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Food Stamps

Maine Food Stamp Program

Introduction

The Family Independence Office of the Department of Health and Human Services maintains the SNAP program, which is the food stamp benefits program for the entire state. In 2008, the federal government changed the "food stamp program" to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In accordance, Maine's program follows the same regulations and takes on the name of this federal program. Main's SNAP program is also called the Food Supplement Program. The aim of the program is to help low income households afford better food and healthy diets. With a monthly benefit package, families and individuals are able to provide healthy and nutritional meals for themselves and their family. Anyone can apply for food stamp benefits in Maine. However, there are some who are more likely going to receive benefits, such as possible who work for lower wages, are unemployed or only work part time, receive welfare or other public assistance, are elderly or disabled, or do not have a home. State public assistance runs the Food Supplement Program for the state. There are some basic rules that apply to food assistance aid and how it is administered to recipients. You can read more about the SNAP program and find numbers for Maine offices at the Family Independence website.

Applying for Food Stamps

To apply for food stamps in Maine, you need to be a U.S. citizen and reside in Maine, but Maine is unique in that you do not have to fill out any forms. You simply need to visit a DHHS office in your county. However, you do need to bring certain information with you, such as identification, proof of income, proof of household and social security card. You will go through an interview with a representative at the DHHS office. Throughout the interview, you will answer some questions. The information will be entered into a computer. At the end of the interview, you will sign a completed application form that is printed from the compute. If you do an interview over the phone, you will receive a completed form in the mail. You can contact an office to complete an interview over the phone by looking at the index for District Office Locations in Maine. The information that you provide must be verified before you are able to receive any benefits. Another way to apply is by contacting an office and picking up a form the time that you visit. You can request a form by mail, phone or a family member may pick one up for you. You must also fill out the form entirely. You can call 1-800-442-6003 to find out more information and order a form to be mailed to your home.

Receiving Food Stamps

To qualify for benefits, you must first be approved. If you do qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, you will receive benefits no later than 30 days from the date that the office got your application. If your household has little or no money and needs assistance right away, you can let the office know and you may be eligible to receive benefits within 7 days of applying. After you have turned in the application, the SNAP office will contact you to set up the interview and explain all of the benefits available to you. You have to meet certain eligibility rules as far as citizenship and income to receive aid. Most aid is available to low-income households, for those who make under $2,000 with a household size of three or more. If you are a student, it is unlikely that you will receive aid. However, some college students are able to receive public assistance under a Title IV-A program or if they take part in a state or federally financed work study program, or work at least 20 hours per week. You can read more about resource and income limits by visiting the OFI Food Stamps website. If you are approved, you will receive a "Pine Tree Card" in the mail that you can use like cash at SNAP food retailers, such as grocery stores and super markets to purchase specific food items. The Pine Tree Card works like a debit card, and you will receive your monthly benefits the same time each month.

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. You can contact 1-800-442-600 to talk to a representative and find out more about locations near you, or you can find the nearest office location by clicking here.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What income do you need to have in order to be eligible for food stamps in Maine?

Here’s the full list of income limits in order to qualify for food stamps in the State of Maine as it pertains to number of persons living in the household:
1 $1,276
2 $1,726
3 $2,177
4 $2,628
5 $3,078
6 $3,529
7 $3,980
8 $4,430
9 $4,881
10 $5,332
11 $5,783
12 $5,234
13 $6,685
14 $7,136
15 $7,587
16 $8,038
17 $8,489
18 $8,940
19 $9,391
20 $9,842
 

What is the Food Supplement Program?

Also known as SNAP (The Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program) in most states, the Food Supplement Program in Maine uses a system similar to a debit card that people can use to purchase food at participating grocery stores. 
 

Can I work and get food stamps in Maine?

Yes. You do NOT need to be unemployed to receive the benefits from the Food Supplement Program. You also do NOT need to be on welfare, have children, be elderly or injured in order to receive food stamps in Maine.
 

What is the Pine Tree Card?

The Pine Tree Card is the name Maine has chosen for their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card. This is the card used to send benefits that can be used to purchase food at grocery stores. 
 

What can I buy with my with my Pine Tree Card?

With a Pine Tree Card you can purchase food at most grocery stores. The Food Supplement Program does NOT cover any non-food items such as tobacco and alcohol. It also does NOT cover items such as toothpaste, soap, sanitary papers or pet food. 

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