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Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in West Virginia
West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
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 the 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 West Virginia. 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 West Virginia, the SNAP is known as West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamp Program) and is administered by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). The Federal Government pays 100% of West Virginia Food Stamp Benefits with federal grants appropriated for SNAP. The SNAP federal grants also pay a share of the West Virginia SNAP administrative cost.
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, “SNAP provides monthly benefits to help eligible households buy food. Eligibility to receive benefits is based on household size, income, assets and some household expenses. SNAP benefits may only be used to purchase food for human consumption and seeds/plants to grow food at home. Food Stamp benefits cannot be used for: household items, grooming products, tobacco, alcohol products, pet food, etc. ”
Who is Eligible for SNAP (Food Stamps) in West Virginia?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in West Virginia, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements, some of them specific to each State. 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 eligible, low‐income local population.
The Supplemental Nutrition 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 SNAP, certain people must be included in one household account even if they purchase and prepare meals separately. Husbands and wives of any household member, their children under age 22 when living together, plus children younger than 18 who are dependents of an adult household member are all considered as a part of one household formation.
In West Virginia anyone with limited income and resources may apply for food stamps but, in general, to qualify for West Virginia SNAP (Food Stamp) Benefits you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- West Virginia 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;
- Resource Limit – no limit on categorically eligible, otherwise, applying for SNAP benefits households, as per federal guidelines, 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 the 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 and others.
See the table for Maximum Monthly Income allowable for SNAP benefits eligibility in State of West Virginia as per household size:
[table id=1 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
Most West Virginia residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for SNAP benefits if they already participate in other means tested assistance programs. Getting any benefits funded by federal grants from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), for example, can make the applicant for SNAP benefits categorically eligible, thus bypassing the standard income eligibility and asset eligibility rules. Please, contact your local DHHR for more details on SNAP categorical eligibility.
Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Tool to find out if you may be eligible to get West Virginia SNAP benefits (Food Stamps).
The screening allows interested in getting West Virginia food stamps to provide some basic information and find out if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
If you use this Pre-Screening Tool you will be notified immediately on the screen if you qualify after completing the questionnaire. This is a pre-screening information, and you still have to make an application at your local West Virginia DHHR office.
Even if you are unsure whether you would qualify you still may be eligible for SNAP Benefits and you should still apply.
The Department of Health and Human Resources is the agency in West Virginia that can make final determination regarding your SNAP application in this State and grant you benefits.
What are Maximum West Virginia SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits?
If approved, the West Virginia SNAP benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum SNAP benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp monetary amounts a household can get. The dollar amounts of the food stamp benefits are called allotments.
[table id=29 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments
How to Apply for SNAP Benefits (Food Stamps) in West Virginia?
To apply for SNAP benefits in West Virginia download and print the Application for Benefits form offered by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources .
In addition to SNAP the same application form can be used to apply for following West Virginia programs and services:
- WV WORKS/TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
- Health Coverage (Medicaid/CHIP/Marketplace)
- LIEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance, when available)
- Emergency LIEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance, when available)
- EA (Emergency Assistance)
- SCA (School Clothing Allowance, when available)
More than one assistance program in an application is 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 and other assistance and services.
Applicants for SNAP in State of West Virginia have the right to file an application in person, through an authorized representative, by fax, by mail, or online. The SNAP application may be submitted to any West Virginia local County DHHR Office.
When applying for SNAP, if you do not have all the information that is needed to complete the SNAP application, provide as much as you can – but you must include your name, address, social security number, and your signature for the WV DHHR office to accept it. All required information and its verification can be provided later at the interview or upon request.
However, if you provide more information, it will help DHHR determine your eligibility more quickly.
If you are eligible, your SNAP Benefits will start from the date the DHHR receives your application.
The application process includes an SNAP eligibility interview and information verification. After you have submitted your application, the DHHR office will set up an interview and verify the information on your application. If you are elderly, disabled individual, or unable to go to the office due to a hardship, call the DHHR to request your SNAP eligibility interview conducted over the phone.
At the interview, a DHHR worker will go over the information on your application and verify the required supporting documentation and proofs. You will also receive information about job requirements and your responsibilities in participating in WV SNAP (Food Stamp program).
Within 30 days of the interview, if eligible, you will receive a notice stating how much food assistance benefit and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of the case is due, along with reporting requirements.
The SNAP benefit amount depends on the household size and its net income – that is all countable income minus all allowable deductions.
