CalFresh Active Caseload

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Human Services Agency

Fiscal Year 2018-19
Projection: 29,450 active cases per month
Current Caseload: 30,496 active cases (July)

Fiscal Year 2017-18
Projection: 34,161 active cases per month
Result: 29,907 active cases per month (average)

CalFresh is a federally mandated, state-supervised, and county-operated program that issues monthly electronic benefits to assist qualified households and individuals in purchasing food. This benefit is called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the federal level and CalFresh in California. It is designed to improve the health and well-being of children and low-income households by providing access to a nutritious diet and hence is an important safety net service for vulnerable San Francisco residents.


How the Human Services Agency is Performing

CalFresh enrollemnt rates are difficult to measure with precision, but estimates suggest that only half of all San Franciscans eligible for CalFresh benefits are enrolled in the program. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded eligibility for Medi-Cal health coverage to low-income single adults who were not previously eligible. Many newly eligible individuals also qualify for CalFresh, creating new opportunities for HSA to co-enroll clients across the two programs.

CalFresh enrollment has not expanded as quickly as projected. CalFresh active caseload decreased in early FY2016-17 before rebounding in January. Prior to September 2016, the monthly caseload had increased steadily for steadily for about 2 years. A number of factors influenced CalFresh caseload growth, including dedicated outreach, partnerships, and healthcare reform. Human Services Agency (HSA) has eight employees devoted to outreach and a coalition of community based organizations, convened by the San Francisco Marin Food Bank, is making online applications on behalf of its customer base. An additional outreach partner, Code for America, developed, a new and easier way to get information and sign up for benefits by smartphone or tablet. Health care reform has increased the Medi-Cal caseload and HSA has strengthened its process for linking these households to CalFresh, when eligible.

San Francisco recently implemented a two-year federal SNAP Process and Technology Improvement Grant (PTIG) to transform CalFresh customer service. PTIG improved customer service by enabling HSA to better track and adjust client assistance, wait-times, office traffic and staffing, and better serve non-English speaking customers. These improvements support caseload growth by enabling HSA to more quickly and better serve clients.

In addition, San Francisco continues to implement a nearly $1 million federal SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed) grant. The goal of SNAP-Ed is to provide nutrition education for individuals eligible for nutrition assistance. SNAP-Ed is administered in single room occupancy (SRO) hotels, food pantries, public housing and at multiple community based organizations, and CalFresh is promoted to eligible individuals at these events. San Francisco also created, a nutrition education website that is linked to online CalFresh applications. Finally, HSA is in the process of developing materials that promote CalFresh and Medi-Cal for distribution among community partners.

Note that the monthly numbers presented are point-in-time active caseload counts whereas the annual projection value represents the projected monthly average paid cases for fiscal year (FY) 2016-17. These numbers are not directly comparable but do provide a monthly snapshot versus average monthly budgeted cases for the year.

How Performance is Measured

This measure represents the total number of cases receiving non-assistance food stamps. Non-assistance food stamps cases do not include those cases which also receive other forms of public assistance such as CalWORKs. The data source is CalWIN, an administrative database used in 18 California counties.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of CalFresh active cases shown in the chart above.

Additional Information

  • Visit the Human Services Agency website to apply for CalFresh benefits and learn about the program.
  • Find recipes and nutrition education resources at


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.