Georgia Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
Georgia State has many sources that can help with food if needed. Georgia Food Stamp Program, food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.
ON THIS PAGE
Learn more about
Georgia Food Stamp Program a.k.a SNAP benefits
Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in Georgia?
How to apply for Georgia Food Stamp Program?
How does Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) 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 Georgia
Georgia Food Stamp 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 Georgia. 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 Georgia, the SNAP is known as the Georgia Food Stamp Program and is administered by the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) under the Georgia Department of Human Services. The federal government pays 100% of Georgia Food Stamp Benefits while the administrative cost of operating the Georgia Food Stamp program is shared between the US Federal Government and the State of Georgia.
According to the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, “The Food Stamp Program provides monthly benefits to low-income households to help pay for the cost of food. The program also provides nutrition education to low-income households to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles, as well as provides employment and training opportunities for single childless adults and outreach activities to promote the advantages of the Food Stamp Program to low-income households and communities.”
Approx. of the total Georgia population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in Georgia
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in Georgia
Who is Eligible for Food Stamps in Georgia?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Georgia, like in other States, are based on a limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. 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 implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of the eligible, low‐income local population.
Georgia Food Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
For the purpose of the Georgia Food Stamp Program, everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares food together is considered as a part of one household formation. The definition includes husbands and wives, and their children under age 22 when living together, even if they purchase and prepare meals separately.
In Georgia anyone with limited income and resources may apply for food stamps but, in general, to qualify for Georgia Food Stamp Benefits you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Georgia Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member must work or participate in an employment and training program, registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- 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 with gross incomes over 200% of the poverty line face a $3,250 limit on liquid assets, otherwise, they must meet only the net income limits in order to qualify. 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. The resulting numbers must fall below the net income dollar amounts listed in the table below for your household to get food assistance benefits. This dollar amount depends on the number of people in your household.
See the table with Georgia food stamp income limits per household size below.
Georgia Food Stamp Program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries. Georgia households with disabled or elderly members may qualify for food stamp benefits regardless of the amount of gross income.
Some Georgia residents may be automatically or so-called categorically eligible for Food Assistance if they already participate in other means-tested assistance programs. Getting benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Assistance categorically eligible, thus bypassing the income eligibility and asset eligibility rules. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States do have to 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 Assistance applicants eligible.
Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you may be eligible to get Georgia Food Assistance Benefits (Food Stamps). Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make an application at your local Georgia DFCS County Office. There are other federal and state-specific requirements that must be met for Food Stamp Benefits applicants in different situations.
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 are the Benefits?
If approved, the Georgia Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts. The dollar amounts of the food stamp benefits are called allotments.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Georgia?
In Georgia, one application is used to apply for Cash Assistance, Medical Assistance, and the Food Assistance Benefits. Applicants can get the application online or from the local Georgia DFCS offices. The applicant needs to fill out all the required information on the application and return it to the office.
You can print the Georgia Application for Benefits, read the questions and complete all required information, sign, and turn your application into the local Georgia DFCS Office where you live. If you need help call: 877-423-4746.
You can go into the local DFCS office and complete the application while you are there. If you do not have all the information, complete as much as you can including your name, social security number, what you are applying for, and sign it. The DFCS Office has to accept the application with the current date. You can provide the rest of the information later at the interview. Once you have filed the application, you will be given or mailed an appointment for an interview, if needed, with a DFCS case manager.
Before a decision is made you may need to provide some supporting documents and complete an interview that would help DFCS determine your eligibility. In some cases that can be done over the phone. After the interview, if eligible, you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefits and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of their case is due.
You may also apply for Georgia Food Stamp Benefits online via the COMPASS website at www.compass.ga.gov. Applicants online may also check their eligibility for other DHS programs via the COMPASS Pre-screening Tool. Additionally, COMPASS allows food stamp recipients to report changes in household circumstances and to renew their benefits online.
Georgia Food Stamp Program application must be processed within 30 days from the date of filing. If your household is approved, you will start receiving Food Stamp Benefits from the date the office received your signed application. The Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and its net income – which is all countable income minus all allowable deductions.
