Indiana Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of Indiana, there are many sources for help with food. Indiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.
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Learn more about
SNAP benefits a.k.a. Food Stamps.
Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in Indiana?
How to apply for Indiana Food Assistance?
How does Indiana Division of Family Resources (DFR) determine eligibility?
Approved! When and how do I get the Food Stamps benefits?
How much Food Stamps benefits do participants receive per month?
How and where to use Food Stamps Benefits?
Food Stamp (SNAP Benefits) in Indiana
Indiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies. Learn more about SNAP.
In Indiana, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) is administered by the Division of Family Resources (DFR) under the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Further, the terms “Food Stamps” and “SNAP benefits” in the text are used interchangeably.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides federal grants and oversees the operation of Indiana SNAP. The Indiana DFR is responsible for establishing eligibility for SNAP and assures timely and accurate delivery of the benefits. According to DFR “the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is designed to raise the nutritional level of low-income households. It enables low-income families to buy nutritious food through Electronic Benefits Transfer.
Approx. of the total Indiana population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in Indiana
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in Indiana
Who is Eligible for Indiana SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Indiana are based on residency, limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, work requirement and other factors depending on the applicant case. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when using the federal grants to implement SNAP on State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of the low‐income local population.
Indiana Food Stamps Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
Indiana applicants for SNAP benefits must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- State of Indiana Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied member of the household between 18-50 years old must work, be registered to work or participate in the IMPACT employment and training program;
- Resource Limits – have countable household assets limited to $2,250 or less ($3,250 or less for households containing a member who is disabled or 60 years of age or older), vehicles used for household transportation are not counted;
- Income Limits – Income limits eligibility depends on household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Households with elderly or disabled individuals must meet only the net income limits. Gross income is household total income, before taxes or any deductions. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, etc.
Some Indiana residents may be automatically or so-called categorically eligible for Food Stamps if they already participate in other means-tested assistance programs. Getting benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), funded by federal grants, or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for SNAP benefits categorically eligible, thus bypassing the income eligibility and any asset eligibility rules. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States can assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any TANF-funded benefit that can make food stamps applicants eligible.
You can always call 1-800-403-0864 with any question on Indiana SNAP eligibility.
Quick Eligibility Check
Indiana residents interested in food assistance can use this Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool, provided by the Federal Government, to find out if they might be eligible to get Indiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (Food Stamps). The Screening allows potential applicants for Indiana food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
Although the Pre-Screening Tool provides information on SNAP eligibility immediately – it is not an application for benefits.
The actual application for SNAP benefits must be made at your local Indian Division of Family Resources office. Even you are unsure whether you qualify you should still apply.
To figure out, before applying, if you'd qualify for food stamps benefits in your state you have to consider the following:
- Your Household size: How many people you live and buy food with? Count:
- anyone you live with and buy and make food with
- children under 22 years old and,
- elderly 60+ and disabled that you make food for.
- Your Income: How much money does your household make? This includes both:
- earned income - the money you make from jobs and
- unearned income - cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child support, etc.
Who counts as a member of the household for SNAP eligibility?
In general, anyone who lives with you and you buy food with counts a member of your household.
Your children under 22 of age count as household members, even if they buy and make their own food.
But your tenant, for example, or your adult children that are over 22 of age do not count. They are not counted in the household number for the purpose of food stamp benefits qualification.
The elderly age of 60+ and disabled people count as household members if you buy and make food for them, or you buy and make food together. If they live with you, but they buy and make food separately, they do not count as household members.
See the updated table below for this fiscal year's income limits and monthly benefits (allotments).
What is the gross and net income limit that qualifies you for food stamps?
SNAP Max Income for Food Stamps
Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020
(130% of poverty)
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$479||+$369||+$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
What is Maximum Dollar Amount of Indiana SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits?
If approved, the Indiana SNAP benefit amounts depend on the household size and its monthly net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household. This is the maximum amount of benefits a household will receive based on $0 income. The greater the household’s net income, the lesser than the max amount of SNAP benefits will be received. Check below what are the maximum food assistance amounts an Indiana household can get per month. The SNAP allowed benefits per month are called allotments. See the table column about Max Food Assistance Benefit per month in dollars for each size of the household.
How to Apply for SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps) in Indiana?
Households in Indiana can apply for food assistance in the county in which they live. Interested in getting SNAP benefits can go and get the application from a local County DFR office.
The Application for SNAP and Cash Assistance can be accessed and print from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration site.
In Indiana, one application is used to apply for SNAP Food Assistance and Cash Assistance. You can use the application to apply for both, food assistance and cash assistance.
Complete all required information, and turn your application into the local County DFR office where you live. You can submit the SNAP application only with your name, address, and signature – the DFR office has to accept the application with the current date. However, providing a complete application will result in most likely in a quicker eligibility determination.
A DFR worker has to interview you to decide if you are eligible for benefits. If eligible, you will start receiving SNAP benefits from the date the office received your signed application.
