The federal government has implemented multiple food aid programs for low-income families, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps. Despite being a federal program, the administration is handled by each state individually, resulting in different names and regulations. In California, for instance, the program is called CalFresh, and undocumented immigrants are not eligible to apply.
However, the California government introduced the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to extend food stamps to non-citizens who do not meet the federal benefit criteria. Initially, the plan only included immigrants with legal immigration status. Still, the passing of the budget bill that proposed an extension could make government-fund CalFresh food benefits accessible to immigrants above 55 years old.
The California government aims to allocate funds for the automation and implementation of expansions of CFAP eligibility for immigrants who are excluded from CalFresh due to their immigration status. With a budget of $35 million for 2022-23, the expansion may increase to $113.4 million by 2025-26. However, benefits may only become available in several years.
CFAP benefits come in the same format as federal CalFresh benefits; they have the same eligibility requirements minus the immigration status verification. To be eligible for the program, undocumented immigrants above the age of 55 should look out for a CFAP implementation date. At present, it is not possible to make a request.
For more information on California food stamp programs and eligibility requirements, please visit the California government website.