If you are an individual or part of a family that needs help with food-related expenses, there is a statewide initiative that can help. The Food Assistance Program (better known as SNAP in other states), was designed to provide low-income residents in need of food, meals and groceries with the help in which they are entitled to, thanks to government funding.
The types of food you can buy with your SNAP benefits include fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, bread and plant seeds, if you wish to grow food in your household. Note that you cannot buy pet food, household supplies and cleaning products, paper products, alcohol, tobacco, vitamins, medication or prepared foods with your food stamp benefits.
Below, find more information on the Food Assistance Program application process, food stamp eligibility requirements in and how to contact the Department of Children and Families.
How to Apply for the Food Assistance Program
In order to start collecting your benefits via SNAP, you must first open an application for food stamps. To begin, you must create an account, which requires your name, a user ID and password and standard security measures.
To file your application, have the following information handy:
- Your Social Security Number
- Proof of identity
- Your date of birth
- Proof of Citizenship in the U.S.
- Income information
- Child support records
- Information regarding your assets (bank account savings, property and vehicles you own)
- Expenses related to your housing (including utilities and rent)
- Your current health insurance policy
Your SNAP account will allow you to start and save your application, check on the status of a submitted application, view your account status and benefits, report changes to your application and request help. Note that it can take from seven to 30 days to process your Food Assistance Program application.
Where to Apply for SNAP
You can apply for the Food Assistance Program in a few different ways. Depending on which method is most convenient for you, fill out the required paperwork for food stamps, and submit it:
Online – You will have the convenience of saving your application to return to, checking the status and more via your own personal account.
In person – You can receive in-person help with your food stamp application from a community partner in your area. Find a location that will assist you either online or by calling the number listed below.
Via phone – If you need help completing your SNAP benefits form, call 1-866-762-2237 and a trained representative will assist you with the process.
Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements
Before you apply for food stamps assistance to SNAP benefits, be sure to review the eligibility requirements, as determined by the Department of Children and Families. In order to qualify for food stamp assistance, you must be able to prove:
Your identity – You will need to support your identity with a certified state ID, drivers license or U.S. passport.
That you are working or job hunting – If you are 18 to 50, you must either be employed, be actively seeking work or entered in a job training program.
Your income meets the limits – Your gross income limit must be equal to or less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, as determined by the size of your household.
You live in the US– Proof of residency through utility bills, bank statements and paystubs will suffice.
Your Citizenship – Provide proof of U.S. Citizenship or a qualified document regarding your noncitizen status.
You have a Social Security Number – If not, you must show you have applied for one.
You pay child support – Any and all payments must be up-to-date.
The sum of your assets – Calculate the value of vehicles and property owned, along with any funds in your savings account.
You will submit to change reporting – If your household’s gross monthly income exceeds 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, you must report any change within 10 days after the month’s end that affected your earnings.
Note that there are several instances that may determine you are ineligible to apply for the Food Assistance Program, including:
- If you were convicted of drug trafficking.
- If you are running away from a felony warrant.
- If you break the rules of the Food Assistance Program on purpose.
- If you are a noncitizen without qualified status in the U.S.
- If you are a college student (determined on a case-by-case basis).
If you would like to apply for expedited services and receive your benefits within seven days, you must have:
- A monthly gross income less than $150
- Liquid assets of less than $150
- A total of your monthly gross income and liquid assets equaling less than your rent/mortgage and utilities.
- Proof that you are a destitute migrant or a seasonal farmer with less than $100 in liquid assets.