Are We Getting Extra Food Stamps in California

California’s residents will soon receive a boost in their food stamp benefits. Each person in a household will get an extra $95 per month. This emergency allotment has been approved by the federal government and is a response to the ongoing economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that a family of four could receive up to $380 more per month in food assistance. The extra benefits will be available for the next six months, starting in September.

Emergency Allotments for Food Stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, provides temporary food assistance benefits to low-income individuals and families. The program is funded by the federal government and administered by state agencies. In California, the program is known as CalFresh.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government increased SNAP benefits by providing emergency allotments. These additional benefits were provided to all SNAP recipients, regardless of their income or household size. The emergency allotments were initially authorized in March 2020 and have been extended several times since then. The most recent extension was through September 2023.

The additional benefits are provided as a supplement to the regular SNAP benefit amount. The amount of the emergency allotment varies depending on the household size. Households with one person receive an additional $250 per month. Households with two people receive an additional $400 per month. Households with three people receive an additional $550 per month. Households with four people receive an additional $700 per month. Households with five or more people receive an additional $935 per month.

The emergency allotments are provided on a temporary basis. Once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the additional benefits will stop. However, the state of California has taken steps to ensure that all SNAP recipients continue to receive adequate food assistance. In January 2022, the state increased the maximum SNAP benefit amount by 15%. This increase will help to offset the loss of the emergency allotments when they end.

Additional Resources

SNAP Emergency Allotment Amounts
Household SizeEmergency Allotment Amount
1 person$250 per month
2 people$400 per month
3 people$550 per month
4 people$700 per month
5 or more people$935 per month

Eligibility Expansion for Food Stamps

In California, there are a few ways to qualify for food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), based on various criteria that determine the level of assistance provided.

Who Qualifies for Food Stamps in California?

To be eligible for food stamps in California, you must meet the following general requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident, or have a valid work permit.
  • Have a Social Security Number (SSN) or documentation showing you have applied for one.
  • Meet the income and resource limits set by the state.
  • Reside in California.

Income Limits

Income limits for food stamps eligibility in California are based on gross monthly income before taxes. The limits depend on household size and composition, as outlined in the following table:

Household SizeIncome Limit (Gross Monthly Income)
1 Person$1,933
2 People$2,596
3 People$3,259
4 People$3,922
5 People$4,584
6 People$5,247
Each Additional Member$654

Resources Limits

Resource limits also play a role in determining food stamp eligibility. In California, the general resource limit is $2,500 for households with one or two people, and $4,250 for households with three or more people. Certain resources are excluded from this limit, such as your home, one vehicle, and certain retirement accounts.

Categorical Eligibility

Individuals who receive certain types of government benefits may be eligible for food stamps through categorical eligibility. These benefits include:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids)
  • General Assistance (GA)
  • State Supplemental Payment (SSP)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

If you receive one of these benefits, you may be automatically eligible for food stamps without having to meet the income and resource limits described above.

Application Process

To apply for food stamps in California, you can either submit an online application or visit your local county social services office. You will need to provide personal information, proof of income and resources, and proof of identity and residency. The application process typically takes several weeks, and you will be notified by mail once your application is approved or denied.

For more information and assistance with applying for food stamps in California, you can contact the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) at 1-800-281-4577 or visit their website at

P-EBT Program Expansion

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is taking steps to expand access to food assistance through the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. This expansion aims to address the ongoing challenges many families face in accessing adequate nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increased Benefits

  • Eligible children will receive a one-time increase of $365 in P-EBT benefits.
  • Families with children who were enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP) during the 2020-2021 school year are eligible.

The expansion aims to help families offset the cost of food purchases and ensure that children have access to healthy meals while schools are closed or operating with modified schedules due to the pandemic.

New Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the increased benefits, CDSS is also expanding eligibility for the P-EBT program. The following groups are now eligible:

  • Children under the age of 6 who are enrolled in Head Start or Early Head Start programs.
  • Children who are enrolled in K-12 schools that are participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program.
  • Children who are enrolled in schools that are operating under a hybrid or remote learning model.

CDSS is committed to ensuring that all eligible children in California have access to nutritious food during these challenging times.

How to Apply

  • Eligible families do not need to take any action to receive the increased P-EBT benefits.
  • Benefits will be automatically loaded onto existing P-EBT cards or issued on new cards for families that do not currently have one.

For more information about the P-EBT program expansion, please visit the CDSS website or contact your local county social services office.


March 2021CDSS announces P-EBT program expansion.
April 2021Eligible families begin receiving increased P-EBT benefits.

Well, that’s all the info we have for now on the extra food stamps situation in California. Things can change fast, so be sure to check back in with us again soon for the latest updates. In the meantime, if you have any questions or just want to chat, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks for reading, and see you next time!