CalFresh benefits, California’s counterpart to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are poised for positive changes and potential increases in the next fiscal year set to start next September 30. In 2023, the Social Security Administration took a proactive step by making a cost-of-living adjustment to ensure that Social Security benefits remain in step with inflation.
This adjustment had an impact on SNAP benefits, affecting households that receive both SNAP and Social Security benefits. Starting as early as January 2023, these households did experience a decrease in their SNAP benefits. However, it’s important to note that this decrease was outweighed by the increase in Social Security benefits.
Will the CalFresh food stamps increase in 2024?
One of the inquiries that the CalFresh beneficiaries have been asking themselves is about the potential increment of food stamps in California. More specifically, people are wondering if there will be an adjustment for the cost of living in 2024 to account for the rising food prices.
Let’s talk about the specifics of the anticipated 2024 increase in California Food Stamps benefits. We’ll also outline the income thresholds necessary for eligibility and shed light on the expected assistance for families of four or five in the CalFresh program.
If you are approved for food stamps in California, how much in benefits you get partly depends on the:
- Number of people in your household,
- Total amount of your household’s income, and
- U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan.
The Thrifty Food Plan is a government-run initiative that measures how much it costs to provide a household with nutritious yet low-cost meals.
Your SNAP benefits to increase in the Fiscal Year 2024
For the 48 states and D.C., Alaska, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the maximum allotments are on the rise. Families of four residing in the 48 states and D.C. will see their maximum allotment increase to a generous $973. In the beautiful state of Alaska, these allotments will range from $1,248 to an impressive $1,937 for a family of four.
Meanwhile, in Guam, families of four can look forward to a maximum allotment of $1,434, and those in the U.S. Virgin Islands will receive up to $1,251. Although the maximum allotments in Hawaii will slightly decrease to $1,759 for a family of four, it’s important to note that these adjustments are aimed at better supporting families in need.
Now, in the 48 contiguous states and the DC, the minimum benefits will stay at $23. The shelter cap value is also on the rise. In the 48 states and D.C., this value will increase to $672, helping families better cover their housing expenses. The same positive trend extends to Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where shelter cap values will see increases.
Moreover, the maximum homeless shelter deduction will be $179.66 for the 48 states and D.C., Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, providing vital assistance to those facing homelessness.
In addition, the minimum standard deduction for household sizes ranging from 1 to 3 will increase to $198 a month for the 48 states and D.C. Similar increases in standard deduction amounts will benefit residents of Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How apply for CalFresh benefits in California?
To apply for CalFresh benefits in California, you can follow these steps:
- Check your eligibility: Before applying, it’s important to determine your eligibility for CalFresh benefits. Your household must meet certain income requirements. Other factors such as household size and expenses are also considered when applying for these benefits.
- Apply online: The easiest way to apply for CalFresh benefits is online. You can use the online portal GetCalFresh.org or MyBenefitsCalwin.org depending on your county of residence.
- Apply by phone or mail: Alternatively, you can apply for benefits by phone, mail, or fax. If you prefer to apply by mail, download the application form and send it to your local DPSS office dpss.lacounty.gov.
- Gather Required Documents: You will need to provide certain documents during the application process. These include identification, proof of where you live, Social Security Numbers for eligible household members, and proof of Immigration Status for eligible household members.
- Interview Process: After applying, you may need to complete an interview process. This can be conducted over the phone, by mail, or electronically. However, due to COVID-19, in-person interviews and written signatures may be waived.
- Wait for Approval: Once your application is submitted, you should receive approval or denial of your application within 30 days by mail.
- Receive EBT Card: If approved, you’ll receive an EBT card with money for groceries within 30 days. The card can be used at most grocery stores, corner stores, and farmer’s markets