GetCalFresh supports applicants through the CalFresh (SNAP) enrollment process.
Our goal is to fully close the CalFresh participation gap, and ensure that every eligible Californian can have a dignified experience accessing much-needed food benefits.
Today, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP, or food stamps) provides $70 billion to food eligible Americans each year. Historically, California has had one of the lowest participation rates in the program, and there are nearly 2 million Californians who qualify for SNAP but are not receiving benefits.
As one of the most successful government interventions, studies show that SNAP helps alleviate poverty and has a direct correlation to better health and educational outcomes for children.
Although the application process can be confusing and difficult to navigate, Code for America’s GetCalFresh program is ensuring that everyone can access food assistance benefits — and do so with dignity.
GetCalFresh acts as a “digital assister”, supporting users through each step of the eligibility and enrollment process through their mobile phone or desktop. An online application for CalFresh takes 45 minutes or more—GetCalFresh has managed to reduce the application process to about 8 minutes. Once someone has applied through GetCalFresh, they receive a text message to confirm that their application was submitted, as well as any important reminders related to the application process.
But it doesn’t end there. The Code for America team continues to document barriers that users may face (i.e. requests for additional documentation or income eligibility expectations). By using practices commonly found in consumer technology, the GetCalFresh team is able to see barriers in accessing benefits and share these insights with government partners to improve outcomes. As of June 2019, GetCalFresh is now in all California counties. We are currently laying the groundwork for national expansion, starting with a prototype in the state of Michigan.
The GetCalFresh team has partnered with dozens of counties to deliver a more dignified user experience for GetCalFresh applicants, and learned a lot along the way. A big part of our work at Code for America is showing others what’s possible—in that spirit, we’ve created this resource hub for knowledge sharing.
Accessing Benefits during a Public Health Crisis
A comprehensive depiction of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people's lives and amplified the already existing difficulties of the benefits system
COVID-19’s Impact on the Social Safety Net
What we’ve seen in California and how other state agencies can prepare to respond
COVID-19 SNAP Policy + Delivery Memo
An urgent federal response is needed to streamline online SNAP enrollment and maximize capacity to deliver benefits.
COVID-19 and Food Assistance by the Numbers
Data insights from GetCalFresh on how the need for SNAP assistance has changed since California issued stay-at-home orders.
'Delivering Emergency Food Assistance' Blog Post
Connecting residents to food assistance during the Northern California fires
Delivering a Human-Centered Safety Net in a Time of Crisis
Hear from a panel of speakers who have spent their careers improving safety net outcomes and the delivery of government services.
Digital Outreach Playbook: GetCalFresh Case Study
People in need of government services are online. It just takes the right digital strategy to reach them.
'Barriers to CalFresh for Applicants Experiencing Homelessness' Report
The challenges people experiencing homelessness face in CalFresh enrollment based on 62,000 applications and 40 interviews