After the household files its application

Once a county receives a minimally completed application — i.e., name, address and signature — the “clock” begins to run, and continues to run even while the applicant works with the county on satisfying the interview and verification requirements.

Counties are held to one of two application processing time standards:

The “normal” 30-day processing standard

Once the CalFresh office that serves the applicant’s county gets the application, it should determine eligibility “as soon as possible,” but cannot take more than 30 days to issue CalFresh benefits, if eligible. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(g)(1); MPP § 63-301.1.] For a review of the various timely application processing rules for CalFresh, see ACIN I-14-11.

This 30-day standard applies even if the applicant has applied for CalWORKs or General Assistance (GA) at the same time. This is true despite other programs needing more than 30 days to determine eligibility. (For related information, see the section explaining how CalWORKs diversion payments should not interfere with CalFresh applications.)

The “emergency” (expedited) 3-day standard

If eligible for emergency (expedited) CalFresh benefits, the county welfare office has three days to give applicants CalFresh benefits. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(i)(3)(i); MPP § 63-301.5.] For a review of the expedited services timely processing rules, see ACIN I-14-11.

The earlier an applicant signs an application form and turns it in to the CalFresh office, the more CalFresh benefits he will get. If benefits are granted, the applicant is owed benefits starting from the day the signed application was submitted. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(a)(2); MPP § 63-503.13.]