In Montana, food stamp benefits are under Public Assistance Programs as part of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. However, the name of the food stamp program goes by the federal name, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program is designed to help low-income households afford a balanced and healthy diet with nutritional foods based on the USDA "Thrifty" food budget. SNAP food stamps are a part of a bigger effort in Montana to provide a safety net for low-income individuals and families. The program is also considered an economic stimulus as every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates $9.20 in total community spending. Food stamp benefits are delivered each month through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which you receive if your application is approved. The card works like a debit card to purchase food at grocery stores and super markets. There are specific requirements that you must pass in order to receive benefits. To start the process, you need to apply for SNAP. If you want to learn more about the program and read detail notes about eligibility, you can visit the website for Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. From here, you can also find the links to apply for other aid and food stamps.
Applying for Food Stamps
The Department of Public Health and Human Services recommends applying at a local Office of Public Assistance. You can find a directory of these offices on the website as well. You may also download and print the application from the Department of Public Health website located here. The application will request basic information about you, your household and financial situation. The most important factor is the accuracy and amount of information that you provide. You should know your social security number and identification details to expedite the process. You also must give details about your income and assets. This is important information to figuring out the amount of aid and determining your eligibility. If you prefer, you can also apply online for SNAP benefits through the Montana Connections website. On this page, you will also find a prescreening tool to see what programs you are eligible for. Once you submit an application, it will take a period of 30 days to deliver standard food stamp aid. If you have an emergency and need food stamps, you can contact your local office to inquire about the 7-day food support program.
Receiving Food Stamps
The pre-screening tool is important to determining if you will receive aid and how much aid you will receive for food assistance. There are also eligibility requirements for who can participate in the program. People who live together and buy food to prepare meals together are grouped as a "household" under SNAP regulations. Husbands, wives, children under age 22 living with their natural, adoptive or step-parents must be considered as one household. Household members that are being considered must also be U.S, citizens and reside in Montana. You must also meet income and asset limits. Those who are making under $2,000 a month in income with a household size of three or more are likely to receive food stamp aid. You can find out more for your specific situation by completing the pre-screening test. Expedited food support programs have different requirements. Households with less than $150 in monthly gross income and $100 or less in liquid resources are eligible to receive food stamps within 7 days of applying. Migrant or seasonal farm worker households are also eligible. If you live in a household with a combined monthly gross income and liquid resources that are less than the household's monthly rent and utilities, you may also qualify for food stamp benefits within 7 days of applying. To see a chart for the standard eligibility household size and income regulations, you can visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website under "Financial Criteria."
Finding Food Service Locations
SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. To talk to someone about finding a location nearest you or to request a form, you can contact the Human and Community Services Division at (406) 444-1788 or (406) 444-5902. You may also want to contact a local office by consulting the directory for county offices of public assistance. If you want to request forms or more information, you can write to:
Human and Community Services Division111 N Jackson Street
PO Box 202925
Helena MT 59620-2925