Categorical Eligibility is Working for California


HR 2, the House Farm Bill, proposes to end a state option that allows low-income Californians with high child care and housing costs to remain eligible for CalFresh. Under the proposal, states would lose the option of using "categorical eligibility" to streamline enrollment into CalFresh for low-income families who are struggling to make ends meet, but earn too much to qualify. The removal of categorical eligibility is estimated to impact as few as 36,752 and as many 126,035 California households below 200% of the poverty level, and most of these families will be working. For example, Sue a single mother who works full time as a cashier, but only earns minimum wage ($11 per hour) would be cut of from food assistance if the bill were enacted as written.

Eliminating categorical eligibility would:
  • Cause low-wage working families to lose help paying for food when they earn a little more take-home pay.
  • Prevent families from moving towards economic security by cutting off help for those with more financial savings.
  • Make it more difficult for families to qualify for help paying for food if they own a car to get to and from work.
  • Increase the risk of hunger for low-income students by cutting their connection to free school meals.
  • Learn more by reading CFPA's Categorical Eligibility fact sheet. PDF

    What's next in the Farm Bill process?

    House Republicans are currently counting votes and are looking to bring the bill to the House Floor for a full vote soon, possibly as soon as the week of May 14th. Now is a critical time for all Californians fighting against hunger to make their voices heard in opposition to these harmful proposals. For instructions on how to contact your Representative, and a short sample script to use, please see our recent call to action on HR 2.

    CalFresh helps alleviate hunger and poverty in every California congressional district. Learn more about the importance of protecting and strengthening CalFresh in the Farm Bill by viewing and sharing CFPA's Farm Bill and CalFresh Congressional District Fact Sheets.

    Questions? Contact: Jared Call at 213.482.8200 ext 201