Keeping track of all the EBT information out there can be overwhelming. So, we’ve broken down all the basics in one handy guide.
If you have a question that we haven’t answered here, let us know.
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 (also known as SNAP benefits) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 three 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.
- The receipt of substantial lottery or gambling winnings. 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.
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!
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.
Download Providers 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.
Yes! Your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission to museums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and more.
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.
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.
Check out this benefit finder tool and find out.