If West Virginia DHHR finds you eligible for SNAP benefits, you will be entitled to receive food stamps from the date your signed application was received.
West Virginia SNAP applicants also have the option to apply for SNAP benefits online using inROADS – the West Virginia State Online Application System that enables users to apply for SNAP and other State programs and services.
West Virginia SNAP Benefits Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
The DHHR has to verify provided information and interview you before determining if the household is eligible for SNAP Benefits.
Here is a list of what the DHHR may require you to bring to the interview:
- Citizenship / Alien Status
- Social Security Number
- Earned Income
- Other Income:
- Unemployment benefits
- Social Security income
- Student Income
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Child Support
- Railroad Benefits
- Rental income
- Retirement or pension
- Veteran Administration (VA) or military benefits
- Union Benefits
- Black Lung Benefits
- Mineral Rights
- Foster Care Payments
- Interests / Dividends
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- College funds
- IRA / 401k
- Homes, Land or Buildings
- Money market account
- Retirement fund
- Burial Plots, prepaid plans
- Business equipment
- Farm/Tractor Equipment
- Life insurance
- Dependent Care Expenses
- Medical Expenses
- Shelter Costs
- Property Taxes
- Homeowner’s Insurance
- Utility Bills
Additional information and proof may be required depending upon your situation.
Applicants for SNAP benefits in West Virginia should get a response within 30 days from the date they submitted their application to the DHHR office. When start getting food stamps benefits, households must report any changes of their situation in a set period of time in order to assure their participation in the West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Under the simplified reporting option, households are required to report changes in income between certification and scheduled reporting periods when total countable income rises above 130% of the poverty level or when work hours change for able‐bodied adults without dependents.
SNAP regulations require all non‐exempt household members to comply with work requirements. Work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job, and accepting a suitable employment offer. As per federal SNAP guidelines, individuals who fail to comply with SNAP work requirements without good cause are ineligible for program benefits and disqualified from SNAP for certain periods of time, depending on how many prior instances of non‐compliance there have been.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-49 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
As part of the SNAP federal grant assistance requirements, each State has to offer employment and training (E&T) program to its SNAP benefits recipients. Participants in such programs, where available, can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.
The main goal of the work requirement is to help the food stamp recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the government benefits.
In West Virginia the DHHR is responsible for assisting and directing persons in E&T activities which enable them to achieve or maintain economic self support. Registration for E&T, employment related evaluations and assessment, planning, counseling, job developing, and job placement are areas where West Virginia SNAP beneficiaries can get help.
Call: 1-800-642-8589 for more information on West Virginia E&T Program for SNAP beneficiaries.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the SNAP Benefits?
West Virginia SNAP provides the benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the West Virginia SNAP benefits are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through an West Virginia EBT Card, which is issued to anyone approved for SNAP benefits. The West Virginia SNAP Benefits are deposited into the recipients accounts each month following the Benefit Issuance Schedule.
Benefits are made available over the first nine days of every month, based on the first letter of the client’s last name:
First Letter of the Last Name is: B,X,Y, or Z = benefits available on the 1st
First Letter of the Last Name is: C or F = benefits available on the 2nd
First Letter of the Last Name is: H,N, or V = benefits available on the 3rd
First Letter of the Last Name is: I,M,O, or U = benefits available on the 4th
First Letter of the Last Name is: Q or S = benefits available on the 5th
First Letter of the Last Name is: A or W = benefits available on the 6th
First Letter of the Last Name is: J,K, or P = benefits available on the 7th
First Letter of the Last Name is: D,E, or R = benefits available on the 8th
First Letter of the Last Name is: G,L, or T = benefits available on the 9th
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call West Virginia EBT Customer Service: 866-545-6502
How and Where to Use the SNAP Benefits?
When approved, West Virginia SNAP beneficiaries will get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards – The Access Card. The monetary benefits of the West Virginia SNAP are transferred into the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through West Virginia EBT Cards. Households and individuals can use their EBT cards and spend the benefits like cash at any West Virginia 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 West Virginia SNAP participating stores 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 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 1-800-642-8589 for more information on West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs
West Virginia – Making Home Affordable options
Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help West Virginia homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation West Virginia homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.
There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.
Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:
- Lower your monthly mortgage payments with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Lower your interest rate with Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Check eligibility for principal reduction with Principal Reduction Alternative SM (PRA)
- Get help if currently unemployed with Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
- Reduce your 2nd mortgage monthly payments with Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
- Explore your foreclosure alternatives with Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673 (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.