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CalFresh benefits expand to serve seniors, people with disabilities

The County of Santa Cruz recently announced the expansion of the CalFresh food assistance program to serve people who receive Supplemental Security Income/Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits began June 1.

“Providing CalFresh food assistance to individuals who receive SSI/SSP benefits is an important step in reducing food insecurity and supporting health and wellness for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Ellen Timberlake, County Human Services Director.

CalFresh benefits are being offered with no change or reduction to SSI/SSP benefits, and the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department is prepared to help eligible SSI recipients apply for this historic expansion, which could serve up to 5,400 new clients in Santa Cruz County.

CalFresh food benefits supplement household budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, which has been shown to improve health outcomes. CalFresh food benefits are delivered on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) debit card and can be used at any grocery store and farmers market that accepts EBT. Food benefits for one person range from $15-$192 per month. Households that already receive CalFresh and currently have a member of their household that has been excluded because they receive SSI do not need to apply. The County will contact those households at the time of their next CalFresh reporting date.

Currently Santa Cruz County serves 23,500 individuals with CalFresh benefits.

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