California has been approved to issue Disaster CalFresh in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernardino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Sonoma Counties for persons affected by the wildfires.
Disaster CalFresh provides food assistance to households affected by natural disasters. To be eligible, families must live or work in the disaster area, plan to purchase food during the benefit period, experience adverse effects from the disaster and meet Disaster CalFresh income guidelines.
Disaster CalFresh has three verification requirements: identity, residency and loss or inaccessibility of income, and household composition and food loss, if questionable. Benefits should be issued within 72 hours of application.
The application period is Monday November 16 to Friday November 20. Applications can be submitted by phone, online or in person. However, this Disaster CalFresh plan emphasizes a phone-based approach because of COVID-19 including phone interviews for applicants and allowing telephonic signatures. Applications will not be accepted by mail. Applicants can verbally attest to information. Verification can be submitted, using the Disaster CalFresh pre-registration tool, the SAWS client portals, secure email or fax, and in person at application sites. Disaster CalFresh applicants verify identity, residency and loss/inaccessibility of income or liquid resources if possible, and household composition and food loss, if questionable.
Because the fires started on different dates, different benefit periods will be used by counties to determine Disaster CalFresh eligibility. The benefit periods are:
- Fresno and Madera: September 4, 2020 through October 3, 2020
- San Bernardino and San Diego: September 5, 2020 through October 4, 2020
- Los Angeles: September 6, 2020 through October 5, 2020
- Mendocino: September 7, 2020 through October 6, 2020
- Siskiyou: September 8, 2020 through October 7, 2020
- Napa, Shasta, and Sonoma: September 27, 2020 through October 26, 2020
(ACWDL, November 9, 2020.)