The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Food Stamps Program – USDA
SNAP is a federal program run by state and local agencies. It has been known by the general public as the Food Stamps program and the grants and direct payments are made to states and used to help low income people buy food.
The goal of the program is to reduce hunger and malnutrition by increasing food purchasing power of all eligible households who apply for food stamps. Recipients of the food stamps benefits may purchase food only with their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards only from authorized retailers.
You must be US Citizen, US National or Lawful Permanent Residents with 40 work credits to apply for food stamps. In addition, most applicants between the ages of 18 and 60 must register for work and may be required to participate in an employment training program.
A general eligibility requirement is a household resources (cash, money in bank accounts and other property) less than $2,250 for general applicants and less than $3,250 for persons who are disabled or age 60 or older. To qualify for food stamps most households must meet an income limit. The income limits vary by state and household size and may change each year.
Specific rules of SNAP cover situation of households with:
- mixed immigration status,
- one or more college students,
- one or more persons on strike,
- one or more seasonal workers, or
- receiving rental income or income from boarders.
SNAP has many rules and regulations vary by state. You may use the SNAP Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool to see if you may be eligible for food stamp benefits.
You have to apply in the State where you live in. Only the State agency responsible for administering the SNAP in a particular state can make the final determination about your eligibility and certification to get SNAP benefits. For more information on eligibility select the State you live in from the menu.
How to Apply for Food Stamps (SNAP)
Food stamps SNAP applications are available at any local Social Security office or SNAP office. You will be interviewed and you should bring the following:
- Identification such as a driver’s license, state ID, birth certificate or alien card;
- Proof of income for each member of your household, such as pay stubs or records that show if Social Security, SSI or a pension for each member of your household is received;
- Proof of how much you spend for child care;
- Rent receipts or proof of your mortgage payments;
- Records of your utility costs; and
- Medical bills for those members of your household age 60 or older, and for those who receive government payments such as Social Security or SSI because they are disabled.
If you are eligible for food stamps benefits your state will send you Electronic Benefit Transfer card (similar to bank card) you can use to buy food.
Check how much of Food Stamps you can get through the online SNAP Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool here
You may contact your Social Security or local SNAP office for more information about SNAP and eligibility rules.