to www.211.org to locate a 2-1-1 for your area.
CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program
The CalFresh Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) allows certain CalFresh Food recipients who are at a high risk for chronic hunger the option to use their CalFresh Food benefits to buy prepared meals at approved participating restaurant vendors. The RMP is available to current CalFresh Food recipients who are:
- older adults aged 60 or older
- people with disabilities
- The spouse of an individual that belongs to one of the above categories
- People experiencing homelessness
The CalFresh RMP is available statewide. Go to https://cdss.ca.gov/rmp to find participating RMP restaurant vendors and for more information about CalFresh RMP.
Look for the following CalFresh RMP sign on the participating restaurant’s window.
Are you a restaurant owner interested in participating in the CalFresh RMP?
Go to https://cdss.ca.gov/rmp/partners for details.
If you have any questions about becoming a CalFresh RMP vendor, please contact California Department of Social Services CalFresh RMP Unit at CDSSRMP@dss.ca.gov.
Central California Food Bank
Central California Food Bank and its partners provide services in the community and are dedicated to ending hunger in Central California. You can get information regarding: Services, locations of fresh produce and the locations of all food distributions by visiting their website at
For additional Farmers Markets, click here.