CalFresh Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many CalFresh benefits can you receive?
    Your CalFresh allotment depends on the size of your household. The maximum allotment for one person is $189 per month. The maximum allotment for a four person family is $632. In California, the average amount of benefits per person is approximately $150 per month, and the average amount of benefits per household is $330.
  • How much money can you have and still get CalFresh?
    As of February 1, 2011 your resources (bank accounts, cash on hand, etc.) are not considered in the eligibility determination. The resources of a household are looked at when screening for emergency appointments only. Your home (that you live in) and personal belongings, including the vehicles you own, do not count if within the 130 percent Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for most households or within 200 percent of FPL for households with an elderly or disabled member. 

    A household's gross monthly income (prior to deductions) cannot exceed 130 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines. For a household of three, this is $2,116. A household’s net monthly income cannot exceed 100 percent of the Federal poverty guidelines. For a household of three, this is $1,628.

If the household exceeds the income limits then it will have a $2,000 resource limit or a limit of $3,250 if the household has an elderly or disabled member. 

The chart below is effective 11/1/2013 for the Thrifty Food Plan and FPL (Federal Poverty Level) income limit amounts based on household size.


Household Size


 Thrifty Food Plan

Gross Income Test Limit / IRT for SAR Households (130% FPL)


Net Income Test Limit (100% FPL)

Gross Income MCE

Elderly/Disabled Households (200% FPL)



















































Each additional member


+ $436



  • What can you purchase with CalFresh?
    CalFresh can be used to buy any food or food product that is produced for human consumption. The exception to this is hot foods or lunch counter items prepared or heated in the store. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, vitamins or medicines, and pet food are also excluded. Seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food can also be purchased with CalFresh. CalFresh benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items like soap, toilet paper or shampoo. 
  • Can single people living alone receive CalFresh?
    Yes. Being married and/or having children are not requirements. 
  • Can you receive aid from other programs and receive CalFresh?
    Yes. In California, 60 percent of the CalFresh households also receive cash aid from other public assistance programs. There is a restriction that a household cannot participate simultaneously in the CalFresh Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. Also, in California, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/ SSP) Program recipients do not qualify for CalFresh.
  •  Can a homeless person receive CalFresh?
    Yes. A person must reside in the county in which an application is filed. Residence in a permanent dwelling or a fixed mailing address is not required.
  • Where can I apply for CalFresh?
    In Contra Costa County you can apply at the Employment & Human Services Department office locations:

East County

Central County

West County

4545 Delta Fair Boulevard

400 Ellinwood Way
Pleasant Hill

151 Linus Pauling Drive

151 Sand Creek Road 


1305 Macdonald Avenue

         All office hours 8:00AM - 12:00PM and 12:30 - 5:00PM          Monday - Friday
You can access the online application from any computer 24 hours 7 days a week at

For questions and assistance, please call the 24 hour toll free automated information line:
(877) 505-4630.