Delaware Food Assistance

Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition

In the State of Delaware, there are various sources that can provide food assistance to local residents. Delaware Food Supplement Program, food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping Delaware residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.


Learn more about

SNAP benefits a.k.a. Food Stamps provided by the Delaware Food Supplement Program

Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in Delaware?

How to apply for Delaware Food Assistance?

How does Delaware Division of Social Services (DSS) 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 Stamps (SNAP Benefits) in Delaware

In Delaware, SNAP benefits are issued electronically to the family’s Delaware Food First card each month. The Food Supplement Program recipient uses this card at local grocery stores to access his/her food benefit.

Delaware Food Supplement 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, including Delaware. Learn more about SNAP.

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.

In Delaware, the SNAP is administered by Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) and its Division of Social Services (DSS) – 800-372-2022. The United States Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Service (FNS), is the federal agency responsible for overseeing the Food Supplement Program, which provides the Food Benefits (а.к.а. Food Stamps) to Delaware qualified residents. According to the Delaware Division of Social Services, the Food Supplement Program enables low-income families to add to their budget and buy a variety of food that is the basis for better nutrition.


Approx. of the total Delaware population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018

Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in Delaware

Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in Delaware

Who is Eligible for Food Supplement Benefits in Delaware?

The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Delaware, like in other States, are based on the household resources, income, household size, and are largely determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.

The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. For example, Delaware can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of the eligible, low‐income local population.

Food Supplement Program is a food assistance program, primarily designed for individuals and families in need of help, with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.

In general, to qualify for Food Supplement Benefits you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Delaware Resident – must be U.S. Citizen or qualified non-citizen status;
  • 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 includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, etc. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income. Some of the allowed deductions are utility and telephone expenses, cost of dependent care, the portion of medical expenses and a standard deduction from earned income. Local DSS Office can help with the current list of all allowable deductions. Check the table with Food Supplement Program income limits per household size below.

Some Delaware residents may be automatically or so-called broad-based categorically eligible for Food Assistance if they already participate in other means-tested assistance programs. Getting any benefits including pamphlets from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), funded by federal grants, or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Supplement 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.

In Delaware, to qualify automatically under Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility, the household, for example, must have been referred to a pregnancy prevention hotline and meet all other conditions of eligibility for Food Supplement Benefits. No asset test is required, and the gross income limit for households without an elderly or disabled member is 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Call 1-800-372-2022 to learn more about the Delaware Food Supplement Program eligibility rules.

Food Supplement Quick Eligibility Check

Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you might be eligible to get the Food Supplement Program Benefits (Food Stamps). The screening allows interested in getting Delaware food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits.

Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make an application at your Delaware local DSS Office. Even if you are unsure whether you qualify you still may be eligible for food stamp benefits and 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 

Gross Monthly
Income Limits
(130% of poverty)
Net Monthly
Income Limits
(100% of poverty)
Max Food
Benefit Monthly
Each additional member+$479+$369+$146

 Source:  USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards

How to Apply for Food Supplement Benefits (Food Stamps) in Delaware?

Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) use one application for Food Benefits, Cash, Medical, and Child Care Assistance. More than one assistance program in an application is a common practice by a lot of the States since most of the people in need of food stamps are likely to be in need of cash, medical assistance, or in need of child care assistance. Applicants can get the application online or from the local County Division of Social Services. The applicant needs to fill out all the required information on the application and return it to the office.

The DHSS Office must accept all applications on the date of delivery as long as they have the name, address, and signature. All required information can be provided later at the interview.

Before a decision is made a DHSS worker has to interview the applicant and verify all the paperwork. If the applicant is eligible, they will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefits and for how long is the applicant eligible for.

Food Supplement Program applicants also have the option to apply for benefits online using Delaware ASSIST.


Food Supplement Benefits (Food Stamps) Verification of Information, Rules, Approval

If you submitted an application for Food Supplement Benefits and have scheduled an interview you must bring application supporting documents and proofs. Basic requirements are proof of who you are, where you live and how much is the gross and net income of the household per month.

