Using your CalFresh benefits
CalFresh benefits are deposited electronically onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The EBT card works the same as an ATM card and is accepted at most grocery stores, at many farmers' markets, convenience stores, and even select online retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart. The EBT card can be used at any store or market that displays the Quest logo.
Need to check your EBT card balance?
- Visit the EBT Website
- Access your account at benefitscal.com
- Call 877-328-9677
- Any remaining balances on your EBT card carry over each month
- Benefits are removed/expunged from the EBT card after nine months without use. These benefits are not replaceable.
Where is EBT Accepted?
- Search online for all the places that accept CalFresh cards at the California EBT
- Use the EBT Locator Map to see stores near you that accept EBT.
- Visit the the CDSS EBT Online website for more information on using your EBT card online.
- Farmers Markets in Sonoma County that accept CalFresh EBT Cards. Some markets will match your CalFresh purchase amount dollar-for-dollar, for up to $10 or $20. The program is called Market Match.
- In all states and the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands (except Puerto Rico)
EBT General Information:
- For additional information on the EBT card, visit the CDSS EBT Card website.
Cal Fresh can be used to buy:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans, fish, poultry, meat
- Rice, bread, tortillas, cereal
- Milk, cheese
- Seeds and plants that produce food
CalFresh cannot be used to buy:
- Alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes
- Non-food items
- pet food, toilet paper, diapers, soap, etc.
- Vitamins, medicine
- Energy drinks
- Hot foods or foods prepared in the store
The county will never ask for your EBT card information or PIN and you should never share this information as it could lead to stolen benefits.
EBT scams can occur via text, email, fraudulent websites, or phone calls. If you have experienced suspicious EBT activity, please report the occurrence to the EBT Helpline at 877-328-6977.
EBT Skimming or Electronic theft occurs when your CalFresh benefits are taken by an unauthorized use of benefits without the use of your physical EBT card. If you believe your benefits have been skimmed, follow the steps below to report the unauthorized use and make a claim:
- You must report the loss of benefits within ten days!
- To report the loss of benefits, call the EBT Helpline at 877-328-6977. EBT helpline staff will provide claim dispute numbers for each unauthorized use.
- Complete form EBT 2259 - Report Of Electronic Theft Of Cash Aid
- Submit completed EBT 2259 to Economic Assistance office by phone or in-person
- By phone (877) 699-6868 Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m-3:30 p.m.
- In person to 2550 Paulin Drive in Santa Rosa, or 5350 Old Redwood Highway, STE 100 Petaluma. Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(Disaster or single household misfortune)
Current CalFresh recipients may apply for partial or total replacement of the value of food lost or spoiled if they are affected by any one of the following:
- Local disaster, such as a fire, flood or earthquake, or
- Power outage, planned or unexpected, or
- Household misfortune, such as a house fire, resulting in loss of food purchased with CalFresh benefits.
To apply for replacement benefits, the household has 10 days to report the food loss by phone or in person and to complete a CF 303 form in English or a CF 303 form in Spanish. The replacement benefits may be a partial amount or up to the maximum one-month allotment for the household. Destroyed EBT cards may also be replaced.