Program Rules and Penalties
You are committing a crime if you give false or wrong information, or do not give all the information on purpose to try to get
CalFresh, cash aid, and Medi-Cal, that you are not eligible to receive, or to help someone else get benefits that they are not
eligible to receive. You must pay back any benefits you get that you were not eligible to receive. If you do this on purpose
and get more than $950 in benefits that you were not eligible for you can be charged with a felony.
For CalFresh: I understand that if I commit an
intentional program violation by doing any of the
• hide information or make false statements
• use electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that belong
to someone else or let someone else use my card
• use CalFresh benefits to buy alcohol or tobacco
• trade, sell, or give away CalFresh benefits or EBT cards
• lose CalFresh benefits for 12 months for the first offense
and be required to repay all CalFresh benefits overpaid
• lose CalFresh benefits for 24 months for the second
offense and be required to repay all CalFresh benefits
overpaid to me
• lose CalFresh benefits permanently for third offense and
be required to repay all CalFresh benefits overpaid to
• be fined up to $250,000, imprisoned up to 20 years, or
• trade CalFresh benefits for controlled substances,
such as drugs
• lose CalFresh benefits for 24 months for the first offense
• lose CalFresh benefits permanently for the second
• give false information about who I am and where I live
so I can get extra CalFresh benefits
• lose CalFresh benefits for 10 years for each offense
• have been convicted of trading or selling CalFresh
benefits worth more than $500, or trading CalFresh
benefits for firearms, ammunition, or explosives
• lose CalFresh benefits forever
For cash aid I understand that if I...
• am convicted of an intentional program violation
• lose my cash aid
• do not follow cash aid rules
• be fined up to $10,000 and/or sent to jail/prison for
• am found guilty by a court of law or an administrative
• lose cash aid for 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 4 years,
hearing of committing certain types of fraud
5 years, or forever.
Important Information for Noncitizens
• You can apply for and get CalFresh benefits or cash aid for people who are eligible, even if your family includes others
who are not eligible. For example, immigrant parents may apply for CalFresh benefits or cash aid for their U.S. citizen
or qualified immigrant children, even though the parents may not be eligible.
• Getting food benefits will not affect you or your family’s immigration status. Immigration information is private and
• The immigration status of noncitizens who are eligible and apply for benefits will be checked with the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS). Federal law says the USCIS cannot use the information for anything else except
cases of fraud.
You do not have to give immigration information, Social Security numbers, or documents for any noncitizen family member(s)
who are not applying for benefits. The County will need to know their income and resource information to correctly determine
your household’s benefits. The County will not contact USCIS about the people who don’t apply for benefits.
Use of Social Security Numbers (SSN)
CalFresh and Cash Aid: Everyone applying for CalFresh benefits or cash aid needs to provide a SSN, if you have one, or
proof that you have applied for a SSN (such as a letter from the Social Security office). We can deny you or any member of
your household who does not give us a SSN. Some people do not have to give SSNs to get help such as, victims of domestic
abuse, crime prosecution witnesses, and trafficking victims.
Health Coverage/Medi-Cal: We need your SSN if you want health coverage and have a SSN. Providing your SSN can be
helpful if you don’t want health coverage too since it can speed up the application process. We use SSNs to check income
and other information to see who’s eligible for help with health coverage costs. If someone wants help getting a SSN,
Call 1-800-772-1213 or visit the website: www.socialsecurity.gov
This means you got more CalFresh benefits than you should have. You will have to pay it back even if the county made an
error or if it wasn’t on purpose. Your benefits may be lowered or stopped. Your SSN may be used to collect the amount of
benefits owed, through the courts, other collection agencies, or federal government collection action.
Please take and keep for your records
SAWS 1 (8/13)
PROGRAM RULES PAGE 2 OF 4