The Federal Food Stamp program provides monthly benefits to assist low-income households to purchase the food they need, through normal channels of trade. In this way the Food Stamp Program can help support good nutrition. The program is jointly managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is the only nationwide program available to all who need it, if eligible, regardless of age or family arrangement. Benefits are based on household income, with deductions allowed for certain housing costs. To learn how to apply for benefits click here
Food Stamp Benefits are not coupons anymore. Now you shop for your family's nutritional needs with an Electronic Benefit Transfer, or EBT, which is a plastic debit card, making the distribution of federal food stamp benefits faster and easier. By using the EBT card, cardholders can access food benefits at retailers authorized by USDA to accept food stamp benefits. Some Farmer's Markets now accept EBT cards.
A Food Stamp family may buy any food or food products intended for people to eat. Food Stamp benefits may not be used to buy alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot foods and hot food products prepared to eat right away. They may also buy seeds and plants to grow food to eat for their family.
Food Stamp benefits can provide an important "safety net" to families who have been discontinued from the CalWORKs program. Families may still qualify for benefits even if someone in the home is employed full time. An Eligibility Worker can determine eligibility for continued benefits.
A Food Stamp 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.
Who Is Eligible
Citizens of the United States or Non-citizens who are legally residing in the U.S. are eligible to apply for Food Stamps. 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 Food Stamp family is eligible. Property used as a home is exempt from property limits.