Are CalFresh, SNAP, and EBT the same?
Updated: March 21, 2024
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This is a common question and it's a little confusing.

  • CalFresh is the name California uses for the SNAP program, previously called "food stamps." All of these refer to the same thing: the government anti-hunger program that provides money to lower income Americans that they can spend on food (and for the most part, only food.)
  • EBT stands for "electronic benefits transfer" and generally refers to the card that CalFresh/SNAP benefits are loaded on to. The EBT card is what people who receive CalFresh swipe at a grocery store to use their benefits.
  • One more note: EBT cards sometimes have "cash" benefits on them too. Programs such as CalWORKS (TANF) or General Assistance provide a cash benefit that can be spent on purchases beyond just food. These benefits use the same EBT cards, but have a separate account balance called "cash" (as opposed to the "food" balance.)
This information was compiled by Providers from publicly available government websites. Please check in with your local office if you have questions.