Will California Get Extra Food Stamps? (March 2021 Update)

The state of California has been approved to issue extra food stamps benefits as part of the Stimulus Package due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In this post, we will provide a complete review of extra food stamps in California. Find out if you qualify, how much you will get each month, and for how long.

However, before we get into details about the extra benefits for March 2021, we first want to explain what the Emergency allotment benefits are about.

Next, we will talk about California’s program and who is eligible.

We will also explain how much you are likely to get in benefits if eligible and how to calculate your extra benefit amount.

Lastly, we will provide the extra food stamps benefits deposit schedule in California and when you can expect your extra benefit this month.

"Extra Food Stamps in California"

This post will cover:

  • What are supplemental Emergency Allotment benefits?
  • Extra Food Stamp Benefits in California
  • Who Qualifies for Extra Food Stamps in California?
  • How much in extra food stamps will I receive?
  • Emergency Allotment Benefits Calculator
  • Additional 15% Temporary Increase in Food Stamps in 2021
  • Extra Food Stamps in California Deposit Schedule – 2020/2021
  • FAQs about CalFresh Food Stamps and Extra Benefits

What are supplemental Emergency Allotment benefits?

The Families First Act (FFA) is a federal law that was passed to respond to the effects of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19.

Included in the law is a provision for emergency supplemental benefits to households receiving SNAP or Food Stamps.

This provision allows states to issue supplemental SNAP benefits, up to the maximum allowable SNAP benefit for a household’s size, during the emergency or disaster declaration.

These temporary supplemental SNAP benefits are also referred to as Emergency Allotment (EA) benefits.

States have to get waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) each month to issue these Emergency Allotment SNAP Benefits.

Extra Food Stamp Benefits in California

Since March 2020, California has issued supplemental SNAP (CalFresh) benefits monthly to households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only households whose SNAP benefit for the month was less than the maximum benefit amount for their household’s size will get extra benefits for that month.

However, households who already received the maximum benefit amount for their household size in a month are not eligible.

Furthermore, households may not receive more than the maximum allowable amount for their household size.

Who Qualifies for Extra Food Stamps in California?

Here’s how to find out if you qualify for extra food stamps in California:

If your household received a SNAP benefit for the months between March 2020 and this current month, here’s what you should know.

If the SNAP benefits you received during those months were less than the maximum benefit amount for your household’s size, then you will automatically get a supplemental EA SNAP benefit.

It is important to note that the supplemental EA SNAP benefit will only be provided for the months that your household received less than the maximum benefit amount.

How much in extra food stamps will I receive?

The amount of extra food stamp benefits you receive is determined by your household size.

Your Emergency Allotment benefit is the difference between the amount of benefits you are currently receiving and the maximum benefit amount for your household size.

As stated earlier above, if you are already receiving the maximum monthly benefit amount for your household size, then you will not receive any additional or extra SNAP benefits.

However, if you are not receiving the maximum benefit allotment for your household size, then you will receive extra food stamp benefits.

For help, check out our example on how to calculate your Emergency Allotment benefits below:

Emergency Allotment Benefits Calculator

The formula to calculate how much extra food stamps you will receive through Emergency Allotment (EA) benefits is provided below.

Maximum Monthly Benefit Allotment for Household Size – Current Monthly CalFresh Benefits = Total Extra Allotment CalFresh benefits

Example:

If you live in a household of 3 people and are currently receiving $400 in CalFresh benefits per month, then you will receive $135 in extra food stamp benefits.

That’s because the maximum allotment amount for a household of three is $535 per month.

To find out the maximum SNAP benefit allotment for your household size, check out the table below.

What is the maximum SNAP benefit amount for my family’s size?

The “Thrifty Food Plan” (TFP) is the maximum amount of SNAP benefits, per household size.

Beginning October 1, 2020, the TFP amounts of SNAP benefits per household size have increased.

Use the chart below to find the Maximum SNAP Allotment Amount for your household size.

The 2021 maximum SNAP allotments for the District of Columbia and all states other than Alaska and Hawaii are as follows:

Please note that a temporary 15% increase in SNAP benefits was authorized in the recently signed federal relief legislation and will be in effect for the months of January through June 2021:

March—September 2020

Below is the maximum monthly SNAP benefit amount by household size for the period March 2020 – September 2020.

This increase was due to The Families First Act (FFA) legislation.

Household Size
Maximum Monthly SNAP Benefit Amount
1 $194
2 $355
3 $509
4 $646
5 $768
6 $921
7 $1,018
8 $1,164
Each additional person +146

October — December 2020

The USDA announced a 5.3% increase in maximum SNAP benefits in response to rising food costs. This announcement was effective October 1, 2020.

