We are a statewide policy and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of low income Californians by increasing their access to nutritious, affordable food.

State Budget & the CalFresh Heat and Eat Program

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6.23.2014 The 2014-15 state budget, signed by Governor Brown on June 20, 2014, includes an investment of $10.5 million from the General Fund to provide a state-funded energy assistance subsidy to CalFresh households. This investment was necessary to comply with recent federal changes regarding the minimum energy assistance benefit that must be received by a household in order to access the standard utility allowance (SUA). This change will result in the continuation of the state's Heat and Eat Program for those CalFresh households who would benefit most. Eligible CalFresh households will now receive an annual energy assistance subsidy of $20.01 per year. The continuation of Heat and Eat is estimated to increase household monthly food budgets by an average of $62 for over 320,000 families.

Learn more about Heat and Eat and recent federal changes. link

Next Steps
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will soon issue an All County Letter (ACL) providing updated implementation guidance to reflect the changes enacted in the state budget.

Background
In 2011, AB 6 (Fuentes) was signed by Governor Brown. Among other CalFresh improvements, AB 6 required the implementation of Heat and Eat for all CalFresh households. As originally designed, California's Heat and Eat program required that all CalFresh households receive annually a nominal LIHEAP benefit. Receipt of this benefit entitled the household to claim the SUA for the purposes of calculating CalFresh benefits. Use of the SUA resulted in increased monthly benefits for some households and streamlined verification for all. The updated version of the program will focus on providing the energy assistance subsidy to those households that would benefit most from Heat and Eat in terms of maximizing their nutrition benefits.

Questions? Contact Alexis Fernández at 510.433.1122 ext. 111 or alexis@cfpa.net