California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)

The California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is a state funded program that provides benefits equivalent to CalFresh to qualified immigrants who are not eligible for CalFresh.  [ACL 23-57; see Immigrant Eligibility for CalFresh.]

Legal noncitizens of the United States can be eligible for CFAP if they are not eligible for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits, based solely on their immigration status under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as amended by the Food Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2002.  [Welf. & Inst. Code § 18930(b)(1); MPP § 63-403.1.] Examples of persons eligible for CFAP are Lawful Permanent Residents who have not resided in the United States for 5 years or worked at least 40 quarters, Parolees, and Conditional Entrants.  [ACL 23-57.] Parolees must be paroled into the United States for a duration of at least one year, but have not resided in the United States for 5 years.  [ACL 24-27.]  The DT Code is sufficient verification of parolee status and the county cannot ask for additional verification beyond the DT Code.  [Id.]

Battered immigrant spouse or child or the parent or child of the battered immigrant, and Cuban-Haitian Entrants, are also eligible for CFAP.  [Welf. & Inst. Code § 18930(b)(2).]  In addition, victims of severe trafficking victims, and “U” visa (crime victims) applicants who are ineligible for federal CalFresh benefits on the basis of their immigration status are eligible for CFAP. [Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 18945; ACL 06-60 and 08-15; ACIN I-41-07; see MPP § 63-403.11 (placing trafficking and crime victims program as part of CFAP).]  Procedures for determining eligibility based on severe trafficking or U Visa application are located at MPP §§ 42-431.23 – .6.  [MPP § 63-403.11 (Incorporating Manual of Policy and Procedure Division 42 rules Trafficking and Crime Victims Protection Act for CFAP trafficking victims and U Visa applicants eligibility).]

In general, CalFresh program rules apply to CFAP.  [MPP § 63-403.2.]

In general, CFAP recipients are subject to the Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) rules, unless waived not applicable.  [Welf. & Inst. Code § 18930.5; MPP § 63-403.3.] However, trafficking victims, crime victims and domestic violence survivors are not subject to the ABAWD rules.  [MPP § 63-403.31.]  However, effective October 1, 2025, work registration and Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents rules will no longer apply to CFAP.  {ACL 23-57.]

Trafficking victims, crime victims and domestic violence survivors are not required to have a Social Security Number to be eligible for CFAP.  [MPP § 63-403.211.]

CFAP incorporates the sponsor deeming rules for the CalFresh Program.  [Welf. & Inst. Code § 18930(d)(1).]  However, sponsor deeming for CFAP is limited to 3 years. [MPP § 63-403.2.]  CFAP also has additional exemptions from sponsor deeming for death of the sponsor, disability of the sponsor as defined for purposes of an exemption from CalWORKs welfare-to-work requirements in Welfare and Institutions Code § 11320.3(a)(3)(A), victim of abuse by the sponsor, or the spouse of the sponsor if the spouse is living with the sponsor.  [Welf. & Inst. Code § 18930(b)(3).]

Humanitarian parolees for less than one year are ineligible for CFAP, while humanitarian parolees for one year or more may be eligible for CFAP or CalFresh.  [ACIN I-40-22, I-40-22E.]

Applicants who are found to be ineligible for CalFresh must be evaluated for California Food Assistance Program eligibility before being denied.  [ACL 23-57; ACL 23-79.]

Effective October 1, 2025, CFAP will expand to cover persons age 55 or older regardless of their immigration status. [See ACL 23-57.]  Applicants can apply for benefits under the CFAP expansion beginning September 1, 2025.  [Id.]  An informing notice will be sent to CalFresh and CFAP household with previously excluded household members age 55 or older at least 30 days prior to implementation of the CFAP expansion.  [Id.]  Counties must offer to add any newly eligible noncitizen household members at recertifications due in September, 2025.  [Id.]  Households may begin to request to add a previously excluded household member in September, 2025.  [Id.]  A new application is not required to add a newly eligible noncitizen to an existing CalFresh of CFAP household.  [Id.]

Beginning in September, 2025, if the county has contact with a household that contains excluded noncitizens, the county may offer to add any newly eligible noncitizens effective October 1, 2025.  [Id.] Counties must add newly eligible noncitizens mid-period on request.  [Id.]  Counties must add a previously excluded household member at semi-annual report.

For households that have both CalFresh and CFAP recipients, the CFAP amount is calculated by 1) calculating what the household would receive if all included members were eligible for CalFresh, 2) calculate the CalFresh allotment with the CFAP recipients treated as nonhousehold members or excluded household members, and 3) subtracting 1 and 2 to determine the CFAP amount.  [ACL 23-57.]

Beginning October 1, 2025, for households with some members who receive CalFresh and other who receive CFAP, CalFresh and CFAP overissuances must be calculated, established, and collected separately from each other.  [ACL 23-73.]  Counties must create separate recovery accounts, and must send separate overissuance notices for each program.  [Id.]  Counties must apply the current overissuance collection threshold to each claim.  [Id.]  Collection will be at the appropriate rate (5% or $10 for administrative errors, 10% for inadvertent household errors) for the CalFresh and CFAP claims individually.  [Id.]

Effective October 1, 2025, benefit reduction to collect an overissuance must correspond to the program.  [Id.]  CalFresh benefits will not be used to recoup a CFAP overissuance and visa versa.  If a household that has collection by benefit reduction changes from CalFresh to CFAP or visa versa, the household must sign a new repayment agreement to change the source of recoupment.  [Id.]

Effective October 1, 2025, counties must submit CFAP overissuances to the Franchise Tax Board for collection.  [Id.]  However, if the current or former CFAP household member does not have a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), counties do not submit the overissuance to the Franchise Tax Board.  [Id.]