CalFresh benefits may be available to those affected by CZU Fires


Firefighters monitor the advance of the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire in the backyard of a home Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Boulder Creek, Calif. Firefighters trying to contain the massive wildfires in Oregon, California and Washington state are constantly on the verge of exhaustion as they try to save suburban houses, including some in their own neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (BCN) – Disaster CalFresh food benefits may be available to residents impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex wildfires from Wednesday until Oct. 22. 

Santa Cruz County is one of the six counties impacted by wildfires and eligible for the program — joining Monterey, San Mateo, Solano, Lake, and Yolo counties.

Residents who do not typically qualify for CalFresh may be eligible for Disaster CalFresh benefits. For example, a family of four with a monthly income of up to $2,893, after taking disaster-related expenses into consideration, may be eligible for $646 in food benefits.

Those who lived or worked in Santa Cruz County on Aug. 14 may also qualify for the program if their household has experienced at least one of the following between Aug. 14 and Sept. 12 because of the wildfires: 

  • At least one person in the household was not getting regular CalFresh food benefits
  • Money was spent because of the wildfire or related power outage 
  • Money was lost from work because of the wildfire
  • Money was spent because of damage to a home or business. 

Those who are already receiving CalFresh benefits are not eligible for Disaster CalFresh.

Applicants will complete an interview, and if accepted, will be informed on where to pick up their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to receive Disaster CalFresh benefits. An EBT card is like a debit card that can be used at grocery stores and other authorized retailers. 

Wildfire victims in Santa Cruz County can apply online at throughout the application period or call (888) 421-8080 on weekdays between 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Paper applications can also be dropped off at 18 W. Beach St., Watsonville, or 1020 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, on weekdays between 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information, people can visit HERE.

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