Petaluma People Services Center is hoping to raise awareness for many of our residents in Petaluma who are 60 or older, to improve access and alter attitudes about CalFresh, the state name for the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  More than 3 million Californians receive monthly CalFresh benefits, but yet only 10 percent of eligible seniors do. Only 5 percent of the state’s seniors receiving Social Security benefits who are also eligible for CalFresh are receiving benefits, according to a study by Mathematica Policy Research.

There is a lot of confusion about who is eligible, but if you have a limited income you may be eligible.  You are NOT eligible if you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but Social Security Retirement Benefits are OK.   You can have savings, a house and cars and still qualify.  Make sure when you call PPSC’s Information & Assistance Team you tell them about your medical bills and housing costs that may be deducted from your income.

CalFresh benefits are now loaded monthly on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which looks and acts like an ATM debit card.  You can use your EBT card at most grocery stores and at both Farmers Markets in Petaluma.  Most Calfresh participants get more than $100 each month.

We know that many low-income seniors face hard decisions choosing between buying food or medicine. With CalFresh, you are choosing both health and stretching your dollars, this is a choice you can make.  Food insecurity and obesity are not mutually exclusive, tight budgets may force you to consume high caloric foods that lack vital nutrients.

For more information or help with your application contact PPSC’s Information & Assistance Team – 765-8488

Gray Matters: is a monthly blog for seniors in the Petaluma area, prepared and distribute by Petaluma People Services Center.  Celebrating 40 years of service, PPSC is dedicated to improving the social and economic health of our community by providing programs that strengthen the dignity and self-sufficiency of the individual.