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How to apply for the California Golden State Advantage EBT card for food assistance

Posted In:  low income assistance

golden state advantage cardThe Golden State Advantage card in California is used for two types of assistance programs: Food Stamps, as well as various cash benefit programs.  The amount of your benefit will depend on your current income and expenses, as well as the total number of people in your household. The EBT card replaces older paper food stamps, and works just like a normal debit card.  Your purchases can be paid for at the checkout line with a card swipe, and there's no worries about being embarrased.

Families that qualify can apply for and receive a card for use with either of these programs. To obtain and use the Golden State Advantage EBT card, you should take the following steps:

To apply for your EBT Card

  1. Contact your local county office to obtain an application for TANF and/or food stamp services. To locate the office, you can either  find your county's welfare department listed under the County Government Section in the telephone book, or use this California County website locator
  2. You can arrange to pick your card up in the office, or receive it via mail.
  3. When you receive the card, sign it on the back. If you chose to receive your card via mail, you may need to call their Help Desk at (877) 328-9677 to register the card.  To set your PIN (Personal Identification Number) you can go to a designated county location that has PIN selection equipment and select a PIN. Or, you can call the toll-free Customer Service Center at(877) 328-9677 to select another PIN through their Automated Response Unit.
  4. If you obtained the card for food stamp benefits, you can then use the Golden State Advantage card at participating stores to purchase food.
  5. With the TANF program, you can use your card to withdraw cash or make purchases at participating stores.
  6. Additional questions and answers are available at the website.

Aside from the Golden State Advantage card, there are also other programs, like local food pantries as well as the Angel Food Ministries program. Contact your church or a community action agency to locate a local food pantry. Angel Food Ministries are available in every state. You can buy boxes of food for a small charge of around $30. There are no minimum income limits. Angel Food Ministries has a website located at

What types of food can you purchase with the card?

Popular Eligible Food Items Include: 

  • any type of bread or cereal
  • fruits and vegetables: fresh, frozen, or canned, juices as well
  • any type of meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.  This includes fresh, frozen, sliced/deli, etc.
  • dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc)

While not recommended, these items are eligible, and CAN be purchased:

  • Carbonated Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream
  • Expensive seafood, steaks, bakery items like cakes

However, you CANNOT use your benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Pet food
  • Soap, Paper Towels, Plates, etc
  • Household cleaners or other supplies
  • Vitamins, suppluments or medicines
  • Prepared foods that are hot and/or ready to eat in the store

 Also, you may wish to have a look at the following topics on our site:


More info on Food Stamps:
How to Apply For Food Stamps
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