Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Where can I apply for CalFresh/SNAP?
A:  Apply for CalFresh/SNAP at Riverside County Department of Public Social Services office closest to you. (DPSS Office Locations) or at

Q:  I don’t have a Social Security card.  How can I get CalFresh/SNAP benefits?
A:  If you do not have a Social Security card, you can:

  • Provide your Social Security number to the eligibility technician who will verify the number with the Social Security Administration,
  • Apply for a card at the Social Security office and take a copy of the application with you when you apply for CalFresh/SNAP, or
  • Complete the application for a Social Security card at the CalFresh/SNAP office and turn it in to the Social Security Administration.

Q:  I am not a United States citizen.  Does this mean that I cannot get CalFresh/SNAP?
A:  You and/or other family members may be eligible to receive CalFresh/SNAP benefits if you are:

  • a non-citizen but admitted for humanitarian reasons
  • a legal permanent resident, and
    • have lived in the United States for at least five years, or
    • are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits, regardless of entry date, or
    • are children under the age of 18, regardless of entry date.

Non-citizens living in the United States temporarily such as students are not eligible.

Legal non-citizens who are not eligible for regular CalFresh/SNAP benefits may receive help through the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP).  If you think you may be eligible, ask the eligibility technician about the program.

The Department of Public Social Services does not share your information with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS.)

Q:  What can I buy with CalFresh/SNAP?
A:  Use CalFresh/SNAP benefits to buy food items such as:

  • breads and cereals
  • fruits and vegetables
  • meats, fish, poultry
  • dairy products
  • seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat

CalFresh/SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Any non-food item such as:
    • pet food
    • diapers
    • soaps, paper products
    • household supplies such as cleaners
  • vitamins and medicines
  • food that will be eaten in the store
  • hot foods

Q:  I don’t have a driver’s license.  Can I use some other type of identification when I apply for CalFresh/SNAP?
A:  If you do not have a driver’s license, you can use several other from of identification including:

  • Social Security card
  • Medi-Cal card
  • birth certificate
  • pay stubs, or
  • Identification card