Your CalFresh could have been discontinued for a number of reasons. Sometimes people find out when they get a notice in the mail, but other times they find out when they try to use their EBT card and there's no deposit as expected.
Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do if you were discontinued:
1. Find out the reason why #
First, look on the notice that the county sent you. They have to send you a notice, and it should come either by mail and/or online.
To find your notice online, look on your account at either BenefitsCal.com or MyBenefitsCalWIN.org.
Some common reasons why people get discontinued:
- Not submitting the 6-month report, called a SAR-7
- Not doing the annual recertification/renewal
- Submitting one of the above reports, but with missing information
- Submitting a report and being found no longer eligible (for example if your income went up)
2. Contact your county office #
If you think you should not have been discontinued, can't find the notice, or have other questions, start by contacting your county. They can explain what happened, and also tell you how to fix the issue if that's possible.
Contact the county immediately if you submitted a SAR-7 or renewal, but your notice says you didn't. This may be an error that the county needs to look at.
In some cases, the county can "restore" your case if you take action quickly after you have been discontinued.
Find your county's phone number here.
3. File an appeal (fair hearing request) if you disagree with the decision #
If you believe your benefits were discontinued unfairly or due to a misunderstanding or error you can appeal the decision. For example, if you did submit a recertification and all requested documents but cannot reach anyone at the county, you might want to submit an appeal/fair hearing request.
There are instructions on how to do this in your notice (mailed or online).
You can also file an appeal online with this state online form.
Your county should reach out to you and offer to discuss and (often) fix the issue. This is sometimes called an "agency conference."
If you cannot resolve the issue directly with the county, you will go to a full fair hearing. It will be either on the phone (often), online, or in person and there will be an administrative law judge as well as a representative of the county. You will be able to explain why you disagree with the county decision and submit any proof you have (like screenshots of the website if you have proof of uploading requested documents.)
Legal Services of Northern California has a great page of fair hearing tips to help.
4. Re-apply #
If your situation has changed since your benefits were discontinued (for example, if your income has decreased or your household size has increased), you might be eligible for CalFresh again. You can re-apply at any time online, by mail, fax, or in person.
The easiest way to re-apply is online at GetCalfresh.org.
5. Get other help with food #
While you're working on resolving your CalFresh situation (or if you are no longer eligible, but still need help gettinf food) consider finding your local food bank or pantry. You can find your local food bank here.
You can also call 211, which can tell you of local places to get free emergency food.
Sources and more information #
- Representing Yourself at a State Hearing: Tips to Succeed
(Legal Services of Northern California)
- Requesting a fair hearing (Calfresh.Guide)
- Restoration of CalFresh benefits after curing the basis for termination
Contact us if you have questions or see a problem or suggestion for the info above.