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Application Process

 Step 1: Explore CalFresh Eligibility

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Take our CalFresh prescreen eligibility survey below to see if you appear to be eligible! 
You have the right to apply to CalFresh, even if you do not appear to be eligible. If you have questions about prescreen results, please contact our team at

Step 2: Submit an Application

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Want help applying? Book an appointment with a CalFresh advocate today! Spring 2024 appointments available January 22 - April 25.
Need help outside of the appointment times listed? Contact our team at
Prefer to apply on your own?
The online application takes 10 minutes to complete and features a chat option to get assistance with your CalFresh application. Note: If you already have benefits in another county and want to transfer them to Merced simply follow this link to learn more about Inter-County Transfers (ICT).

 Step 3: Submit Verification Forms

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Required documents can be submitted:
Note: You can view the most common verification forms here.

Step 4: Complete Your Interview



You will be assigned a caseworker along with an interview data and time, all of this information will be sent to you via mail. The county will call at that time and date to conduct a phone interview.


Note: This can also be found on your BenefitsCal Portal once you link your case.

Phone Interview

Phone Interview

During your phone interview with the county, your caseworker will:
  • verify the information on your application
  • inform you about your rights/responsibilities
  • request specific documentation
  • determine approval or denial of benefits
  • determine your benefit amount

Don't Miss the Call

Don't Miss the Call

The county does not have a specific number they call you from, so be on the lookout for unfamiliar numbers, including unknown or blocked numbers, and pick those up, as it could be the county!

 Step 5: Receive Benefits

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If you are approved for your CalFresh benefits, you will receive an approval letter.
Note: When you receive expedited services, you will receive an approval letter with pending verification. You MUST submit your pending verification forms within the next 10 business days to receive benefits the following month.
Your benefit amount will be disbursed within the first ten days of every month.

 Step 6: Submit the SAR 7 and Annual Recertification

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CalFresh recipients are required to report their income, expenses, and other financial changes every 6 month and year mark to keep benefits.
Check out to easily maintain benefits! Visit our BenefitsCal page for more information or ask our team for assistance!

How to Apply Video Guide: