People receiving state cash assistance can get food stamps

SAN JOSE — Elderly and low-income individuals who receive cash assistance through the state will be eligible this summer to receive food stamps for the first time in 40 years, after a decades-old rule that limited them to $10 a month in food assistance has been eliminated.

Starting on June 1, recipients of state Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or State Supplemental Payments (SSP) will be able to receive food stamps through the state’s program, known as CalFresh.

Santa Clara County is taking applications this month for the expanded benefit, which will affect an estimated 13,000 eligible people countywide, according to a county news release.

“Santa Clara County is one of the most expensive places to live in the nation. We want every eligible individual to receive benefits and have healthy food on their table at every meal,” Robert Menicocci, Director of the Social Services Agency, said in a statement.

The expansion is part of a state Assembly bill, signed by the governor in June 2018, which ended a longstanding policy that excluded people receiving cash assistance from receiving food stamps. California opted into that federal policy in 1974 and was the last state to drop out.

Depending on household income, CalFresh monthly food benefits can go up to $192, compared to the old policy allowed only a $10 “cash-out” each month in lieu of food stamps.

People currently receiving SSI or SSP benefits should not see a reduction in their cash benefits as a result of applying for or receiving CalFresh. The food stamps will not count as income toward the calculation of their cash benefit, according to the county.

Apply online at https://www.mybenefitscalwin.org or https://www.getcalfresh.org, or by phone at 1-877-962-3633, or by fax at 408-295-9248.

Applications can be mailed to PO Box 11018, San Jose, CA 95103 or apply in person at five locations countywide:

Assistance Application Center, 1867 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112
General Assistance Services, 1919 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112
North County Assistance, 1330 W. Middlefield Road, Mountain View, CA 94043
Medi-Cal Benefits Assistance, 650 S. Bascom Ave., Suite. A, San Jose, CA 95128
South County Assistance, 379 Tomkins Court, Gilroy, CA 95020

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