Residents in Alameda County who suffer from food insecurity may be eligible to receive some new assistance from the county this summer, now that a 40-year-old restriction on CalFresh benefits has been lifted -- and the Alameda County Social Services Agency wants everyone who is eligible to know about it.
As of June 1, recipients of Supplemental Security Income (or SSI, a federally funded program which provides income to individuals who are aged 65 or older, blind or disabled) and State Supplementary Payment (or SSP, the state program that augments SSI) are now eligible to receive CalFresh benefits, after previously not being allowed to do so.
"We plan to get the word out to senior and disabled individuals and families receiving SSI/SSP that they can now apply for more of the assistance they need to make the difference between hunger and nutrition," said Lori Cox, a director at the county agency.
To commemorate the relaxed restrictions, which county officials say is long overdue, the Board of Supervisors has issued its sixth annual CalFresh Awareness proclamation: "CalFresh Expansion." The proclamation will be accompanied by a series of informational programs and events lead by a squad of "Senior Ambassadors," to assist newly eligible households with the enrollment process.
"We understand that the enrollment process may be challenging for seniors and persons with disabilities and we want to ensure that we provide all eligible individuals with enrollment assistance," Andrea Ford, assistant agency director, said in a statement. "With the assistance of our community partners, we have begun to receive applications prior to the effective date. That is a direct indication of how eager people are to start accessing these nutritional benefits."
CalFresh applications can be completed online at www.mybenefitscalwin.org or in person at any Social Services Agency location; the closest location for Pleasanton residents can be found in Livermore at 3311 Pacific Ave.
County officials encourage residents to stay tuned for announcements and social media posts on upcoming events and educational opportunities on CalFresh.
Known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), county officials say in Alameda County alone CalFresh assists 55,784 families feed their households. Officials added that nationally, the average amount that a senior or person with disability receives is between $105 to $110 per month, although rates can vary from $15 to $192 per month.
Potential CalFresh recipients in Alameda County may direct questions about their eligibility for benefits to the customer service call center at 1-877-847-3663.