Mississippi Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of Mississippi, there are many sources for help with food. The Mississippi 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 Mississippi?
How to apply for Mississippi Food Assistance?
How does Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) 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 Mississippi
Mississippi 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.
In Mississippi, the SNAP is administered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS). United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides federal grants and oversees the operation of Mississippi SNAP. According to the MDHS “SNAP is meant to be a supplement to one’s income to help ensure nutritional needs are met. Mississippi residents who face food insecurity are urged to apply for the program. Help is available for those struggling to put food on the table. Mississippi residents who face food insecurity are urged to apply for the program. Help is available for those struggling to put food on the table.”
Approx. of the total Mississippi population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in Mississippi
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in Mississippi
Who is Eligible for Mississippi SNAP Benefits?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Mississippi 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.
Mississippi Food Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
In Mississippi anyone with limited income and resources can apply for food stamps but, in general, you may qualify for Mississippi SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits if you have little or no income, work for low wages, receive TANF, SSI, or other government assistance, and meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Mississippi 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 who is 16 to 60 year old must be registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Limited Resources – households must 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);
- 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.
Some Mississippi residents may be automatically or so-called categorically eligible for SNAP benefits if they already participate in other means-tested assistance programs or getting any benefits from programs funded by federal grants. Under the federal SNAP regulations, getting any benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant, or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or getting informational guide, brochure, or informational booklet funded by federal grants can make the applicant for SNAP Benefits categorically eligible, thus bypassing asset eligibility rules.
Quick Eligibility Check
Mississippi residents interested in food assistance can use this Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool, to find out if they might be eligible to get Mississippi Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (Food Stamps). The Screening allows potential applicants for Mississippi food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
Using the tool you are notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire, but you still have to make and sign an application at your local County DHS office, which is the authority that can make the final determination regarding your case.
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 Mississippi SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits?
If approved, the Mississippi SNAP benefit amounts depend on the household size and its monthly net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household. Check the table column about Max Food Assistance Benefit per month in dollars for each size of the household.
How to Apply for SNAP (Food Stamps) in Mississippi?
Interested in applying for SNAP benefits can do it in person at the local county MDHS Economic Assistance office or print the SNAP application form the MDHS website and fill it out at home. In addition to SNAP, the Application can be used to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
When you apply for SNAP benefits, complete the form with all required information, mail or turn it into the local MDHS Economic Assistance office where you live. If you do not have all the required information at hand, you can submit the SNAP application only with your name, address, and signature – the MDHS 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.
An MDHS worker has to interview you in order to decide if you are eligible for SNAP benefits. If eligible, you will start receiving SNAP benefits from the date the office received your signed application.
A phone or even home interview can be arranged if you are 60 years or older or disabled and you cannot find anyone to go to the county office for you. Just contact your local MDHS office and explain your situation.
If you are applying for or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you may apply for SNAP benefits at your Social Security District Office.
Mississippi SNAP (Food Stamps) Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
Mississippi 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. Mississippi MDHS lists examples of information and proofs you may be asked to provide at the interview.
- Identity of the person making application and authorized representative, if applicable
- Driver’s license
- Work or school ID
- Work badge
- Health insurance ID
- ID for another assistance program
- Voter registration card
- Birth certificates
- Draft cards or military ID
- Medicare Card
- United States Passport
- Proof of where you live
- Rent or lease receipts from landlord
- Utility bills – gas, electric, water, etc
- Telephone bill
- Mortgage payment book
- Property tax statement
- Home owner’s insurance policy
- Alien Status for any non-U.S. citizen
- INS 1-151 Alien Registration Receipt Card
- 1-551 Re-entry Permit; 1-94 Arrival-Departure Record
- Social Security number for all individuals
- Social Security Card for each member
- Official document containing the Social Security Number
- Social Security Award Letter
- Income, all household income
- Check stubs
- Statement from employer
- Benefit award letter from Social Security
- Veterans Administration
- Unemployment Compensation
- Business records for self-employed
- Lay off or termination notice
- IRS 1040 Form – for self-employment
- Checking or savings account, bank statement
- Rent and Utility expenses
- Trust funds
- Court orders
- Deeds or other documents by which the trust was established
- Stocks and/or savings bonds
- Property owned, sold, or transferred
- Sale or transfer papers
- Proof of Relationship
- Marriage license
- Divorce decree
- Names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and places of employment of the absent parent(s) of your children
- Dependent care (child/disabled or aged dependent care)
- Medical expenses for anyone aged 60 or older or disabled
- Medical bills from hospitals or clinics
- Pharmacy printouts
- Health insurance premium receipt or stub
- Payment agreement with doctor, and/or hospital
- Statement from a licensed physician or medical personnel in a public health or outpatient clinic
The federal law requires that, unless exempted, each able-bodied household member who is 16 to 60 years old must be registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer.
