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Code for America first tested GetCalFresh in San Francisco in 2013 after observing the inaccessibility of food stamps around the state. Users previously had to fax, mail or hand-deliver forms to state offices to receive benefits; Less than two-thirds of people eligible for nutrition assistance in California received a benefit, according to Caitlin Docker, an assistant program manager for Code for America.

In the years since Code for America began developing the tool, time needed to complete an application has dropped from 45 minutes to under 10. Users can access and send their documents on mobile and desktop browsers using mobile cameras, and receive text message updates to confirm that their application was received and reminders about milestones in the eligibility process.

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