Application Process

The application process has 3 steps. 

1. Fill out an application

You can complete the application at your local county office or online at You can also apply by phone at 1-877-847-3663.

2. Have a phone or in-person interview

In most cases, the county has 30 days after you turn in your application to determine if you are eligible for CalFresh. During the 30 days, the county will interview you. The interview will be either over the phone or in person. During the interview, the county will go over your application with you.

3. Submit verifications

The county may ask you for “verifications” or proof of income and certain costs. You will have 10 days to turn in the documents. Here are some examples of items the county may ask you for:

Even if you do not have everything on the list, you should still apply. The county may be able to help you get the information.

If approved for CalFresh, you will receive an EBT card. You can use an EBT card like a debit card at most places to purchase food and even seeds to plant your own food. For more information, see the section on using CalFresh

Questions about the Application Process

No. Applying for CalFresh is free and does not require a credit check. 

No. You can apply for and receive CalFresh benefits without ever going into the CalFresh office. You can apply online at, complete your interview over the phone, and have your EBT card mailed to you.

No. You can apply for CalFresh now. You can update your income with the county office once the unemployment office lets you know how much you’ll be receiving & when.

Contact your local county office.

You can submit documents to the county office online here. 

Let the county know. The county office can help you get the needed documents or tell you if there are other ways to verify the information. Sometimes, you can have someone else verify the information or submit a signed note instead.

The county office will send you a letter in the mail within 30 days of your application. If you are approved you’ll receive your EBT card and a code to set up your PIN separately, in the mail. 

If you think the county made a mistake, you can fill out the form on the back of the denial notice to request an appeal. You can also appeal online here.

Sometimes, yes. If you have a disability or are 60 years or older you can deduct medical expenses to increase your CalFresh amount. Let your county know about your medical expenses. You might have to submit documentation of these expenses.

Click here to see all the FAQ about CalFresh.