Social Security card

An estimated 850 low-income Napa Valley residents with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits will soon be eligible for food stamps, the county says.

That’s thanks to Assembly Bill 1811, which was passed last legislative session and takes effect in June. It allows Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to be eligible for CalFresh, the state program that administers federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, commonly known as food stamps.

Current policy dating to 1974 dictates that SSI recipients can’t enroll in CalFresh because they receive an additional $10 per month for food, Perez said, but that’s not much money anymore.

Soon, SSI recipients will be are eligible for CalFresh for the first time in 45 years, said Lynn Perez, head of the county Self Sufficiency Services Division.

“We’re excited about this,” Perez said.

CalFresh benefits stretch food budgets, allowing individuals and families to afford nutritious food, including more fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods. The amount of benefits a household receives is dependent on household size countable income, and monthly expenses, such as housing and utilities.

The program issues monthly benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Food may be purchased at any grocery store or farmers market that accepts EBT cards.

Are you eligible?

You should be eligible for CalFresh if you receive federal Supplemental Security Income benefits, which are administered to Californians through the State Supplementary Payment (SSP) program. Low-income Californians who are blind, with a disability, or at least 65 years of age may be eligible for SSI and SSP.

You can apply for Social Security benefits by visiting the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Napa office at 1850 Soscol Ave., Suite 102, or calling 1-800-772-1213 (hearing-impaired readers may call 1-800-325-0778). You can also visit: bit.ly/2J9dTuD.

You can apply for CalFresh by calling the county Self Sufficiency Division at 707-253-4511 or visiting the state’s benefits website at c4yourself.com. English applications are available online at bit.ly/2iKdzVo and Spanish applications are available at bit.ly/2H8zgZA.

Applications may be submitted to the Self Sufficiency Division by faxing documents to 707-253-6095 or in person at: 2751 Napa Valley Corporate Dr, Building A108, Napa; 4381 Broadway St., Suite 101, American Canyon; 1705 Washington St., Calistoga; or the Comprehensive Services or Older Adults office in Napa at 650 Imperial Way.

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Public Safety Reporter

Courtney Teague is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She can be reached at 707-256-2221. You can follow her reporting on Twitter and Facebook, or send her anonymous tip at: tinyurl.com/anonymous-tipbox-courtney.