MDHS has partnered with the Mississippi Community College Board to offer Employment and Training (E&T) Program to eligible SNAP recipients. The program provides access to career and technical courses of study, and training programs. To qualify, you must be SNAP only recipient and registered to work with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. You can access and print the SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP) EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING (E&T) APPLICATION from the MDHS website.
In particular, the SNAP E&T Program offers:
- An Assessment by a Career and Technical Adviser
- Assistance with the completion of grant and scholarship applications
- Enrollment in career education and training programs
- Assistance with eligible tuition expenses not covered by Pell or other federal or state grants or scholarships
The Mississippi SNAP Employment and Training Program provides eligible participants with the opportunity to engage in independent job search, on the job training, an work experience that would help SNAP recipients transition to economic independence.
Applicants waiting for SNAP benefits approval in Mississippi should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the local MDHS office. Households getting SNAP (food stamps) benefits must report when the household income meets or exceeds the current income level for the household size by the tenth (10th) of the month following the month in which the change occurred. Such reporting of income change is required in order to assure their participation in the Mississippi SNAP.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits?
Approved for Mississippi SNAP benefits applicants get an Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) card. The EBT card can be used as a debit card at any Mississippi SNAP participating grocery stores displaying the Quest logo. 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 19th of every month, based on the last two digits of the client’s case #.
Case # ends in: 00-06 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
Case # ends in: 07-13 = benefits available on the 6th of the month
Case # ends in: 14-20 = benefits available on the 7th of the month
Case # ends in: 21-27 = benefits available on the 8th of the month
Case # ends in: 28-34 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
Case # ends in: 35-41 = benefits available on the 10th of the month
Case # ends in: 42-48 = benefits available on the 11th of the month
Case # ends in: 49-55 = benefits available on the 12th of the month
Case # ends in: 56-62 = benefits available on the 13th of the month
Case # ends in: 63-69 = benefits available on the 14th of the month
Case # ends in: 70-75 = benefits available on the 15th of the month
Case # ends in: 76-81 = benefits available on the 16th of the month
Case # ends in: 82-87 = benefits available on the 17th of the month
Case # ends in: 88-93 = benefits available on the 18th of the month
Case # ends in: 94-99 = benefits available on the 19th of the month
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Mississippi EBT Customer Service: 1-866-512-5087
How and Where to Use the SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits?
Mississippi SNAP benefits are provided via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Mississippi SNAP are transferred into the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Mississippi EBT cards. Households and individuals can use their EBT cards and spend the benefits like cash at any Mississippi grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept SNAP (food stamp) benefits.
Check this list of Mississippi Food Stamps Stores Near You that are authorized to take EBT cards for purchasing of SNAP-eligible food items. 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 SNAP 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 1-800-948-3050 for more information on the Mississippi Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Mississippi Food Assistance Program
Find more about Mississippi Food Assistance Program
Search for Food Assistance by County and Town
Food Banks in Mississippi
Mississippi food banks play an important role in the overall Mississippi food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State of Mississippi.
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 Mississippi is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in Mississippi.
Mississippi Food Banks
Food Pantries in Mississippi
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 Mississippi
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 Mississippi
Mississippi Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to Mississippi pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in Mississippi
School meals in Mississippi are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The Mississippi 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 Mississippi
Mississippi 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 Mississippi Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Mississippi.
Summer Food Program in Mississippi
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Mississippi food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi
Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA