Food for People

The Food Bank for Humboldt County
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Eligibility & Contacts

"All in one sheet" CalFresh information flyer (in English & Spanish):

Created by Food for People, this one-pager gives a brief introduction to CalFresh, includes a basic pre-screen with income eligibiligy guidelines, lists documents a household may need to be prepared to provide to the county, has information on where to apply and how to reach the county, and much more. It is available in both English and Spanish. This document was updated for October 1, 2018.

 

Income Guidelines Changed as of October 1, 2018:

The Federal Fiscal Year begins October 1, which usually means CalFresh/SNAP income guidelines and maximum benefit amounts increase for a Cost of Living Adustment (COLA). There may also be increases in deductions (calculated on the County side of eligibility) for housing and utilities.  View/download the current Fact Sheet for CalFresh Outreach Workers, which was developed by our partners at the California Association of Food Banks, who help network CalFresh Outreach workers state-wide. Here is a fact sheet for clients in English and Spanish.

 

CalFresh expansion to SSI households:

Starting June 1, 2019, anyone that receives SSI may receive CalFresh benefits. Humboldt County DHHS will begin accepting early applications beginning May 1, 2019 (for benefits that can begin in June 2019). SSI and SSP benefits will not change. There are close to 6,000 SSI recipients in Humboldt County. Humboldt County DHHS created the following materials to help CalFresh partners understand more of the details on how CalFresh expansion impacts Humboldt County residents:

For more information, visit Western Center on Law & Poverty, or ca4ssi, or California Assocation of Food Banks (CAFB). CAFB put together this overview of special CalFresh rules that apply to seniors and people with disabilities who are SSI recipients and newly eligible for CalFresh. Its intended audience is providers and application assistors who may want a refresher on what specific CalFresh rules might apply to SSI recipients. This information may help make the application process easier and/or help maximize the CalFresh benefit amount.

Here is a sample outreach flyer for clients in English and Spanish. California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has made a toolkit accessible with customizable materials (flyer, poster, brochures, fact sheet). In addition, CDSS recorded a policy webinar series that gets into more detail on how CalFresh policies affect people with SSI, which you can view here. Here's a quick overview of the statewide impact CDSS is expecting due to the expansion:

  • 369,000 new SSI-only households to join the caseload over a 15-month period
  • 44,800 households will see an increase in benefits
  • 73,200 households will see a decrease in benefits
  • 7,100 households will lose eligibility
  • The households who will experience a decrease or loss of benefits will be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Benefit or Transitional Nutrition Benefit

f you've been using or promoting getcalfresh.org to help households apply for CalFresh, Code for America (the creators of getcalfresh.org) created an SSI-specific landing page: ssi.getcalfresh.org.

 

Public Charge information for non-citizens:

The following information is based on analysis of the final public charge rule on inadmissibility and is not legal advice. For information about a specific case, please contact an immigration expert. To find help in your area, visit www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory

Core community messages:

  • Use of public benefits alone will not make someone a public charge. Know the facts and one's rights.
  • It's not over - Law suits have been filed to attempt to stop the rule, so keep posted for potential updates.
  • This public charge inadmissibility test does NOT apply to every immigrant.
  • Use of public benefits will NOT automatically make someone a public charge.
  • This public charge test does NOT consider benefits used by family members.
  • The rule does NOT consider any newly listed benefits that are used before October 15, 2019.
  • Individuals' personal information is protected.

Background on Public Charge:

On August 14, 2019 the final rule regarding public charge was posted to the federal register, and it is intended to go into effect 60 days later, on October 15, 2019. Law suits have been filed, which may impact how and if the rule plays out, so please keep up with potential updates. 266,000 people submitted comments during the comment period, which helped make a few improvements to the rule, but ultimately there are some major changes that are important to understand. There is a false impression that receiving benefits means a person is not contributing. In fact a vast majority (91%) of those newly affected are working, but for low wages.

The prior definition of Public Charge: an individual who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.”

Being classified as a Public Charge may hurt chances of becoming a U.S. citizen in the future. In the past this has typically applied to cash aid programs and long-term care institutionalization and not programs such as SNAP/CalFresh, Medicaid, Section 8 Housing, etc.

