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CalFresh - Better Food for Better Living. Andrea Bricker, MS, RD California Department of Aging. Status of Older Adults in California. Many seniors are struggling to make ends meet. Living longer and outliving their savings.

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CalFresh - Better Food for Better Living

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calfresh better food for better living

CalFresh-Better Food for Better Living

Andrea Bricker, MS, RD

California Department of Aging

status of older adults in california
Status of Older Adults in California
  • Many seniors are struggling to make ends meet.
  • Living longer and outliving their savings.
  • Lost their job, face job discrimination or physically unable to find jobs.
  • Impacting the ability to access nutritious food.
food insecurity
Food Insecurity:
  • Food insecurity: means the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.
  • Nationally, 28 M adults >50 and older face some level of food insecurity

Sources: Food Insecurity in the United States: Definition of Hunger and Food Insecurity. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Center.

Ziliak, J.P. & Gundersen, C. Food Insecurity Among Older Adults. AARP Foundation. August 2011.

food insecurity how does california measure up
Food Insecurity: How Does California Measure Up?
  • California ranks 18th in food insecurity rates among seniors.
  • Food insecurity rates of Californian’s >50 & older
    • 14.59% Marginally food insecure
    • 7.78% Food insecure
    • 2.62% Very low food security

Sources: Ziliak, J.P., & Gundersen, C. Senior hunger in the United States: Differences across states and rural and urban areas. University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Special Reports. September 2009.

Ziliak, J.P. & Gundersen, C. Food Insecurity Among Older Adults. AARP Foundation. August 2011.

how does food insecurity impact older adults
How Does Food Insecurity Impact Older Adults?
  • Lower food and nutrient intakes
  • Report fair or poor health
  • Higher body mass index (BMI)
    • Risk factor for chronic disease
      • Heart disease, hypertension, cancer & diabetes
  • Report higher rates of diabetes & depression
  • More likely to be socially isolated, hospitalized more often & more activity of daily living impairments
  • Functionally impaired as if they are chronologically 14 years older

Lloyd, J. & Wellman, N.S. Food Insecurity and Older Adults Brief. AARP Round Table. September 2011.

what is calfresh
What is CalFresh?
  • Federally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • The new name for the Food Stamp Program.
    • October 2011 – Name change/rebranding
      • “Cal” – Medi-Cal, CalWorks, etc
      • “Fresh”-
        • Improved accessibility –
          • Statewide hotline, apply online
        • Simple-
          • New rules that make it easier to apply, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card
        • Fresh-
          • Encourages healthy eating/lifestyle
        • Empowerment
  • Program helps low-income families purchase nutritious foods by increasing their purchasing power.
calfresh is a program that can help families
CalFresh is a program that can help families:
  • Purchase healthy food
  • Use money to pay for other basic needs
  • Benefits the economy
  • Easy to use
  • Can be used in restaurants (in some areas)
california has poor participation rates in calfresh
California has Poor Participation Rates in CalFresh
  • California ranks last for participation for all eligible people at 53%.
  • 10% of eligible older adults participate in CalFresh.
  • Approximately 444,000 older adults who are eligible to receive CalFresh benefits.
  • Cunnyngham, K.E. Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2009. United States Department of Agriculture. December 2011.
  • Cunnyngham, Karen. State Trends in SNAP Participation Rates Among Elderly Individuals Preliminary Results. Mathematica Policy Research. October 2009.
  • Characteristics of Target Group for AB 69: CalFresh Eligible Households with a Social Security Recipient 60+. California Food Policy Advocates. California Food Policy Advocates. August 2011.
calfresh helps stimulate the economy
CalFresh Helps Stimulate the Economy
  • Every dollar in SNAP benefits generates $1.79 in economic activity.
    • Taxable goods lead to state/county revenue
    • Supports business and farmers
    • CalFresh participants:
      • Purchase ~$1B of retail food
      • Generate ~3,300 farm jobs
    • Use money to pay for other basic needs

Hanson, Kenneth. The Food Assistance National Input-Output Multiplier (FANIOM) Model and Stimulus Effects of SNAP. ERR-103.U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Econ. Res. Serv. October 2010.

