Facts About SNAP | Food and Nutrition Service

The watch information is based on a booklet that the Food and Nutrition Service sends to people who ask for information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. We besides send supplies of the booklet to state agencies to distribute. If you would like a replicate of the tract, write to us at 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314, or e-mail us using our Ask USDA .
SNAP helps low-income people buy the food they need for estimable health. You may be able to get SNAP benefits if you are :

  • Working for low wages or working part-time;
  • Unemployed;
  • Receiving welfare or other public assistance payments;
  • Elderly or disabled and are low-income; or
  • Homeless.

State public aid agencies run the course of study through their local anesthetic offices. The following basic rules apply in most states, but a few states have different rules .
The amount of SNAP benefits you can get is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture ’ s Thrifty Food Plan, which is an estimate of how a lot it costs to buy food to prepare alimentary, low-cost meals for your family. This estimate is changed every year to keep pace with food prices.

In SNAP, a family is normally a group of people who live together and buy food and fix meals together. If your family passes the program ’ s eligibility tests, the total of SNAP benefits you get will depend on the numeral of people in your family and on how much monthly income is left after certain expenses are deducted .
SNAP benefits help supplement an individual ’ south or a family ’ s income to help buy alimentary food. Most households must spend some of their own cash along with their SNAP benefits to buy the food they need .
To apply for benefits or for more data about SNAP, contact your local anesthetic SNAP function. The local office may be listed under “ Human Resources, ” “ Social Services, ” “ Food Stamps ” or Electronic Benefits Transfer ( EBT ) ” in the state of matter or local politics pages of the telephone directory. You may besides call SNAP ‘s toll spare line at 1-800-221-5689, or your state ‘s toll loose information line or go to your department of state ’ s web web site. many states have a locator on the web site that will tell you where the nearest office is .

Applying for SNAP Benefits

How to get a paper application – You may ask for an application in person from the SNAP function, over the call, or by mail. You can besides ask person else to get one for you. The SNAP office will give you an application form on the same sidereal day you ask for one. You can besides download a country lotion at : SNAP department of state applications or directly from your submit ‘s web site. States should have their applications in every language in which they make a print lotion available. This will enable you to print the application, fill it out, and send it to your local SNAP position right away .
How to turn in a paper application – You can take, send, or mail the shape to the SNAP position. Some states accept fax or electronic mail applications. The position will accept the shape on the same day you turn it in, even if they can not consultation you on that day .
How to apply on-line – Some states accept applications on-line. You can find out if your state has an on-line application at : State on-line applications or you can access your state ‘s web site to find out if you can apply on-line .
How to apply by telephone – If your country develops a way to apply by telephone, their web site or telephone organization will let you know how to do this .
What information to provide – To begin applying, fill in your name, address, telephone phone number, and a a lot other information as you can. If you are turning in a newspaper application shape, sign it. If you are applying on-line or by telephone, follow your department of state ‘s instructions .
Accurate information – All of your answers must be complete and honest. If you knowingly give false information or intentionally fail to report required information, you may incur significant penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and removal from the plan .
The oklahoman you get the shape in to the office, the oklahoman you can get your benefits, if you are eligible. If you qualify for SNAP benefits, you will get them nobelium late than 30 days from the date the office got your application. If your family has little or no money and needs aid justly away, you may be able to get SNAP benefits within 7 days .
After you have turned in your application, the SNAP office will contact you to set up an consultation to go over your application. A SNAP worker will explain the program rules and help you complete any parts of the application that you have not filled out. The worker will besides ask you for proofread of certain information you have given. Ask the proletarian to explain anything you don ’ triiodothyronine understand. It ’ mho important that you understand the rules .
If you and everyone you live with are applying for or getting auxiliary Security Income ( SSI ) benefits, you may apply for SNAP benefits in your Social Security district agency. ( This does not apply in California, where people who receive SSI benefits get cash rather of SNAP benefits ) .
Households that apply for benefits under SNAP may besides be able to apply for public aid and, in some locations, state or local anesthetic general aid at the lapp time .

