63-153     Citizenship Status and Eligibility for CalFresh


Table of Content



Eligibility to the Federal SNAP (CalFresh)


Noncitizen’s Eligibility


Citizenship Status


Verification of Citizenship





Eligibility to the Federal SNAP (CalFresh)

Only the following persons are eligible to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), CalFresh in California:

·   A United States (U.S.) Citizen;

·   A Naturalized U.S. citizen;

·   A “qualified noncitizen”;

·   An individual who is:

o  An American Indian born in Canada who possesses at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race to whom the provisions of section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1359) apply; or

o  A member of an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or

o  Lawfully residing in the U.S. and was a member of a Hmong or Highland Laotian tribe at the time that the tribe rendered assistance to U.S. personnel.  This includes:

§  The spouse, or surviving spouse of the Hmong or Highland Laotian individual, or

§  An unmarried dependent child under the age of 18 or if a full-time student under the age of 22;

§  An unmarried child under the age of 18 or if a full time student under the age of 22 of such a deceased Hmong or Highland Laotian, provided the child was dependent upon him or her at the time of his or her death; or

§  An unmarried disabled child age 18 or older if the child was disabled and dependent on the person prior to the child's 18th birthday.


Noncitizen’s Eligibility

A noncitizen has to be a “qualified noncitizen”, and must meet one of the “Conditions of Eligibility for Qualified Noncitizens”, to be eligible to participate in the Federal CalFresh.  [Refer to Section 63-154]

Noncitizens that are not eligible for federal CalFresh benefits, based solely on their immigration status, are eligible for the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) if their legal status can be verified.

NOTE:  Federal eligibility to CalFresh is based on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 as amended by the Food Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2002 of the U.S.


Citizenship Status

To be considered a U.S. citizen, the applicant must:

·      Have been born in:

o  One of the 50 states,

o  The District of Columbia,

o  Puerto Rico,

o  Guam,

o  The Virgin Islands, or

·      Be a naturalized citizen,

·      Have Acquired Citizenship (Children born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent, or

·      Have Derivative Citizenship.

Derivative citizenship is conveyed to children (under 18) through:

o  The naturalization of parents, or

o  To spouses of citizens at or during marriage, or

o  To foreign-born children adopted by U.S. citizen parents, provided certain conditions are met. 

Once a child is 18 they must obtain status as an adult to the extent they haven’t already derived citizenship through their parents.

Additionally, a citizen of:

·      American Samoa, or

·      Swain’s Island, or

·      The Northern Mariana Islands

Residing in the U.S. is considered to have met the U.S. citizenship eligibility requirements.


Verification of Citizenship

Unless questionable, the applicant’s statement on the application form should be sufficient verification of citizenship.

The applicant’s statement regarding citizenship is considered questionable when the claim of citizenship is:

·      Inconsistent with statements made by the applicant or with other information on the application or previous applications.

·      Inconsistent with information received by another source.

Refer to Section 63-117.25 for acceptable verification of citizenship.