New definition of Public Charge: Beginning on October 15, 2019, an individual who receives one or more of the below listed public benefits for more than 12 months in a 36 month period. Each benefit counts as one month (so receiving 3 of these benefits in one month equals 3 months). The expanded list of benefits that this will include are:
  • Cash Assistance for income maintenance (this was part of previous definition and will continue to be)
  • Institutionalization for long-term care at government expense (this was part of previous definition and will continue to be)
  • SNAP (CalFresh in California)
  • Medicaid (with exceptions--does not include Part D. There are exceptions for emergency medical conditions, coverage of children under age 21, and pregnant women)
  • Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Cash Assistance
  • Housing Assistance (public housing, Section 8 Housing Vouchers, and Rental Assistance)

These are not the only factors considered in determining Public Charge. The government also looks at totality of circumstances, such as age, health, family status, financial status, education and skills, affidavit of support, to determine whether the person is likely to become a public charge in the future. 

Clearing up misinformation: Though we are waiting to see the outcome of lawsuits that have been filed, there is still misinformation about which other programs do or don't affect Public Charge. Please note the following:
  • School meals are NOT included in the Public Charge rule. It is safe to fill out applications for the school meal program! Since the 2019-2020 school year has either begun, or for many districts is just about to, please help get the word out that no one should fear enrolling for free and reduced-cost school meals for their children.
  • WIC is NOT included in the Public Charge rule.

Who does Public Charge ground of inadmissibility apply to?

It does NOT apply to everyone. It does NOT apply to:
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) "green card holders" applying for citizenship
  • Refugees and Asylees
  • VAWA self-petitioners
  • Survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, or other serious crimes (U or T visa applicants/holders)
  • Special immigrant juveniles
  • Certain parolees
  • Several other categories of non-citizens

Applies only to applications submitted on or after October 15, 2019 (and continuing cases that day onward)

  • Changes will NOT be retroactive (names prior to this date are not included)
  • Benefits used by family members are not counted against you (for example, benefits used by a U.S. citizen child do not count toward the adult applicant's public charge test, but will count toward income test)
  • Doesn't count against current SNAP/CalFresh participants unless still on the program October 15, 2019
  • Every situation is different. Consult with an immigration attorney if you have questions about your own case.

When does Public Charge come up?

  • Applying to be allowed into U.S. for first time
  • Applying to adjust status to become a LPR – obtaining a green card
  • Green card holder who leaves U.S. for more than 180 consecutive days.

Websites for more information:

A few downloads that may be helpful for learning about this topic:

Ordering Outreach materials, brochures and other goodies:

Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services has a variety of helpful brochures, posters, table displays, and promotional materials (like pens and bags) about CalFresh, applying online, applying for health coverage and other programs available to order for free.  In addition there are some items available to borrow for outreach events, such as banners, table covers and tents with the CalFresh logo.  Click here to view/download the most recent order form.

 

Map of CalFresh Application Assistance sites in Humboldt County:

Have you ever wondered which sites and organizations provide CalFresh application assistance in Humboldt County? This fabulous new map shows the closest site to you or someone you're assisting, along with a list of contact info and dates/times assistance is available at each site. Click here or on the map to view/download.

 

 

Humboldt County DHHS contact information:  

Download this full page flyer that includes the local Humboldt County DHHS Service Center phone number, a list of services available through it, and the new call center hours, which are Monday through Friday 7:30am to 5:30 pm, including lunch hour. Please use this phone number (1-877-410-8809) when communicating the local DHHS phone number to clients. Click here to download the updated flyer in English and Spanish. Also, if interested in it as a poster to display, click here to dowload it as an 11x17 poster in English and Spanish.

 

DHHS Mobile Outreach Vehicle schedule

The schedule can be downloaded from our Mobile Produce Pantry webpage. The Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOV) provides an array of County services, including help applying for County programs such as CalFresh. The MOV travels to communities in various parts of Humboldt County to bring services closer to home. Food for People's Mobile Produce Pantry travels alongside the MOV, though the two sometimes have slightly differing schedules and sites. Please visit the Mobile Produce Pantry webpage for more information.

 

The following links are also very useful:

  • The Calfornia Guide to Food Benefits is a thorough resource on some of the technical aspects of understanding CalFresh eligibility, regulations and special situations.
  • The California EBT Project is a state website with information about the EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) debit card itself, and includes a link to the EBT client website, at which clients with EBT cards can log in (or establish a login account) to do things like check account balance and transaction history.
  • Two other resources for households that want to find out how much they have left in benefits are to call the toll-free number on the back of EBT cards: 1-877-328-9677 or check a CalFresh account online at www.benefitscal.org. This handy link helps people in the state of California to select their county and jump straight to the online system their county uses.

 

 

BARRIERS TO ENROLLMENT

AARP published a study on SNAP Access Barriers Faced by Low-Income 50-59 Year Olds (click here to download the highlights). As discussed at the Humboldt County CalFresh Task Force, these obtacles and beliefs are common for most age groups, and the highlights of the AARP report offer suggestions for overcoming these barriers.