Authorized representatives

An authorized representative is a non-household member who can apply for benefits, complete work registration forms, complete required reporting or use the Electronic Benefits Card to purchase the household’s food.  [7 U.S.C. § 2020(e)(7); 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(n)(1); MPP § 63-402.61; ACL 19-55.] The authorized representative can do anything the CalFresh household recipient can do. The authorized representative can be anyone the applicant chooses to “represent” them. The local CalFresh office cannot force the CalFresh household to have an authorized representative. An eligible CalFresh household can also choose to have an authorized representative pick up its EBT card, and buy its groceries. [7 C.F.R. §§ 273.2(n)(2) and (3); MPP §§ 63-402.612, 63-402.613.]

If a household wants someone to be its authorized representative, the head of the household needs to inform the CalFresh office. This is done by writing on the CalFresh application, recertification form, on a separate form developed by the county or by a note saying that a particular person has permission to be the authorized representative of the CalFresh household. [7 U.S.C. § 2020(e)(7); 7 C.F.R. §§ 273.2(n)(1),(2); MPP § 63-402.611(a); ACL 19-55.]

If an applicant lives in a drug or alcohol treatment center, a staff member of the treatment center must apply for the applicant as their authorized representative. [7 C.F.R. §§ 273.2(n)(1)(ii), 273.11(e)(1); MPP § 63-402.62.]

There are several groups of people who cannot be designated as ARs including county employees who are involved in eligibility determinations, employees of retailers authorized to accept CalFresh, employees of homeless meal providers authorized to accept CalFresh and federally funded application assisters.  [ACL 19-55.] In addition, an individual disqualified for an intentional program violation cannot act as an authorized representative during the period of disqualification, The only exception to this is if the individual is the only adult member of the household, and the county welfare department has determined that no other representative is available. [7 U.S.C. § 2020(e)(7); 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(n)(4)(B); MPP § 63-402.633.]  If an authorized representative misrepresents a household’s circumstances by knowingly providing false information about the household, or uses the CalFresh benefits improperly, the county may disqualify that representative from the CalFresh Program for up to one year. However, the representative is not disqualified from getting CalFresh Benefits, only from being an authorized representative. [7 U.S.C. § 2020(e)(7); 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(n)(4)(C); MPP § 63-402.651.]

Counties must inform all CalFresh applicants and recipients at recertification of the right to designate an AR.  The household can designate an AR on the CalFresh application, recertification form or a separate form developed by the county.  A household may designate an AR at any time during the certification period.  [ACL 19-55.]

When a household designates an AR, the household is liable for any overissuance, even if the AR provided incorrect information.  [Id.]

Households must be allowed to designate an emergency AR to obtain benefits and purchase food for a particular month.  This designation must be made using a county form or a written statement signed by the responsible household member and the emergency AR.  [Id.]