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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Formerly Food Stamps)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps people with little or no money buy food for healthy meals at participating stores. SNAP benefits increase a household's food buying power when added to the household's money.

On this page you will find the following information:

Assistance With SNAP Benefits:

SNAP Benefit Information

Who is eligible for SNAP benefits?

Any household meeting basic income and other requirements may be able to receive SNAP benefits.

A household is any person, family or group of people who live and buy and eat food together. Adult children older than 21 who live with their parents may qualify for their own SNAP benefit accounts if they purchase and prepare food separately from their parents. Adult siblings living together, but not with their parents, who purchase and prepare meals separately may also have separate SNAP benefit accounts.

The following people must be included in one household account, regardless of whether they purchase and prepare meals separately:

  1. A spouse of any household member.
  2. Parents living with their natural, adopted or stepchildren who are age 21 or younger.
  3. Children younger than 18 who are dependents of an adult household member.
What are the basic eligibility requirements?
  1. Citizenship
    Only U.S. citizens and some legal foreign residents of the United States may receive food benefits.
  2. Work Registration
    Anyone in a household who is 16 to 60 years old and can work must register for, look for and accept work. There are some exceptions to this requirement.
  3. Resources
    A household may have no more than $2,000 in cash and bank account assets. If a member of the household is 60 or older, the household may have no more than $3,250 in resources. Some resources not used to calculate household assets include the dwelling, its contents and personal belongings. Vehicles are also excluded.
  4. Income
    The amount of money a household can receive and still be eligible to receive SNAP benefits depends on household size. Money from wages or other payments to any household member is counted as income.
    Your household may qualify for deductions from the household's income, such as rent, utilities, legally obligated child support paid to someone outside the household and babysitting expenses. If your household includes older or disabled members, you may be able to deduct medical costs.
    Proof of income and expenses must be provided to receive deductions. Such proof can be provided with pay stubs, social security letters, rent and utility receipts or savings account statements. The amount of benefits your household will receive is based on household size and income after deductions.
How do I apply for SNAP benefits?

The SNAP application form is available in various languages.  To find the application you need, please go to the SNAP Application page. You may also call 1-855-306-8959 to apply by phone.  Once your application is received, you will be contacted to complete an interview.  The head of your household, or an authorized representative, must be interviewed before the application can be completed.

If you print an application off the internet and mail it in, you must be interviewed by a worker before your application can be processed.  The location and mailing address for each Family Support office can be found here.  You may also apply in person at any Family Support office.  Benefits will begin from the date your application is received.  If received after business hours (M-F, 8-4:30 pm), the application will be dated for the next business day.

Your household may name someone to be your authorized representative to act on your household's behalf in completing the interview for SNAP benefits and to use your benefits to purchase food for your household.

If your household needs help right away, you may be able to get your SNAP benefits within a few days after applying.

How will I know if my household is approved for SNAP benefits?

After filing an application, you will receive a notice within 30 days telling you whether or not your household has been approved for SNAP benefits.

If your household is approved, you will receive a letter telling you the amount of benefits you will receive and advising you when you have to be interviewed again to continue receiving benefits.

How are SNAP benefits used?

Your household's SNAP benefits will be deposited into a SNAP benefit account each month. Your household will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card in the mail along with instructions on how to activate the card and how to choose a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in order to access your food benefit account.

Sign the back of your EBT card right away. SNAP benefits can be used just like money to purchase almost any food item, except ready-to-eat hot foods. You may also use SNAP benefits to buy seeds and plants to grow fruits and vegetables. The following items cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits: tobacco, alcohol, pet food, soap and other household products, medicines, and other non-food items.

What are my rights?

As a SNAP benefits recipient, you have the following rights:

  1. Your household may begin the process of applying for SNAP benefits the same day you visit the SNAP benefit office by completing a short form.
  2. Your household will be notified within 30 days of applying for SNAP benefits if your application is approved or denied.
  3. Your household may receive SNAP benefits within a few days if you qualify and have little or no money, or if you meet certain income requirements.
  4. If you disagree with any action taken in your case, you are entitled to a fair hearing. At this hearing your household will have a chance to tell an impartial hearing officer why you disagree with any action in your case. If it is found that an error has been made in your household's case, you will receive any benefits denied as a result of the error.

By federal law, sales tax may not be charged on food purchased with food benefits. If your household purchases food with a combination of food benefits and cash, sales tax may only be charged for taxable items paid with cash.

For more information about SNAP, contact SNAP Call Services toll free at (855) 306-8959 or call the Ombudsman toll free at (800) 372-2973. TTY is available at (800) 627-4702.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.  20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). For any other information dealing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues, persons should either contact the USDA SNAP Hotline Number at (800) 221-5689, which is also in Spanish or call the State Information/Hotline Numbers (click the link for a listing of hotline number by State); found online at USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

You may also file your complaint with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Office of Human Resource Management, EEO Compliance Branch, 275 E. Main St., 5C-D, Frankfort, KY 40621 or call (502) 564-7770.

If you have other complaints about your SNAP case, you can call the Ombudsman's Office at 1-800-372-2973 or (TTY) 1-800-627-4702.    

Can I get SNAP benefits right away?

You may qualify for SNAP benefits soon after applying under certain circumstances, if:

  1. Your household's monthly rent/mortgage and utilities costs are more than its gross monthly income.
  2. Your household's gross monthly income is less than $150 and resources, such as cash or bank accounts, total $100 or less.
  3. Your household includes members who are migrant or seasonal farm workers.

The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

How to get a new EBT card if lost, stolen or damaged

If you need to report your card lost, stolen or damaged, call 1-888-979-9949.

This number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Last Updated 3/10/2016