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Food Stamps and Other Food Assistance

Introduction

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) used to be known as the Food Stamp Program. Low-
income people can use SNAP benefits in place of cash to buy food. Most people, however, must spend some cash with their SNAP benefits to buy enough food for the month.

Eligibility

If you are a U.S. citizen or a legal alien, you may be able to receive SNAP benefits.

Unless everyone in your home gets Transitional Employment Assistance (TEA) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you must meet certain financial tests about your assets and income.

Assets

Assets are things that you own. Examples are money (at home or in the bank), stocks, bonds, real estate, cars, and other types of vehicles.

Income

The income of everyone who lives in your household is counted. This includes money from work, as well as money from TEA, Social Security, SSI, unemployment benefits, Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, and child support.

Work Requirements

If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents and work fewer than 20 hours per week, you may only receive SNAP benefits for a total of three full months within a 36-month period.

If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents and you work 20 hours per week or more, the time limit does not apply to you.

The work requirements do not apply to those who:

  • receive SSI, VA pension, or work compensation
  • have been certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment by a health professional
  • have been homeless for a period of time
  • are receiving or have applied for unemployment benefits
  • are receiving or have applied for TEA
  • are participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program or a mental health treatment program
  • are students enrolled at least half time in high school or college
  • live in a household with any child under 18
  • are pregnant
  • are providing care for a disabled person or frail elder

 

Applying

Call the Department of Human Services (DHS) or go to the DHS office in any county and ask for an application form. You can access the online applications below. When you have completed the application, take it or mail it to the DHS office in the county where you live.

After Applying

The DHS must talk to an adult member of your household. They will schedule a time for this interview. During the interview, a county worker will go over your application. Also, the worker will make sure they have all the information needed to see if you are eligible for SNAP benefits. Please, bring the following to your interview:

  • I.D. showing your name
  • proof of your address
  • Social Security numbers for everyone in your household (if someone does not have a Social Security number, you must show they have applied for one—you can apply for Social Security numbers at the DHS office)
  • proof of the amount of money you have in the bank
  • proof of your household’s income
  • proof of legal alien status for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen
  • medical bills for anyone who is age 60 or older or who receives a disability check

Denial

If you disagree with why the DHS denied your application, you have the right to appeal. You can do so by going to your local county DHS office and filling out an appeal form. The DHS will let you know the time and date of your hearing.

Timeline

If you are eligible, you will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card within 30 days. You will use the EBT card to purchase food.

 

If you have little or no income or savings, you could have your EBT card within seven days.

 

If you are not eligible, a notice will be sent to you telling you why your application was denied.