What do CalFresh benefits look like?

When you receive CalFresh, you will be assigned an account and a plastic, debit card called an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Each month, your CalFresh benefits are put into your account and you can use your EBT card at most major grocery stores, convenience stores, markets, and even some farmer markets. The card is used the same way someone would buy food with a bankcard or a credit card. The cost of the food is automatically deducted from your CalFresh account with each purchase, and you can check your account balance by calling the number on the back of your card.

What can I buy with CalFresh benefits?

CalFresh can be used to purchase any food EXCEPT heated foods. Non food items like tobacco, alcohol, pet food, and toiletries are not able to be purchased with CalFresh. For a comprehensive list of permissible foods, please click here.

If there is anyone in your home who is over 60, has a disability, or if you are homeless, you may be able to use your CalFresh at participating restaurants as a part of the Restaurant Meals Program.  For more information about this program or to find a participating restaurant near you, please visit

If you would like information on how to stretch your CalFresh dollars, click here to read “Eating Right When Money’s Tight: Stretching Your Food Stamp Dollars”. The brochure is also available in Spanish and Arabic.

Where can I shop with my EBT card?

To find an authorized CalFresh retailer near you, click here. Next, click on the “Select Location” button and enter a starting location (enter city & state, zip code or a full address). Position your cursor over a map point or use the table below the map to get details.

Local participating grocery stores include but are not limited to: Albertsons, VONs, Sprouts, North Gate, Safe Way and Food 4 Less.

To find local farmers markets that accept CalFesh, click here!

Who Qualifies for CalFresh Benefits?

Eligibility is based on the number of people in your household, your monthly income, and expenses. Even if you are working, you may qualify for CalFresh.

For more information about CalFresh income guidelines and help determining if you could qualify, click here:

Certain individuals may not be eligible for CalFresh benefits; however households should still consider applying as other people living in the household may still qualify. People who are not eligible include:

  • Undocumented residents

Even if you do not think you are eligible for CalFresh, consider applying for others in your household that could benefit.

How Can I Apply for CalFresh?

Click Here to Apply Online

Click Here to Learn How to Apply Over the Phone

Click Here to Learn How to Apply in Person

What Do I Need to Submit My Application?

See the list of verifications attached here in English and Spanish. You may need to provide additional documents depending on your situation, but this list is a great place to start.
Verification List English: Download PDF
Lista de Verificación: Download PDF

Do You Need Help with the Application Process?

The San Diego Hunger Coalition partners with local food banks and community organizations to help people better understand and access CalFresh.  Many of our partners offer multilingual services and can assist you over the phone or at an organization near where you live.

If you need help learning if you could be eligible, applying, or maintaining your CalFresh benefits, please contact 2-1-1 for help locating one of our trained community-based partners.

How Long Can I Receive CalFresh Benefits?

There is no time limit for how long eligible individuals and families can receive assistance. In order to maintain benefits, recipients are required to fill out semi-annual reports and annual recertifications.