CalFresh Fact Sheet 2011. California Department of Public Health - Network for a Healthy California.

potential economic benefit of calfresh
Potential Economic Benefit of CalFresh

Shimada, Tia. Lost Dollars, Empty Plates – The Impact of CalFresh Participation on State and Local Economies. California Food Policy Advocates. February 2012.

* Dollars are rounded

calfresh benefit is simple to use
CalFresh Benefit is Simple to Use
  • Electronic Benefit Transfer Card
    • Similar to ATM card
  • Use at participating stores that accept CalFresh benefits
    • Other:
      • Certified Farmer’s Markets
      • Restaurant Meals Programs
        • Only elderly, homeless & disabled
regulations that make it easier to apply
Regulations that make it easier to apply
  • No resource limits
  • Elimination of statewide finger printing
  • Semi-annual reporting…coming soon
  • Funds Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) under Title V of the Older Americans Act shall be excluded as income only


WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE SECTION 10830; MANUAL OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES (MPP) SECTIONS 63-300.451, 63-505.14, 63-601.12, 63-601.13, and 63-601.14; Assembly Bill (AB) 6 (Chapter 501, Statutes of 2011)

42 U.S.C. § 3056(g); MPP § 63-507(a)(15)

senior regulations make it easier to apply for calfresh
Senior Regulations Make it Easier to Apply for CalFresh
  • Waive face-to-face interview
  • Income Deductions
  • Expense deductions
    • Shelter- No cap on shelter deduction
    • Utility- up to $329
    • Medical-
      • A household with at least one elderly disabled household member can also deduct the member’s non-reimbursed medical expenses over $35.
  • Recertification every two years
    • Unless there is a change in income/deductions
  • Restaurant Meals Program
    • In some areas
eligibility guidelines
Eligibility Guidelines
  • Someone in the household (HH) must be a U.S. citizen or meet certain immigration requirements and meet all other CalFresh eligibility requirements.
    • A “household” is a person living alone or a group of people living together (they do not have to be related) who buy food and make meals together.
    • All children born in the U.S. can get CalFresh if they qualify, no matter where their parents were born.
eligibility cont d
Eligibility, cont’d
  • The HH must have a gross monthly income ≤130% Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) and net income 100% FPG with the following exceptions:
    • HH with elderly or disabled:
      • Gross income ≤165% FPG
    • HH with ONLY elderly or disabled:
      • No gross income limit/Net income <100% FPG
    • People who receive Supplemental Security Income/Supplemental Security Payment (SSI/SSP) in California are not eligible.
      • You can receive other retirement benefits and be eligible (SSA, SSDI)
      • Contact your social security office to determine the type of benefit received.
  • 2012 FPG:

United States Department of Health and Human Services.2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines.

what is the individual benefit
What is the individual benefit?
  • Monthly benefit
    • Minimum of $16

the benefit amount is not worth the effort
The Benefit Amount is Not Worth the Effort?
  • $16 doesn’t seem like much but:
    • That’s $16 more a month to purchase other basic necessities
    • $192/year:
      • Save it up to use at Certified Farmers Markets or a holiday
    • Use coupons and stretch the benefit
    • “Would you throw away a coupon for $16 off at a grocery store?”
where to apply
Where to Apply?
  • Call the CalFresh Hotline at:
    • 1-877-847-3663
    • Contact your county office
  • Go online and apply at:
what happens next
What Happens Next?
  • Once the application is turned in:
    • The county CalFresh office will contact applicant for an interview
      • County determines eligibility
    • Documentation
    • Once the application is approved benefits will be received within 30 days!
    • Emergency benefits are also available

General Market Brochure

Senior Brochure

Download brochures on line at:

contact information
Contact Information
  • Andrea Bricker, MS, RD

California Department of Aging