Below are the new maximum monthly SNAP benefit amounts based on that announcement.

Household Size
Maximum Monthly SNAP Benefit Amount
1 $204
2 $374
3 $535
4 $680
5 $807
6 $969
7 $1,071
8 $1,224
Each additional person +153

Additional 15% Temporary Increase in Food Stamps in 2021

Congress passed The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which authorized an increase in increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Specifically, the legislation raised the maximum allotments to 115 percent of the June 2020 value of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP).

The law also requires that the increased maximum allotments will only be effective from January 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021.

However, on July 1, 2021, the maximum allotment for food stamps will revert to the fiscal year 2021 benefit allotments.

January—June 2021

Below are the new maximum monthly SNAP benefit amounts based on the 15% increase, which is effective January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021.

Household Size
Maximum Monthly SNAP Benefit Amount
1 $234
2 $430
3 $616
4 $782
5 $929
6 $1,114
7 $1,232
8 $1,408
Each additional person +176

If you would like to know when you can expect your Extra food stamps benefits for the month, see the deposit schedule below.

Extra Food Stamps in California Deposit Schedule – 2020/2021

Each eligible California household will only receive one emergency allotment per benefit month that emergency allotments are approved.

However, California runs three issuances for each approved emergency allotment for a given month.

Therefore, if you did not get the benefit on the first issuance date for a particular month, it means it may be sent on the second issuance date.

Furthermore, if you did not get the benefit for a particular month on the first or second issuance date, it means you will receive that benefit on the third issuance date for that month.

It is therefore possible that your extra benefit for a particular month may be issued the following month, two months after, or three months after.

Here are the Extra Food Stamps in California Deposit Schedule for 2020-2021 as of March 2021.

Benefit Month First Issuance Second Issuance Third Issuance
2020
March April 12 May 10 June 14
April May 10 June 14 July 12
May June 14 July 12 August 16
June July 12 August 16 September 13
July August 16 September 13 October 18
August September 13 October 18 November 15
September October 18 November 15 December 20
October November 15 December 20 January 10
November December 20 January 10 February 14
December January 10 February 14 March 7
2021
January February 14 March 7 April 18
February March 7 April 18 TBD
March April 18 TBD TBD

FAQs about CalFresh Food Stamps and Extra Benefits

Here are the most frequently asked questions about California Food Stamps and the Extra food stamps in California – emergency allotment program.

What if I need meals for my school-age children?

While schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many school districts are providing pre-packaged school meals for children.

In addition, your state may be approved for the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program.

Children who are approved for free or reduced-price meals may be eligible for Pandemic EBT due to school closures.

Contact your local school district for more information on Pandemic assistance your child may be eligible for.

See our post on how to apply for P-EBT in your state.

Can I use my California EBT Card in another state?

Yes. Your California EBT card will work at any store or ATM that displays the Quest® symbol in California.

In addition, you can use the card in 49 states in the United States, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

However, if you do not see the Quest® symbol, look for a sign that displays EBT, SNAP, or Food Stamps.

If you are unsure, ask the store manager.

Currently, California EBT cardholders cannot use their EBT cards in Puerto Rico.

My Application for CalFresh was denied. What can I do?

If you applied for state and federally funded aid programs, such as CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, and In-Home Supportive Services, and are not happy with the decision, here’s what you can do:

You can apply for an administrative fair hearing if you are dissatisfied with an action taken in your case.

You may request a fair hearing using one of these options:

By phone: California Department of Social Services at (800) 952-5253 or

By mail: HSA Appeals Unit at S600, P.O. Box 7988, San Francisco, CA 94120-7988.

Extra Food Stamps in California Summary

Here’s the bottom line:

Since March 2020, California has issued extra CalFresh benefits monthly to households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your extra SNAP benefit is the difference between the amount of benefits you are currently receiving and the maximum benefit amount for your household size.

California runs three issuances for each approved emergency allotment for a given month.

Therefore, it is possible that your extra benefit for a particular month may be issued the following month, two months after, or three months after.

Questions?

We hope this post on Extra Food Stamps in California was helpful.

If you have further questions about the California Food Stamps, EBT Card, SNAP, or P-EBT, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about SNAP and EBT, including:
Free Admission with EBT in all 50 States
How to check ebtEDGE balance
ConnectEBT card balance
What you can buy with an EBT Card
How much in food stamps can I get?

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