CA Lifts Ban on CalFresh for People with Prior Drug Felony Conviction

In 2014, after years of campaigning by anti-hunger advocates, California lifted its lifetime ban from CalFresh and CalWORKS for people with a prior drug felony conviction. Building upon statewide momentum, SDHC has continued to coordinate and facilitate statewide calls with other advocates to ensure that the lifting of the ban is uniformly implemented across the state.  

  Albert Garcia and Ismael Lopez from the County Health and Human Service Agency present on changes to eligibility guidelines as result of lifted drug felony ban at February 26  th   CalFresh Task Force meeting.  (Photo by Kimberly Powers)

Albert Garcia and Ismael Lopez from the County Health and Human Service Agency present on changes to eligibility guidelines as result of lifted drug felony ban at February 26th CalFresh Task Force meeting. (Photo by Kimberly Powers)

 On the ground here in San Diego, the Hunger Coalition is working with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and community agencies to ensure the legislation is implemented correctly, and build awareness among organizations and community members of the change in guidelines and how it affects them. 

To date, SDHC has maintained regular communication with HHSA to ensure implementation timeframes are met as dictated by the legislation. We have additionally equipped community agencies with updated program guidelines, language, and outreach materials to get the word out to newly eligible residents.  

Finally, the Hunger Coalition requested that HHSA review previously denied cases over the past 12 months for individuals who would now be eligible.  As a direct result of this effort, 186 individuals received a letter from HHSA letting them know that due to recent program changes, they may now be eligible for CalFresh benefits.  To date, San Diego is the only county in California to take this proactive outreach measure.  Thank you HHSA! 

 SDHC will continue to closely monitor implementation and work with HHSA to ensure smooth implementation of the recent legislation.