Indiana SNAP Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
Department of Human Services office worker has to interview you and verify the provided information before determining if the household is eligible for SNAP benefits. Here are some examples of information and proofs you may be asked to provide at the interview:
- Valid I.D. showing the name of the applicant
- Date of birth
- Proof of address
- Social security numbers for everyone in the household;
- Proof of all household income;
- Proof of the amount of money all in the household have in bank accounts
- Proof of legal alien status for anyone who is not a U.S. Citizen
- Medical bills for anyone in the household who is age 60 or older or who get a disability check
- Current proof of rent or mortgage expenses;
- Proof of child care expenses;
- Proof of obligated child support payments paid to someone outside the household.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-50 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week. In Indiana, this is the IMPACT Employment and Training Program (E & T). It is an employment and training program for adults in households getting Indiana SNAP benefits.
The purpose of Indiana Manpower and Comprehensive Training (IMPACT) is to help recipients of SNAP and TANF benefits engage in education, training, job search, job placement activities, and eventually transition to economic independence.
SNAP benefits recipients in Indiana can be exempted from the work requirement provision if they are under 18 or 50 years of age or older, responsible for the care of a child or incapacitated household member, or medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment, or pregnant.
Applicants waiting for SNAP benefits approval in Indiana should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local DFR office. Households cannot receive food stamps assistance from more than one Indiana county in a month. Households getting food stamps benefits must report any changes in their household situation in a period of time determined by the DFR office in order to assure their participation in the Indiana SNAP.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits?
Approved for Indiana SNAP benefits applicants get an Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) card – the Hoosier Works card. The EBT card can be used as a debit card at any Indiana food stamps grocery stores and farmers markets. Food assistance benefits are deposited into an EBT account of the beneficiary each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.
Benefits are made available from the 5th to the 23rd of every month, based on the first letter of the client’s last name.
First Letter of the Last Name is: A or B = benefits available on the 5th
First Letter of the Last Name is: C or D = benefits available on the 7th
First Letter of the Last Name is: E, F, or G = benefits available on the 9th
First Letter of the Last Name is: H or I = benefits available on the11th
First Letter of the Last Name is: J, K, or L = benefits available on the 13th
First Letter of the Last Name is: M or N = benefits available on the 15th
First Letter of the Last Name is: O, P,Q, or R = benefits available on the17th
First Letter of the Last Name is: S = benefits available on the 19th
First Letter of the Last Name is: T, U, or V = benefits available on the 21st
First Letter of the Last Name is: W,X,Y, or Z = benefits available on the 23rd
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Indiana EBT Customer Service: 877-768-5098
How and Where to Use the SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits?
Indiana SNAP benefits are provided via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Indiana SNAP are transferred into the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through the Indiana Hoosier Works card. Households and individuals can use their Hoosier Works card at any grocery store and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). SNAP benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food items at Food Stamps authorized stores in the State of Indiana. Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Assistance Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources, or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farmworker. Call 1-800-403-0864 for more information on Indiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Indiana Food Assistance Benefits
Find more on what kind of food you can buy using your Indiana Food Assistance benefits…
Food Assistance Program | Eligibility | Apply | Approval | Benefits
Food Banks in Indiana
Indiana food banks play an important role in the overall Indiana food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State.
Their main objective is to collect food from various sources like wholesale organizations, grocery stores, and farms who have food in excess and are willing to donate.
Food banks then sort, store, and distribute donated food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries.
The Food Bank Association of Indiana is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in Indiana.
Indiana Food Banks
Food Pantries in Indiana
Food pantries offer food directly to people that need it and who have the means to cook it. They usually receive food from local food banks and in turn distribute it to low-income individuals and households at no cost.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be distributed to a particular individual or a family.
Soup Kitchens in Indiana
Soup kitchens serve cooked meals on-site to needy people at no cost. Like food pantries, they normally receive their food from local food banks.
Soup kitchens take care mostly of homeless people and people who do not have the means to cook for themselves.
They require storage, cleaning, and cooking equipment as they have to do food preparation, serving, and cleaning after the meals.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
WIC Program in Indiana
Indiana Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to Indiana pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in Indiana
School meals in Indiana are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The Indiana school meals programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day in the year.
School meals nutritional standards are based on the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Government and teachers have reported that students perform better in class if they get regular meals.
Children getting school breakfast also had significantly reduced absence and tardiness rates, according to a Tufts University study.
Special Milk Program in Indiana
Indiana Special Milk Program offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps. Any child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program can get milk.
Schools may elect to offer free milk to low-income children. In order to qualify for Indiana Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Indiana.
Summer Food Program in Indiana
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Indiana food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Indiana children get nutritious meals in the summertime.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program that provides grants to local sponsors who want to combine a food service with a summer activity program.
The funding provided by SFSP ensures that Indiana children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.
Senior Nutrition in Indiana
Indiana Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income seniors with special checks to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets. To qualify for Indiana senior nutrition special checks, the applicants must be 60 years of age or older and their gross household income must not exceed certain limits.
An application must be completed for each person in the household that wants to apply for the SFMNP benefits. Once approved, each beneficiary must reapply every year to continue participating in the Indiana Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA