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The fresh guide to EBT in California.

Keeping track of all the EBT information out there can be overwhelming. So, we’ve broken down all the basics in one handy guide.

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How can I check my EBT balance online?
Download the Fresh EBT app to check your balance instantly. And while you’re there, explore opportunities to save and earn money.
What's the Golden State Advantage card?

The Golden State Advantage card is California’s EBT card.

EBT = electronic benefits transfer.

EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.

You’ll get the Golden State Advantage card once you’re approved for benefits.

California’s EBT customer service number is 1-877-328-9677.

How do I apply for CalFresh food benefits (food stamps)?
The easiest way to apply for Calfresh food stamps is online.

If you’d rather apply in person, call the Calfresh Information Line (1-877-847-3663), or find your local county office.

Learn if you’re eligible for food stamps.

How do I renew my CalFresh food benefits (food stamps)?
You’ll have to renew your food stamps before your certification period (the amount of time you’ll get food stamps) ends.

For most California households without elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 12 months. For most California households with elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 24 months.

You’ll get a letter in the mail when it’s time to reapply. To be safe, you could also put a note in your calendar or wherever you keep important reminders.

In some counties, you can renew online. Other counties may require that you turn in this form.

To find out the easiest way to renew in your county, call your county worker, local county office, or the Calfresh Information Line: 1-877-847-3663.

When will I get my CalFresh food benefits (food stamps)?
California sends out food stamps over the first 10 days of every month, based on the last digit of your case number. Check the full schedule to find out which day you’ll get your food stamps.
What household changes do I have to report and when?

Most households only have to report the following two changes twice a year (at the halfway point and when you recertify):

  • When someone moves in or out of your household.
  • Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support.

Most households need to report the following two changes no more than 10 days after they happen:

  • When your household income goes over the monthly income limit. This could be because someone starts making more money or someone with income moves in.
  • When an adult without a disability or a child (what the government calls an ABAWD) who was working or training 20 hours/week starts working or training less.

While optional, you should consider reporting your new address if you are moving to make sure you don’t miss any important letters.

You can report changes online by creating an account. Go to BenefitsCal.org to find the right site for your county.

How do I replace a lost or stolen EBT card?

If you can’t find your EBT card, call the California EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-877-328-9677.

If someone manages to use your card, you won’t be able to get those benefits back, so make sure you call right away!

What can I buy with EBT?

You can use food stamps to buy groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food.

You can’t use food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods, or any non-food household items.

Which stores and restaurants take EBT food stamps?
Download Fresh EBT to see nearby stores and farmer’s markets that take EBT. You don’t need an account to use the map.
If you’re 60 or older, disabled, or homeless, you can also use EBT at some restaurants. New restaurants will be joining this program soon.
Can I get any discounts with my EBT card?
Yes! Your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission to museums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and more.
Can I get more food stamps if I’m pregnant or a new parent?

Once your child is born, your household size will increase. More household members = more benefits.

If you’re pregnant or have a child under five years old, you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.

My family can’t afford other basic needs besides food.

If you have a child who’s 18 or younger, you may qualify for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

TANF provides monthly cash assistance to help families with children get by during tough times.

Am I eligible for other benefits?
Check out this benefit finder tool and find out.
This information was compiled by Fresh EBT from publicly available government websites. Please check in with your local office if you have questions.