CalFresh Frequently Asked Questions
You can use your EBT card a soon as the application is approved, benefits are added and you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Report the lost, stolen or damaged card as soon you can. It will be blocked so the benefits cannot be used by anyone else.
- By phone: (877) 328-9677. You’ll be sent a replacement card by mail, which can take 3-10 business days.
- Online: ebt.ca.gov
- In-Person: Your card will be replaced immediately at your visit to:
Economic Assistance, 2550 Paulin Drive, Santa Rosa, OR
Human Services South County Center, 5350 Old Redwood Highway, Suite 100, Petaluma
Unfortunately, no. Benefits cannot be replaced if the card is stolen or used without your permission.
If my benefits are stolen electronically and my card was not lost or stolen, can my benefits be replaced?
Possibly if the theft occurred electronically. There are two types of electronic theft of benefits:
- Skimming, which is use of electronic equipment to capture a recipient’s electronic benefits card information.
- Scamming, which is deceiving a recipient to disclose their account information.
If you believe you have been impacted by electronic skimming or scamming, you will need to report the loss to the county within 10 days of the electronic theft or your claim may be denied.
How to Report Suspected Electronic Theft
1. Download and complete the:
2. If you were scammed, you must also complete the:
3. Submit forms:
- Online at: BENEFITSCAL.COM
- By fax (707) 565-2929
- Mail to County of Sonoma Human Services Department, Economic Assistance, P.O. Box 1539, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
- In person at one of our offices during in person hours or the drop boxes after hours
If you cannot download the forms or require assistance, you can report the theft:
- By calling (877) 699-6868 Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
- In person at one of our offices during in person hours
For electronic CalFresh theft, you do not need to file a police report.
If approved, the amount replaced will be based on your allotment amount, the county cannot replace more money than you are eligible to receive, even if the amount stolen is more than your monthly allotment.
- Don’t share your PIN with anyone.
- Never write it on the card or anything kept with the card.
- Never keep your Social Security number with your card or PIN to prevent identity theft.
Call the customer service number on the back of your CalFresh EBT card: (877) 328-9677.
CalFresh benefit amounts vary based on household size, earned and unearned income, housing expenses, daycare costs, child support payments and in some cases, medical costs. Your amount is specific to your income and situation.
In all states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (except Puerto Rico).
Do I have to use all my CalFresh benefits in month I get them, or do they carry over into the next month?
Benefits left on your CalFresh card at the end of the month WILL be there for you the next month.
At the beginning of the month, based on case number.
For example, if your case number ends in a 3, your benefits are loaded on the 3rd day of the month.
You are the only one allowed to use your card and PIN number.
It is illegal to let someone else use your card or benefits. However, Economic Assistance can set up an authorized representative account for someone you wish to have access to your CalFresh account. That person will get a separate card, account number and PIN number. That way, CalFresh can track which card is used to access your account.
Federal regulations prohibit any store or vendor from charging a fee for using your CalFresh benefits.
However, some stores may charge for bags and that charge cannot be paid for with CalFresh benefits. If you also receive a cash benefit amount and have a balance available at the time of purchase, the cash portion can pay the bag fee.
If CalFresh determines that you received too much in CalFresh benefits, you will be required to pay those benefits back.
This is called an over-payment. Even if the error was determined the fault of the CalFresh program, you will need to pay back those benefits.
If this happens, you will be notified in writing and provided options for repayment, including a reduction in your regular allotment each month until the balance has been paid. To help prevent over-payments, please report your income and household information.
Contact an agency on the list of other food programs in Sonoma County.
They may be able to help until your CalFresh benefits are added again.
Contact Economic Assistance and ask for an inter-county transfer. You shouldn’t need to reapply in your new county.
Call Economic Assistance Service Center at (877) 699-6868.