California Offers Food Assistance to Those Affected by Wildfires

February 13, 2018 by Juliet Bennett Rylah

If you or anyone you know has been affected by the recent wildfires, you may be eligible for a month of Disaster CalFresh food assistance. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is offering a month of assistance to qualifying individuals and families in parts of Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Applicants may receive benefits in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, typically within three days from the date they apply.


A firefighter battles the Thomas Fire. Photo: Kari Greer/United States Forest Service/Flickr

Here’s how it works: 

Applicants must have either lived or worked in one of the following ZIP codes:

Los Angeles County: 91342, 91040, 91042, 91355, 91381, 91384, 90077

San Diego County: 92028, 92003, 92084, 92057

Applicants must have also experienced one of the following conditions, per the California Department of Social Services:

  • Damage to or destruction of the home or a business where the applicant is self-employed
  • Loss or inaccessibility of income, including a reduction or termination of earned income or a significant delay in receiving income due to disaster related problems
  • Disaster-related expenses—including home or business repairs, temporary shelter, evacuation, etc.— that are not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster benefit period

To apply, applicants should visit a nearby social service agency (find a list of options here) during the enrollment window. Residents of San Diego County can apply today through Friday, February 16. Residents of Los Angeles County may apply today through Friday February 16, or between Tuesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 22. 

If for some reason an interested party cannot make it to a social service agency, they can call their nearest agency and arrange for a representative to go on their behalf. Those who already receive CalFresh benefits may call or visit their social service agency to request supplemental benefits.

For an idea of how much assistance is available, the CDSS said via a release that a family of four with an income up to $2,755/month could receive up to $640 in assistance—or, about $40 per person/week.

CalFresh Program Manager Alberto Garcia told NBC 7 San Diego that the evaluation process is simple. “We look at the damage, the loss of income, we compare that to the income that was available or any cash on hand that might have been available,” he said.

Additional questions can be directed to either the Los Angeles County Service Center (866-613-3777) or the San Diego County Service Center (866-262-9881).