West Virginia Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of West Virginia, there are many sources for help with food. The West Virginia 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 West Virginia?
How to apply for West Virginia Food Assistance?
How does West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources 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 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 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. ”
Approx. of the total West Virginia population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in West Virginia
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in West Virginia
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 a 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 the 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 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 the State of West Virginia as per household size.
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 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 the final determination regarding your SNAP application in this State and grant you benefits.
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 Maximum West Virginia SNAP (Food Stamps) Benefits?
If approved, the West Virginia SNAP benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of their net income. USDA has maximum SNAP benefit limits per month per household size. Check the table column about Max Food Assistance Benefit per month in dollars for each size of the household.
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 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 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 a 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 the 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 development, and job placement are areas where West Virginia SNAP beneficiaries can get help.
Call: 1-800-642-8589 for more information
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 a 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 the required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-800-642-8589 for more information on West Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
West Virginia Food Assistance Program
Find more about West Virginia Food Assistance Program
Search for Food Assistance by County and Town
Food Banks in West Virginia
West Virginia food banks play an important role in the overall West Virginia food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State of West Virginia.
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 Banks of West Virginia are such non-profit organizations that work to alleviate hunger in West Virginia.
West Virginia Food Banks
Food Pantries in West Virginia
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 West Virginia
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 West Virginia
West Virginia Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to West Virginia pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in West Virginia
School meals in West Virginia are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The West Virginia 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 West Virginia
West Virginia 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 West Virginia Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of West Virginia.
Summer Food Program in West Virginia
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another West Virginia food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia
West Virginia 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA