Riverside County Extends Deadline for CalFresh Replacement Benefits Due to Winter Storm Losses

In the aftermath of recent winter storms that wreaked havoc across California, Riverside County officials have announced an extension for CalFresh recipients to request replacement benefits for food lost during the severe weather. With an estimated over 40,000 CalFresh households potentially impacted in the county, residents now have until March 4 to report their losses and seek assistance.

The State’s approval of an extension from the typical 10-day reporting period to 30 days provides affected CalFresh households with additional time to assess their losses and recover as much as possible. Statewide, officials estimate that 279,875 CalFresh households were affected, amounting to approximately $54.5 million in benefits, some of which may have been used to purchase food subsequently destroyed during the storms.

The winter storms, which began on February 3, unleashed flash floods, heavy snowfall, and wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour, causing widespread damage and disruptions. Riverside County areas near Corona, Desert Hot Springs, Jurupa Valley, and Moreno Valley were particularly impacted, with thousands of households facing potential losses.

Allison Gonzalez, assistant director of the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), emphasized the county’s commitment to assisting CalFresh customers in recovering their losses swiftly. Residents affected by the severe weather event are encouraged to reach out to DPSS via phone, in-person visits to their nearest office, or online through BenefitsCal.com to request replacement benefits before the March 4 deadline.

When reporting the loss of food purchased with CalFresh benefits, residents are advised to provide their contact information, a brief description of the food loss, and the time and date of the incident. CalFresh, the state’s largest food program, issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to purchase groceries at various stores, farmers markets, and select online retailers, including Amazon, Ralph’s, and Walmart.

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The extension of the reporting period and the provision of replacement benefits aim to alleviate the financial burden on affected households and support their recovery efforts in the aftermath of the destructive winter storms.

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