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New CalFresh Food Benefits Available to Seniors and People with Disabilities

Post Date:05/02/2019 10:53 AM





FRESNO, CA - The Fresno County Department of Social Services is pleased to announce the expansion of the CalFresh food assistance program to serve individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income/Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits beginning June 1, 2019. There will be no change or reduction to their SSI/SSP benefits. This announcement marks the kick-off of the annual CalFresh Awareness Month in May.

“CalFresh Benefits are an important subsidy to the low income households in our community. The addition of this benefit will improve the access to nutritious food and help offset the ever increasing cost of living in Fresno County” Delfino Neira Director Fresno County Department of Social Services.

CalFresh food benefits stretch household budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, including more fruit, vegetables, and other healthy options. CalFresh food benefits are delivered on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) debit card and can be used at any grocery store and farmers markets that accept EBT.   Currently in Fresno County, the majority of assistance payments go to the working poor families or individuals with very low income. This change will allow seniors and the disabled to receive CalFresh Benefits.

As a result of new legislation, the Fresno County Department of Social Services is prepared to help older adults and individuals with disabilities who receive SSI apply for CalFresh food assistance.   DSS anticipates that there will be a high volume of individuals applying who currently are on SSI/SSP. The department intends to make every effort to provide timely service.

Households that already receive CalFresh and currently have a member of their household that has been excluded because they receive SSI do not need to re-apply or contact the county. Counties will contact those households at their next report date or recertification.

“Our Agency is excited to serve this population and we are motivated to promote this huge implementation for seniors and disabled individuals. In addition, we have worked together with other agencies, advocates and partners to create strategic ways to reach this population and make them aware we are here to help them with the application process. We are here to work collaboratively with Fresno DSS to gain as much knowledge about this policy change in California, create a streamline process and assist this population with the best success possible.” Evette Tovar-Lugo from Central California Food Bank

There are three ways to connect with your county human services agency and apply:

The CalFresh application process includes:

  1. Complete an application –on-line, or in person.
  2. Provide proof of income and expenses, if needed.
  3. Complete an interview – by phone or in person.
  4. Counties will determine eligibility in 30 days or less (if the applicant has very little to no resources when they apply, eligibility can be expedited).
  5. County provides an EBT debit card.

Reasonable accommodations and services in multiple languages are available through county social service departments.

Additional state-funded nutrition benefits may be available to households currently participating in CalFresh who experience a reduction or loss in CalFresh benefits due to the state now counting SSI income in the CalFresh case.  As always, clients can contact the Fresno County Department of Social Services to ask questions or report changes at any time.

Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based program that provides a monthly benefit to individuals who are blind, elderly, or have a disability. For disabled people who have never worked, or those who have not worked enough in the recent years to qualify for Social Security disability insurance, Supplemental Security Income may be the only program available to them. Social Security Administration reports 42,885 individuals are receiving SSI/SSP benefits in Fresno County.

For more information, contact the Department of Social Services at (855) 832-8082    

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