CalFresh Eligibility Criteria

CalFresh, also known as the California Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides monthly benefits to help low-income residents purchase healthy food.

Figuring out if you qualify can seem daunting, but this guide will break down the key factors to determine your eligibility for CalFresh.

Income Limits

Income is a major factor in determining your eligibility for CalFresh benefits. The program uses the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to set income limits.

Gross Income

Gross income is the total income your household receives before taxes and deductions. Most households must have a monthly gross income at or below 200% of the FPL for their household size.

For example, as of 2024, the FPL for a household of four is approximately $2,146 per month, so the gross income limit for CalFresh would be about $4,292 per month.


There are exceptions to the gross income limit:

  • Households with members who are 60 years or older.
  • Households with disabled members.
  • Households with members disqualified due to program violations.

Resource Limits

CalFresh also considers your household’s resources, which include your savings and checking account balances.

General Resource Limit

Generally, households must have less than $2,001 in combined savings and checking accounts to be eligible.

Increased Resource Limit

The resource limit increases to $3,001 if a household member is:

  • 60 years or older.
  • Disabled.

Work Requirements

Most able-bodied adults between 16 and 59 years old must meet work registration requirements to be eligible for CalFresh. This involves registering for work at the time of application and every 12 months thereafter.


There are exemptions from work requirements for:

  • Students.
  • Individuals caring for young children.
  • Individuals caring for incapacitated household members.
  • Individuals working a minimum number of hours per week.

Other Eligibility Factors

Several other factors can affect your eligibility for CalFresh.

Citizenship or Immigration Status

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for CalFresh, but your immigration status will determine your eligibility. Certain non-citizens, such as lawful permanent residents, may qualify for benefits.

Household Composition

Your household size is a factor in both income and resource limits. A household is defined as a group of people who buy and prepare food together.

Student Status

Students may have additional eligibility requirements. For example, students may need to meet specific work requirements or be recipients of a Cal Grant to qualify for CalFresh benefits.


There are many factors that determine whether you qualify for CalFresh benefits, but the program provides much-needed assistance to low-income individuals and families.

Understanding the eligibility criteria can help you determine if you are eligible for this valuable resource. If you are unsure about your eligibility, it is always best to apply and see if you qualify.

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