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Public Benefits Tip: How to Get Food Benefits in Three Days


You may be able to get CalFresh food benefits within 3 days if:

• You have less than $150 in income and $100 in cash or in the bank ($100 in income for migrant or seasonal workers) or
• Your total income is less than your rent and utilities

The county will need proof of some information. All you need to show for 3-day benefits is proof of who you are. You can turn in other proof later if you cannot get it to the county in time to get CalFresh in 3 days.

No photo ID or applying by phone? The county can confirm your identity by calling someone who knows you. The county can also look in its recently
closed cases for a copy of your ID and other proof.


✓ Ask to pick up the CalFresh EBT benefits card at the county office instead of by mail.
✓ If you apply in person or over the phone, ask if the county can interview you the same day.
✓ If you have an in-person interview, bring all the proof that you can (ID, income, citizenship or immigration status, housing costs). If you apply on-line,
upload all the documents you have.
✓ The county may ask you for other proof. Ask the worker for “deferred verification” if you need more time to turn in the proof. You then have 30 days
from your application to turn in the proof. Talk to a supervisor if the worker does not give you extra time.
✓ If the county decides you are not eligible to get CalFresh in 3 days, you can ask for an “agency conference” if you think you are eligible. If your situation
changes, contact the county worker.

No decision within 3 days?

• If the county does not act within 3 days, call the worker’s supervisor. You can also call (800) 743-8525 to ask for a hearing. Ask for an “expedited hearing” if you are running out of food.
• Even if the county finds you ineligible to get CalFresh in 3 days, you may still qualify for regular CalFresh. The county will decide in 30 days.

Need help? Contact your local free Legal Aid office. These offices are listed on the back of county notices.

*Materials created by Western Center on Law and Poverty

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