Georgia Food Stamps Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
The DFCS Office has to verify provided information and interview you before determining if the household is eligible for Food Stamp Benefits. Georgia DFCS lists examples of information that may be needed at the interview:
- Proof of your identity
- Proof of your citizenship such as birth certificate, U.S. passport, hospital record, etc.
- Immigration papers for persons applying for benefits, who are not U.S. citizens
- Social security numbers for persons applying for benefits
- Proof of income for each household member (check stubs, award letters for social security or veterans administration, unemployment benefits, contributions from family or friends, child support, etc.)
- Last month’s rent receipt or mortgage payment book
- Medical bills for persons age 60 and older and/or disabled
- Childcare receipts for children whose parents are working, in school, or in training
Additional information and proof may be required depending upon your situation. In case you are not able to provide all the information during the food stamp interview, you will have 10 days from the date of the interview to provide the required proof.
Applicants for Food Stamps Assistance in Georgia should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local Food Assistance Office. Households cannot receive food stamps assistance from more than one Georgia county in a month. Households getting food stamps benefits must report any changes in their household situation in a 6-months period in order to assure their participation in the Food Assistance Program.
The Food Assistance program has special rules for elderly or disabled applicants and beneficiaries.
The law limits the Food Stamp 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.
As part of federal food assistance funding, each State has to offer employment and training to its food stamp recipients. Participants in Georgia Employment and Training (E&T) Program can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.
Georgia E&T Program offers employment and training to food stamp recipients in a variety of fields – from health care and manufacturing to teaching and welding. All this is done for the sole purpose to help individuals get the skills and training necessary to find a job that pays a living wage.
The federal and state rules require that all working, able-bodied E&T program participants in Georgia, that get food stamps cannot voluntarily quit a job or reduce work hours. In addition, they must provide information to determine their employment status and must report if their number of work hours goes below 20 hours per week and when their income exceeds 130% of the federal poverty level. The main goal of the E&T program is to help Georgia food stamp recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the Food Stamp Program.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Stamps Benefits?
Georgia Food Stamp Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Georgia Food Stamps are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through the Georgia EBT Card. The Food Assistance Benefits are deposited into the recipients’ accounts each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.
Georgia Electronic Benefits are made available from the 5th to the 23rd of every month, based on the last two digits of the client’s ID #:
ID # ends in: 00-09 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
ID # ends in: 10-19 = benefits available on the 7th of the month
ID # ends in: 20-29 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
ID # ends in: 30-39 = benefits available on the 11th of the month
ID # ends in: 40-49 = benefits available on the 13th of the month
ID # ends in: 50-59 = benefits available on the 15th of the month
ID # ends in: 60-69 = benefits available on the 17th of the month
ID # ends in: 70-79 = benefits available on the 19th of the month
ID # ends in: 80-89 = benefits available on the 21st of the month
ID # ends in: 90-99 = benefits available on the 23rd of the month
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Georgia EBT Customer Service: 1-888-421-3281
How and Where to Use Food Stamp Benefits?
When approved, food stamp beneficiaries will get the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards – Georgia EBT Card. The beneficiaries can use their EBT cards at any Food Stamp grocery stores and Farmers’ Markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). With their EBT Card, food stamp recipients can buy any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Allowed are also seeds and plants to grow food for the family’s consumption. Non-grocery items such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco are not allowed.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Stamp 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 farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify for it, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-877-423-4746 for more information on Georgia Food Stamp Program.
Georgia Food Assistance Benefits
Find more on what kind of food you can buy using your Georgia Food Stamp benefits…
Food Assistance Program | Eligibility | Apply | Approval | Benefits
Food Banks in Georgia
Georgia food banks play an important role in the overall Georgia 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 Georgia is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in Georgia State.
Georgia Food Banks
Food Pantries in Georgia
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 Georgia
Soup kitchens serve cooked meals on site to needy people at no cost. Like the 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 the 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 Georgia
Georgia Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in Georgia
School meals in Georgia are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The Georgia 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 Georgia
Georgia 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 Georgia Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Georgia.
Summer Food Program in Georgia
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Georgia food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia
Georgia 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 Georgia 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 Georgia Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA