California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

What is CFAP?

The State of California provides state-funded CalFresh food benefits through the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for qualified non-citizens who do not qualify for federal benefits. CFAP benefits are issued through the same case as federal CalFresh benefits.

Current CFAP Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to CFAP, non-citizens must currently be ineligible for federal food stamp benefits solely due to their immigration status under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996.

Non-citizens who are eligible to CFAP benefits indefinitely are non-citizens who:

  • Have been legally residing in the United States as a LPR non-citizen prior to August 22, 1996; or
  • Are battered or abused or
  • Are qualified non-citizens who are no longer federally eligible under the seven-year time limited federal eligibility (all except Amerasians or conditional entrants);
  • Are otherwise eligible for the program but were sponsored into the United States on or after August 22, 1996 and one of the following verified situations apply:
    • The sponsor has died; or
    • The sponsor is disabled; or
    • The applicant, after entry into the United States is a victim of abuse by the sponsor or the spouse of the sponsor if the spouse is living with the sponsor

Expansion of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 

New CFAP Eligibility Requirements

Assembly Bill 135, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-2022 Human Services Omnibus Trailer Bill, initiated an expansion of CFAP by allocating funds to begin the automation and implementation for future age-based expansions of CFAP eligibility to immigrants who are excluded from CalFresh based solely on their immigration status.

In 2022, the Governor and the Legislature passed a budget that included funding to expand CFAP and ensure that California will be the first state in the nation to provide food benefits to all Californians who are income-eligible and aged 55 years or older, regardless of their immigration status (Assembly Bill 178, Budget Act of 2022).

Additionally, Senate Bill 187, (2021-2022), does not require CFAP applicants to provide a social security number if they do not have one and it also eliminates the work requirement for CFAP participants when the CFAP expansion is implemented.

Important! This benefit is not available yet. To prepare for the implementation of this expansion, the CDSS, counties, the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), the California Statewide Automated Welfare System (CalSAWS), and stakeholders will be involved in an intensive implementation planning process, including policy, data security, automation, training, customer experience, and outreach plan development.  CDSS will post implementation related meetings, webinars, and materials, as well as regular implementation updates, to this webpage in an effort to provide all interested partners with the latest information on progress made toward implementation.

The CFAP expansion will be implemented on October 1, 2025 .

Implementation Updates and Materials


CFAP Expansion Advisory Workgroups

All Stakeholder Workgroup

The upcoming All Stakeholder Webinar is on November 30, 2023, at 10:00 AM. You can register at the following link:

Advisory Workgroup Kick-Off 

Data Technical Workgroup

Outreach Workgroup

Participant Experience Workgroup

  • More information to follow!