  • Identification (Driver’s License, State ID card, passport);
  • Where you live (a rental agreement, a current bill with your address listed);
  • Social Security Numbers (see note below about certain non-citizens);
  • Earned income of everyone in your household for the past 30 days (recent pay stubs, a work statement from an employer). NOTE: If self-employed, income and expense or tax records;
  • Unearned income (Unemployment benefits, SSI, Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, child support, worker’s compensation, school grants or loans, rental income, etc.);
  • Housing costs (rent receipts, mortgage bills, property tax bill, insurance documents);
  • Phone and utility bills;
  • Medical expenses for anyone in your household who is elderly (60 and older) or disabled;
  • Child and adult care costs due to someone working, looking for work, attending training or school, or participating in a required work activity;
  • Child support paid by a person in your household;
  • Proof of lawful immigration status ONLY for non-citizens applying for benefits (an Alien Registration Card, visa).

The Food Assistance program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries. The federal rules state that food stamp beneficiaries between 18 and 59 who do not have any dependent children can get SNAP benefits only for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not work or participate in a workfare or employment and training program other than a job search.

In Delaware, this is the Food Supplement Employment and Training Program. It is a voluntary employment and training program for all able-bodied adults in households getting Food Supplement Benefits. It is a federal requirement that participants 18 to 50 years of age and who are identified as “able-bodied adults without dependents” must participate in a work program at least 20 hours per week in order to receive more than three months of food assistance in a 36-month period. Some Food Supplement Program recipients are required to register with the Division of Employment and Training (DET), conduct a monthly job search and report their job search to their Division of Social Services (DSS) case manager.

Applicants waiting for Food Supplement Benefits approval in Delaware should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local DSS office. Households cannot receive food stamps assistance from more than one Delaware 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 local office in order to assure their participation in the Food Supplement Program.

Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Supplement Benefits?

Delaware Food Supplement Program provides the Food Supplement Benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Delaware SNAP are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Delaware Food First EBT Card. The Food Supplement Benefits are deposited into the recipients’ accounts between the 2nd and 16th day of the month based on the first letter of the client’s last name.

First Letter of the Last Name is: A = benefits available on the 2nd
First Letter of the Last Name is: B = benefits available on the 3rd
First Letter of the Last Name is: C = benefits available on the 4th
First Letter of the Last Name is: D = benefits available on the 5th
First Letter of the Last Name is: E and F = benefits available on the 6th
First Letter of the Last Name is: G = benefits available on the 7th
First Letter of the Last Name is: H = benefits available on the 8th
First Letter of the Last Name is: I and J = benefits available on the 9th
First Letter of the Last Name is: K and L = benefits available on the 10th
First Letter of the Last Name is: M = benefits available on the 11th
First Letter of the Last Name is: N,O,P = benefits available on the 12th
First Letter of the Last Name is: Q and R = benefits available on the 13th
First Letter of the Last Name is: S = benefits available on the 14th
First Letter of the Last Name is: T, U, or V = benefits available on the 15th
First Letter of the Last Name is: W = benefits available on the 16th
First Letter of the Last Name is: X, Y or Z = benefits available on the 17th

If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or Card call Delaware EBT Customer Service: 1-800-526-9099

How and Where to Use the Food Supplement (Food Stamp) Benefits?

With their Delaware Food First EBT Card, the food stamp recipients can buy almost any food for human consumption from approved markets and groceries. The notable exception is tobacco, alcohol, food supplements, meals from restaurants, and hot food for immediate consumption. SNAP benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food items at Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized stores. Find Delaware Food Stamps Stores Near You.

I Need Food Stamps Now. It is an Emergency!

Some households may get Expedited Services, as per federal rules – that is 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. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible.

Delaware Food Assistance Benefits

Find more on what kind of food you can buy using your Delaware Food Assistance benefits…

Food Assistance Program | Eligibility | Apply | Approval | Benefits

Food Banks in Delaware

Delaware food banks play an important role in the overall Delaware 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 Delaware is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in Delaware.

Delaware Food Banks

Delaware Food Banks

Food Pantries in Delaware

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.

Delaware Food Pantries

Soup Kitchens in Delaware

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.

Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be served to a particular individual or a family.

Delaware Soup Kitchens

WIC Program in Delaware

Delaware Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to Delaware pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.

Delaware Women, Infants, and Children Program


School Meals in Delaware

School meals in Delaware are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

The Delaware 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.

Delaware School Lunch Program | Delaware School Breakfast Program


Special Milk Program in Delaware

Delaware 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 Delaware Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Delaware.

Delaware Special Milk Program


Summer Food Program in Delaware

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Delaware food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Delaware children get nutritious meals in the summertime.

The SFSP 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 Delaware 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.

Delaware Summer Food Service Program


Senior Nutrition in Delaware

Delaware 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 Delaware 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 Delaware Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.

Delaware Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA