COVID-19 CalFresh Information
Emergency CalFresh Allotments:
October 2021 CalFresh Emergency Allotment (EA) was approved and will be available on EBT cards on Sunday, November 14, 2021 for all active October cases. The household will receive a benefit to bring their monthly allotment up to tme maximum allowed for their household size or $95, whichever amount is more.
September 2021 CalFresh Emergency Allotment (EA) was approved and will be available on EBT cards on Sunday, October 24, 2021. Every household should be receiving at least $95.
This will be issued with a minimum EA of $95. This means that if you get more than $95 to bring your benefits up to the maximum for your household, you will continue to get that larger amount. Households that got less than $95 in order to be boosted to the max, or who got no EA at all due to already getting the maximum amount, will now get $95 in EA.
This minimum EA applies regardless of household size. Households eligible for the maximum allowable allotment based on household size are eligible to also receive an EA of $95; Housheolds that are not eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size, but whose emergency allotment is less than $95 per month will receive an emergency allotment of $95 per month; Households that are eligible to receive more than $95 per month will continue to receive that amount since it is over the minimum amount now allowed for EAs.
This is done at the state level, and Humboldt County is not responsible for issuing the benefits to cards.
All households with active CalFresh cases in the benefit month will receive the maximum amount of benefits for their household size.
Emergency Allotments are approved on a rolling basis and issued by the State of California (NOT at the local County level). The Emergency Allotment for a benefit month is issued in the middle of the next month. (So, expect to see your usual benefit amount at the usual time and to get the Emergency Allotment boost up to the maximum benefit level for your household size around the middle of the next month. When you get that boost mid-December, it's technically for November.)
If for some reason you do not receive your Emergency Allotment, please seek help immediately. If you wait too long or into the next month, you might not be able to get the Emergency Allotment going back in time that far.
There is no extra paperwork to turn in to get the extra CalFresh benefits. It will simply be added to your EBT card, and you'll be able to use it just like regular CalFresh.
Income Updates & Benefits Available When Federal Unemployment Benefits End:
- Federal unemployment benefits ended September 4, 2021.
- If you have recently lost unemployment benefits, please fill out this SAR3 Mid-Period Status Report and submit it to Humboldt County DHHS Social Services Branch to have your CalFresh benefits level adjusted, if you are not due for a regular SAR7 semi-annual report or recertification currently. This report is used for any status change that occurs mid-period. Please click here for the Spanish version of the form.
- The SAR3 Mid-Period Status Report form can also be initiated by calling the DHHS Telephone Service Center at 1-877-410-8809 or online at https://www.benefitscal.org/
- California Dept. of Social Services and other state agencies and programs have collaborated to develop a fact sheet with information on other benefits available to individuals and families affected by this change.
- These other benefits include CalFresh, rental and utility assistance, cash aid and services for families with children, free health insurance, and job training & employment services.
- Please click here for the fact sheet in English.
- Please click here for the fact sheet in Spanish.
- Additional languages will be available late August/early September.
Temporary 15% Benefit Increase extended through September 30, 2021:
- From January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 all CalFresh benefits are being increased by 15%.
- Since this was announced late January, the increase for January 2021 was issued as a supplement on February 7.
- The monthly minimum benefit has also temporarily increased from $16 to $19/month (however as long as Emergency Allotments keep getting approved monthly, everyone will receive the maximum benefit amount for their household size). See the section below for more details on Emergency Allotments.
- Click here for the income limits and new maximum benefit amounts in both English and Spanish.
What if you're not getting CalFresh currently?
Our CalFresh Outreach staff are here to help with the application process, the eligibility process after your application has been submitted to the County, and questions/tips on reporting and recertifying in order to continue receiving benefits. Once you are receiving CalFresh, it is important to take all the necessary steps to make sure benefits continue for as long as you need them, and our staff are experts in helping households with this process.
Call our CalFresh Outreach staff at (707) 499-6477 (text or call--this is a dedicated CalFresh Outreach mobile phone)
Email our CalFresh Outreach staff at CalFresh@foodforpeople.org
You can also call (707) 445-3166 extension 318 or 308. For Spanish language assistance, please use extension 318. (Please note that staff attend food bank activities all over the county and are not always at their desks, so the mobile phone number listed above in option #1 is best.)
Fill out our online CalFresh Calback Form, and our staff will call or email you back.
To apply on your own, visit https://benefitscal.com or call Humboldt County DHHS at 1-877-410-8809.
You can also click here to visit our CalFresh Help page.
And what if you have already applied, or are getting CalFresh currently, and have questions about the process?
- Reach out to our Outreach staff with the contact info listed above.
- We can provide answers and support with completing your application process successfully, even if you have already applied and are waiting for next steps.
- We can help with reports that ensure you continue receiving benefits.
- We can help answer questions if you get a "Notice of Action" or letter in the mail about your benefits, loss of benefits, or request by the county for more information from you.
- Our goal is to support you in obtaining nutrition benefits and help you keep your benefits, so that you don't need to reapply!
Pandemic EBT for children:
SUMMER 2021 UPDATE
- What is P-EBT 2.0? (Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer 2.0) is a nutrition benefit to replace meals that kids didn't receive during the school year during the pandemic.
- Who qualifies? Young children (age 0-5) who also got CalFresh between Oct 2020-Aug 2021 and school age children who were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals during the 2020-2021 school year will receive P-EBT 2.0.
- How do families get P-EBT 2.0? There is no application. The benefits are given automatially. Families will receive a P-EBT 2.0 card in the mail for each eligible child. It is mailed to the adrress on their CalFresh or school file. The card will be mailed based on the child's age and first name.
- What can be bought with P-EBT 2.0? Food at grocery stores, farmers' markets, and online stores that accept EBT. Prepared hot foods and other items from take-out bars or hot food bars can NOT be bought with P-EBT.
- Does using P-EBT 2.0 impact other benefits? No. Families can receive meals at school and also receive P-EBT. It does NOT impact taxes. It does NOT need to be claimed as income. It does NOT impact immigration status. It is NOT considered in determining public charge.
- How do I set up the P-EBT card PIN? Call (877) 328-9677. Select your language. Enter the 16-digit card number and press #. Press 4. Enter the child's 6-digit birthday and press #. Enter your zip code. Enter the 4 digits you'd like to use as your PIN and press #. Re-enter the 4 digits and press #.
- How do I use a P-EBT debit card? Use the card like a debit card. Select "EBT" at checkout and enter your PIN. Multiple cards can be used to pay for one purchase. Keep your card after it's used. More benefits may be added in the future. Benefits should be used at least once per year so they don't expire.
- How do I get a live person at the helpline? Call 1-877-328-9677. Pick language. Enter your 16-digit card number. (Do nothing if you do not have a P-EBT card number.) Press 5 if calling about P-EBT. (After that, press 1 for general info about P-EBT; Press 2 to PIN your EBT card; Press 3 to change your address; Press 4 if you are not calling about P-EBT.; Stay on the line if you want like to speak to a person about P-EBT.)
- What materials will arrive in the mail with the P-EBT card? Click on these to view: Card carrier and Insert.
- Pandemic EBT 2.0 website: https://capandemic-ebt.org/
INFO FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AGE 0-5:
- Who gets P-EBT for young children age 0-5? Between Oct 2020-Aug 2021, children who were age 0-5, AND were living in a county where at least one school had limited in-person classes, AND they received CalFresh anytime during those months.
- How much do young kids get? $123 each month if they received CalFresh AND their county had at least one school that had NO in-person classes. $68 each month if they received CalFresh AND their county had at least one school that had hybrid in-person classes. $0 each month if they received CalFresh AND every school in their county had ALL in-person classes. $0 per month when they did not receive CalFresh.
- When do young kids get P-EBT their cards? It depends on when they received CalFresh and the child's first name. If they received CalFresh anytime between Oct 2021-Jan 2021: they should have already received their P-EBT card. If they received CalFresh anytime between Feb 2021-May 2021: they will get a card in November (existing cards will be reloaded). If they received CalFresh anytime between June 2021-August 2021: they will get card in December (existing cards will be reloaded). Cards will be mailed out alphabetically based on first name. Expect that a child whose name starts with "A" will get a card before a child whose name starts with "Y".
- When will young kids get more P-EBT? Children who got cards in July or August will get more P-EBT on their card in November (if they got CalFresh any time between Feb-May 2021) or December (if they got CalfFresh any time between June-Aug 2021).
INFO FOR SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN TK-12TH GRADE:
- Who gets P-EBT 2.0 for school age children (TK to 12th grade)? During the 2020-2021 school year, students who were enrolled in a school that participated in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, AND their school was remote during at least part of the school year, AND they met one of the following criteria during the 2020-2021 school year (attended a school where all kids were automatically eligible for the free or reduced-price meal program, OR the student was getting free or reduced-price meals at school, CalFresh, CalWORKs, Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations, OR the student got Medi-Cal and family income was under 185% of the Federal Povery Level, OR The family submitted an Alternative Household Income Form, OR the student experienced homelessness during the school year, OR the student was in foster care).
- Please note: students who graduated high school at the end of the 2020-2021 school year will receive P-EBT 2.0 as long as they met the eligibility criteria. They will not be eligible for Summer P-EBT.
- How much do school age kids get? Amounts depend on the learning model most commonly used at their school each month. $123 for each month that most students attended virtually. $68 for each month that most students attended both in-person and virtually. $0 for each month that most students attended in person.
- When to school age kids get their P-EBT cards? Cards will be mailed out between August and November 2021 with P-EBT benefits for Aug 2020-Jan 2021. Cards will be mailed out alphabetically by first name. Expect that a child whose name starts with "A" will get a card before a child whose name starts with "Y". If a child becomes eligible for free and reduced-price meals between June and August 2021, they will receive a P-EBT card in December 2021.
- When will school age kids get more P-EBT? In November, the card will be reloaded with the P-EBT benefits for the months of February - May 2021. In December, the card will be reloaded again with benefits for the months of June - August 2021.
SEPTEMBER 2020 UPDATE:
Due to COVID-19, beginning in spring 2020, California children in a K-12 school, who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals, were able to get extra food benefits called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT. The first round of P-EBT provided benefits to elegible schoolchildren for the months of March, April, May, and June 2020.
P-EBT Extension: P-EBT was approved to provide additional benefits, to children who already received P-EBT benefits, for the monts of August and September. Children eligible for P-EBT extension benefits:
P-EBT is not CalFresh, but it is used the same way at grocery stores, farmers' markets, and online with Amazon or Walmart (shipping is not covered--more on that below)
Online Purchasing with CalFresh EBT card:
Starting on April 28, 2020, CalFresh households have been welcome to use their EBT cards to purchase food online through Amazon and Walmart.
In addition, EBT online has been expanded to include a number of Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons locations across California, plus Aldi through Instacart
In Humboldt County--that means just Safeway, and more specifically, only the Eureka Safeway. We have verified with Eureka Safeway how it works:
Shop online for Eureka Safeway and do curbside pickup (not delivery)
Pay when you pick up. A Safeway employee brings a tablet to your car to slide your EBT card and enter PIN.
The state is working hard to add more stores in the future.
Amazon will accept CalFresh benefits, and Walmart will be able to accept CalFresh and CalWORKs cash aid. CalWORKs cash aid can be used on non-food items.
Starting on April 28, 2020, the process for EBT online purchasing follows a similar process as is currently used for debit or credit card purchases. After shopping for items online, choose a delivery date and time, and then go to the payment page. Select method of payment, and enter EBT card number. A virtual secure Personal Identification Number (PIN) pad will be presented on the screen. Enter PIN to complete the transaction.
Amazon and Walmart offer free delivery on online purchases over $35.00. Delivery fees for orders under $35.00 vary and can be found on the respective retailers’ websites. Federal law prohibits the usage of CalFresh benefits to pay for delivery, convenience, or other fees and charges associated with online purchasing. CalFresh shopers will be required to use another method of payment for any delivery fees. Walmart accepts CalWORKs cash benefits to pay for delivery fees.
To help address delivery fees, Amazon offers "Amazon Cash" at over 11,000 locations throughout California, including 7-Eleven, RiteAid, and CVS stores. EBT cardholders can create an account and deposit as little as $5.00 cash at any Amazon Cash location. There are no fees associated with this service. Cardholders may then use the money they deposited to pay delivery fees or purchase other items from Amazon. Cardholders can find locations by visiting the Amazon Cash website, found at this link. This web page provides detailed instructions for setting up and using the Amazon Cash service.
Temporary College Student Elegibility Changes:
There are two temporary changes to CalFresh eligibility for college students:1) Students who are eligible for federal or state work study are eligible; they no longer have to anticipate working.2) Students are now eligible if the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) determines they have a $0 Expected Family Contribution.
- These two temporary changes will be in effect for applications “until 30 days after the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted at the federal level. During this period, existing CalFresh households may also add a new member to the household if the individual, if not for this temporary change, would have been previously excluded due to the student eligibility rule.”
- For current households, the temporary changes will be in effect until the household’s first recertification, no earlier than 30 days after the end of the public health emergency.
More changes are in the works, in response to COVID-19, and we'll post those as they are implemented.