Meeting Eligibility Rules and Providing Proof That You Are Eligible

Listed downstairs are some of the basic rules and the kinds of proof you may need during your interview. Your case may be completed faster if you bring the proof with you to the interview .
If you have trouble getting papers ( documents ) or information you need, the actor may be able to help you. If the papers are not easy to get, you may give the name of person, such as your employer, who can confirm your statements .
Citizenship Status : U. S. citizens and many non-citizens are eligible for the program. For a complete number of the special requirements for non-citizens, go to our immigrant policy page. even if some members of the family are not eligible, those who are may be able to get SNAP benefits .
Social Security Numbers : Everyone in the family that is applying for benefits must have or apply for a Social Security number. A family member that does not have a Social Security issue can choose not to apply for benefits and be treated as a non-applicant. even though non-applicants are ineligible for SNAP benefits, their income and resources are calm counted to determine eligibility for the remaining family members. If you are differently eligible for SNAP benefits, you can get them for a short circuit time while you are waiting for your Social Security issue .
Work Rules : With certain exceptions, able adults between 16 and 60 years of age must register for work, accept an offer of desirable bring, and take separate in an employment and training broadcast to which they will be referred by the SNAP position .
by and large, able adults aged 18 to 50 who do not have children and are not pregnant can entirely get SNAP benefits for 3 months in a 3-year time period unless they are working or participating in a work or workfare program. There are a few exceptions .
Students : Most able students ages 18 through 49 who are enrolled in college or other institutions of higher education at least one-half time are not eligible for SNAP benefits. however, students may be able to get SNAP benefits if otherwise eligible and they :

  • Get public assistance benefits under a Title IV-A program;
  • Take part in a state or federally financed work study program;
  • Work at least 20 hours a week;
  • Are taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 6;
  • Are taking concern of a subject family extremity over the age of 5 but under 12 and do not have adequate child care to enable them to attend school and make a minimal of 20 hours, or to take part in a country or federally finance ferment report platform ; or
  • Are assigned to or placed in a college or certain early schools through :

    • A program under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 ( PL 105-220 ) ;
    • A broadcast under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 ;
    • An employment and training course of study under the Food Stamp Act ; or
    • An employment and train course of study operated by a state of matter or local anesthetic government .

besides, a unmarried rear enrolled full prison term in college and taking care of a dependent family extremity under the senesce of 12 can get SNAP benefits if differently eligible .
Persons on Strike : Households with a person who is on strike because of a parturiency challenge are not eligible unless they were eligible the day before the hit and continue to be eligible at the time of application. eligible households can not get more SNAP benefits just because the assume extremity is getting less income .
Resources : Households may have $ 2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $ 3,250 in countable resources if at least one person is senesce 60 or older, or is disabled. however, certain resources are NOT counted, such as a home and draw, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income ( SSI ), the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families ( TANF ) ( once AFDC ), and most retirement ( pension ) plans .
Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are :

  • used for income-producing purposes,
  • annually producing income consistent with their fair market value,
  • needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute),
  • used as the home,
  • needed to transport a physically disabled household member,
  • needed to carry most of the household’s fuel or water, or
  • if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed on the vehicle, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold).

For the following accredited vehicles, the fair marketplace prize over $ 4,650 is counted :

  • one per adult household member, and
  • any other vehicle a household member under 18 drives to work, school, job training, or to look for work.

For all other vehicles, the fairly commercialize value over $ 4,650 or the fairness rate, whichever is more, is counted as a resource .
Income : Under SNAP rules, about all types of income are counted to determine if a family is eligible. Most households must have income at or below certain dollar limits before and after deductions are allowed. however, households in which all members are getting public aid or SSI ( or, in some locations, general aid ) do not have to meet the income eligibility tests.

( proof : You must provide proof of the income of all family members. Examples of validation include latest yield stub or a statement from your employer ; and benefit letters from Social Security, Veterans Administration, unemployment recompense, or pensions. )
Deductions : After adding all of your family ’ south countable income, the SNAP actor will subtract certain deductions. The income after deductions must fall below a certain dollar measure for your family to get SNAP benefits. This dollar measure will depend on the number of people in your family. The pursuit deductions are allowed for all households :

  • The standard deduction in most states is at least $155, and higher for households with 4 or more persons. However, Alaska, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and Guam have standard deductions that are at least $265, $219, $137 and $312, respectively for households with 3 or more persons for Fiscal Year 2016;
  • 20 percent of earned income;
  • Actual costs of dependent care (Dependent care includes care for children and disabled adults if this care is needed so that a household member can work, look for a job, or get training or education leading to a job.);
  • Legally owed child-support payments;
  • Shelter expenses that are more than half of your income (There is a dollar limit on the amount of shelter expenses that may be deducted unless there is an elderly or disabled member. If there is an elderly or disabled member, the dollar limit does not apply.); and
  • Medical expenses over $35 a month for household members who are age 60 or older or receiving certain disability payments. (Medical costs are deductible only if they are not covered by insurance, a government program, or some other source.)

