BenefitsCal: the new online CalFresh customer portal
- On September 27, 2021 a new customer portal went live for Humboldt County Social Services benefit customers at BenefitsCal.com.
- BenefitsCal will have improved usability and will eventually become the site that all 58 counties in California will use.
- This is replacing C4Yourself.com. C4Yourself customers received email communications in July 2021 about the change that will happen.
- BenefitsCal has a series of YouTube videos with great information.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Do I need to do anything? In September 2021, you'll be invited to log in to BenefitsCal. You'll use your existing C4Yourself username and password to get started.
- How will I log into BenefitsCal? You will use your existing C4Yourself username and password to log into BenefitsCal. Customers who don’t currently have an email address should be ready to provide an email address for BenefitsCal.
- I use the C4Yourself mobile app. Will there be an app for BenefitsCal? No, there will be no mobile app for BenefitsCal, but that’s ok. BenefitsCal was designed specifically to work great on mobile devices.
- How will I know when I need to log into BenefitsCal? C4Yourself became BenefitsCal on September 27, 2021. On and after September 27, users who attempt to access C4Yourself.org will be redirected to BenefitsCal. Users of C4Yourself mobile app will be nudged to log into BenefitsCal. To see more project updates, visit BenefitsCal.com.
- Will I have to reapply for benefits in September? There will be no changes to your existing case or benefits as a result of the BenefitsCal release. Starting in September, the next time you are asked to renew your benefits you will do so in BenefitsCal.
- What if my renewal is before BenefitsCal becomes active on September 27, 2021--should I wait to do my renewal? No, if your renewal date is before BenefitsCal goes live, use C4Yourself to keep your benefits going. That information will follow you when you log into BenefitsCal in September.
- What if I applied on the getcalfresh.org website? You can still apply via getcalfresh.org until 2023, and you can also fill out the SAR7 semi-annual report there too, and it will send directly to Humboldt County DHHS. Think of getcalfresh.org as an application tool, and BenefitsCal as the maintenance tool for checking in on your account over time (or after September 27, 2021, you can do all of it on BenefitsCal).
- What if I do not have a mailing address? Please note that there is an error in BenefitsCal, and that you CANNOT have mail delivered to the Humboldt County DHHS office. Please do not select that option, because the county office does NOT offer general mail service at any of its office locations. This error should be fixed soon, but no date has been given for when. Instead, here is the workaround: When you select "YES" for homeless, please select "YES" for "able to get mail at your current address". This allows you to enter the mailing address of General Delivery Eureka CA 95501, for clients without a regular mailing address in the Eureka area. If/when applications come over blank or listing the Humboldt County DHHS office as an address, Humboldt County DHHS will default to General Delivery Eureka.
Contacting the local Humboldt County DHHS Call Center:
- Starting 12/1/2021, the local DHHS Call Center will be closed on Wednesdays. This is a temporary change until further notice.
- These changes are happening to help balance current staffing level and process the increasing number of applications for various DHHS programs.
- As of late January 2022, the call queue will cap out at 45 people waiting for assistance. The 46th caller will be told that DHHS is unable to take the call and courtesy callbacks are included in the queue count.
- There will be no courtesy call back option on Mondays. There will only be an option to wait on hold on Mondays. Any calls held over from Friday will still be called.
- Thank you for your patience with our partners at the DHHS Call Center, who are dealing with very high call volumes, an unprecedented quantity of casework, and short staffing. Please consider calling Food for People's CalFresh phone line for questions our staff can help solve for you (such as applying for CalFresh, submitting reporting paperwork to the County, and many other questions.
- The Eureka Call Center hours are 7:30am-5:30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
- Lobby hours at 929 Koster St., Eureka will remain 7:30am-5:30pm Monday through Friday.
- Clients may still call the Eureka Call Center and use the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to access account balances and request replacement forms such as the Semi-Annual report (SAR7) or Transitional Medi-Cal Program (TMC) report. You can also call the number on the back of the EBT card to get account balances.
- You can also use the new BenefitsCal portal to review case status and turn in items.
EBT scam notifications:
- As of January 31, 2022, the statewide CalFresh system is set up to start sending notifications out to customers about potential EBT scams MONTHLY. (EBT refers to the actual debit card (Electronic Benefits Transfer) that you use for spending your CalFresh)
- This is being sent to customers who opted into text or email notification messages, but the message isn't clear if you are a victim of a scam, or just alerting you to the threat of scams.
- Please know that it does not mean that there is a scam-just that they are happening in California and to always be careful to protect your information.
- Never give your PIN or card to others, and do not write your PIN on your card.
- The county will never ask for your PIN or full card number.
CalFresh applications in the mail for Medi-Cal households:
- Since early 2022 in Humboldt County, when a Medi-Cal household is considered potentially eligible (based on income) for CalFresh, a pre-filled out CalFresh application will be mailed to the household- for the household's convenience.
- There will not be a cover letter explaining this--just a pre-filled out application to review, sign, and return.
- This may seem confusing at first, since the household did not request the CalFresh application.
- These applications are optional. Households can apply if they like, but nothing will happen to the Medi-Cal if the choice is not to apply for CalFresh.
Automatic EBT Card Replacement (for older cards)
- The State is replacing all EBT cards that were issued prior to October 2018.
- The State has begun mailing these out February through March 2022.
- Why? The State is making security improvements (turning on "CVV functionality") to older EBT cards, to address the increase in EBT theft that has occured over the past few months.
- All EBT cards that have been issued since October 2018 already have the CVV functionality, however cards cards issued prior to that time need to be replaced.
- This added security functionality will add a layer of security that will protect folks from scamming thefts.
- What is being mailed? If you receive a replacement card in the mail, it will have a letter attached that says: Dear EBT Cardholder, You are getting a new EBT card that is more secure. Please begin using your new card right away. Your old card will stop working within the next 30 days. Your PIN and benefits from your old card will not change. If you have any questions, please call EBT customer service at (877) 328-9677.
- The old cards will be deactivated when the new card is activiated.
- The old cards will no longer work after April 2022, so please switch to the new cards ASAP!
Medi-Cal application mailings:
- Did you receive a pre-filled out Medi-Cal packet after switching from CoveredCA to Medicare?
- CoveredCA is triggered when a person turns 65, because they are switching over to Medicare.
- Since the person was eligible to CoveredCA before, they may be eligible to have the county cover part B of their Medicare.
- CoveredCA automatically sends the county the referral to review the person for coverage, but does NOT send the customer a letter letting them know this is happening.
- When the county gets the referral, they attempt to reach the customer to complete the process. If the county doesn't have enough information or doesn't reach them, they send out the Medi-Cal packet to the household pre-filled with what information they do have.
- The goal is to help the community and make sure folks have all of the coverage they qualify for.
- Questions? Call the DHHS Call Center at 1-877-410-8809. The hours are listed above.