Food Stamps

Food Stamps FAQ

What are food stamps?

Food stamps are government aid for financially-challenged households. Families can use these vouchers to purchase food.

What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new name for the food stamp program. The Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) manages SNAP.

How do I apply for food stamps?

To apply for food stamps, you need to fill out a SNAP application. You can find this document online or at locations such as your local Social Security office.

Where do I apply for food stamps?

You can either submit your food stamps application at your local Social Security office or food stamps office.

Can I apply for food stamps online?

Yes, in some states you can submit your food stamp application online. Alternatively, you can print out your food stamps application from a website and submit it directly to your local Social Security or food stamp office.

Am I eligible for food stamps?

You can review the food stamps eligibility requirements to determine if you qualify for SNAP. However, you will not know for certain if you qualify to receive benefits until you submit your SNAP food stamps application.

How does the government distribute SNAP?

The government distributes food stamps in the form of an electronic benefit transfer (EBT). This process works the same way as a debit account. You can access your distributions by using an EBT card.

Why doesn’t the government mail food stamps anymore?

The government stopped mailing paper food stamp benefits and started using EBT in order to save money, cut down on fraud and make it faster and easier for recipients to use their benefits.

What is an EBT card?

An EBT card is a type of debit card that you use to access your SNAP benefits. EBT cards are now used in place of paper food stamps, and you swipe them like regular debit or credit cards at point of sale (POS) machines.

How can I use an EBT card?

You can use an EBT card like a debit card to purchase food at establishments that accept this form of payment. Generally, this includes chain grocery stores, independent markets and convenience stores.

What are countable resources when assessing SNAP food benefits?

Countable resources are the quantifiable funds you have available to you. This includes cash, as well as the money you have in your bank and investment accounts. These sums are added together to determine if you qualify for food stamps.

How much gross income can I have to be eligible for food stamps?

Your gross monthly household income cannot exceed 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

How much net income can I have to be eligible for food stamps?

Your net monthly household income cannot exceed 100 percent of the FPL.

How much can I receive in food stamps?

The amount you receive in food stamps depends on your household size, the countable resources you have, as well as your gross and net incomes. The food stamp office distributes benefits in relation to applicants’ needs.

What can I buy with food stamps?

You can use food stamps to purchase qualifying food products. Food stamps cannot be used to purchase other household items, entertainment items or any other non-essential food items.

Where can I use food stamps?

You can use food stamps at any qualifying food establishment, which may include grocery stores, farmers’ markets and convenience stores.

What questions are on the food stamps application?

When you apply for food stamps, you must provide extensive personal information about you and your household. Expect to answer questions relating to your financial circumstances, your citizenship and how many people live with you.

Will I be interviewed when I apply for food stamps?

Yes, you will be required to participate in a food stamps interview after submitting your SNAP application. If you are unable to appear in-person, you may request a phone interview.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for food stamps?

Generally, you do need to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for food stamps, but in some cases, non-citizens are eligible to receive food stamps. Contact your local food stamp office for the latest regulations regarding non-U.S. citizens.

How can I get help filling out my food stamp application?

If you need help applying for food stamps, you can call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

How can I find out what benefits I’m eligible for?

If you need help finding out what benefits you may be eligible for, contact your nearest food stamp office. However, the only way to know for sure what you are qualified to receive is to submit a SNAP application.