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:
A spouse of any household member.
Parents living with their natural, adopted or stepchildren who are age 21 or younger.
Children younger than 18 who are dependents of an adult household member.
What are the basic eligibility requirements?
Citizenship - Only U.S. citizens and some legal foreign residents of the United States may receive food benefits.
Work Registration - Anyone in a household who is 18 to 59 years old and can work must register for, look for and accept work. There are some exceptions to this requirement.
- Resources - A household may have no more than $2,250 in cash and bank account assets. If a member of the household is 60 or older, the household may have no more than $3,500 in resources. Some resources not used to calculate household assets include the dwelling, its contents and personal belongings. Vehicles are also excluded.
- 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 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.
Can I get SNAP benefits right away?
You may qualify for SNAP benefits soon after applying under certain circumstances, if:
Your household's monthly rent/mortgage and utilities costs are more than its gross monthly income.
Your household's gross monthly income is less than $150 and resources, such as cash or bank accounts, total $100 or less.
Your household includes members who are destitute migrant or seasonal farm workers.
The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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 if a 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.
What are my rights?
As a SNAP benefits recipient, you have the following rights:
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.
Your household will be notified within 30 days of applying for SNAP benefits if your application is approved or denied.
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.
- 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.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language and other alternative communication for program information may contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals with hearing and speech challenges may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Program information also may be available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form or call (866) 632-9992 to request a form be mailed, faxed or emailed to you. Submit your completed form or letter to the USDA by postal mail, fax or email.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
Fax: (202) 690-7442