CalFresh Program (formerly known as Food Stamps)

The CalFresh program is designed to help meet the nutritional needs of people with low incomes.  CalFresh benefits are intended to purchase food items for the household and may not be used for items such as liquor, cigarettes, household supplies, or hot foods.  CalFresh allotments are determined on a semi-annually basis utilizing income information received from the family. 

CalFresh benefits were previously issued in the form of coupons and could be redeemed like cash at most grocery stores.  Federal Law requires that counties/states issue CalFresh benefits via the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.  The EBT program was implemented in Lake County on July 1, 2004.  CalFresh recipients are now issued an EBT card, similar to an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) card, instead of receiving food coupons.  CalFresh recipients are able to use the EBT cards at grocers and retailers throughout the State and across the country to purchase food. The CalFresh account balance is automatically adjusted according to purchases. The EBT system increases security and reliability of benefits, modernizes benefit redemption and reduces stigma attached to purchases made with paper coupons.