Please, provide proof : Bills or records of payment for the following deductions :

  • Dependent-care costs, such as a babysitter, day-care center, or attendant for a disabled adult;
  • Child-support payments, such as a court order and cancelled checks;
  • Rent or mortgage;
  • Insurance on the structure (but not the contents) of a home;
  • Telephone, electricity, gas, oil, water, sewerage, garbage collection, and installation costs for utilities; and
  • Medical expenses and proof of any reimbursement, such as an insurance policy or statement from an insurance company or agency paying these bills.)
Finding Out If You Qualify

After your consultation, the SNAP office will send you a notice .
If you do not qualify for SNAP benefits, the notice will explain why .
If you do qualify, the notice will explain how a lot your SNAP benefit will be. It will besides tell you how many months you can get SNAP benefits before you must reapply .
If you think your lotion has been incorrectly denied or that you have not gotten the correct amount of SNAP benefits, you should tell the office. If they do not agree, you must ask them to have your case reviewed by a fair hearing official. For more information about honest hearings, see the section below entitled “ Your Rights. ”

Receiving Your SNAP Benefits

If the position finds that you are eligible, you will be able to get your SNAP benefits no later than 30 days from the go steady you first applied, unless you qualify for faster service. If you have no income ( or identical little income ) for the month and you need help right away, you may qualify for 7-day service .

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

SNAP benefits are delivered to EBT accounts. You will receive a formative card with a magnetic comic strip ( similar to a credit or debit card ) to access your SNAP EBT score at authorized food retail outlets. Along with your EBT poster, you will receive a Personal Identification Number ( PIN ) that protects your benefits from unauthorized use by person else. Your PIN is a secret issue, which alone you know, that allows you to use your EBT tease to purchase eligible food items. Keep your PIN mystery and do not write it down on the card or card sleeve. Without the PIN, cipher else can use your card .
Most states mail EBT cards to recipients. If your EBT card is mailed to you, you will besides receive important data on how to use your EBT card. In accession, you will besides receive data on your rights and responsibilities when using an EBT batting order to purchase eligible food items. If your EBT card is mailed, you will receive your PIN in the chain mail several days after receiving your EBT card. On the other hand, if your state delivers EBT cards nonprescription, your local social worker will explain the process for receiving your EBT menu and PIN, and provide train on function of the tease .
SNAP benefits are mechanically deposited into your SNAP EBT account once you are determined eligible to receive SNAP benefits. For every calendar month you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, your benefits will be mechanically deposited into your EBT score. A worker at your local SNAP position will tell you which sidereal day of the month your SNAP benefits will be deposited into your EBT bill .
Using EBT to Purchase Food
EBT cards can be used like a debit wag at most stores that sell food. once your eligible food items have been totaled at the cash cash register, you will pass your EBT card through a point-of-sale ( POS ) terminal in the check-out line, and enter your pin. In most cases, the POS terminal connects with a computer where your SNAP benefits are stored. In some states, the benefits are actually stored on the poster. The cost of the SNAP items you purchase will be subtracted from the measure in your SNAP EBT account, up to the symmetry remaining in the history .
once your SNAP EBT transaction is complete, you will receive a acknowledge that shows the measure of your SNAP purchase and the come of SNAP benefits remaining in your EBT report. You should keep these receipts then you know how much of the SNAP benefits remain in your EBT explanation each time you go to the store. You should besides keep these receipts as your record of SNAP purchases in case there are problems with your account .
If you need person to purchase your groceries for you because of a disability, lack of fare, or early rationality, ask your local social worker to explain how you can designate a person you trust as your empower example .

Spending Your SNAP Benefits

SNAP benefits can merely be used for food and for plants and seeds to grow food for your family to eat .
Sales tax can not be charged on items bought with SNAP benefits .
SNAP benefits can not be used to buy :

  • Any nonfood item, such as pet foods; soaps, paper products, and household supplies; grooming items, toothpaste, and cosmetics
  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Any food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods
Reporting on Your Household Circumstances

Some households are required to report on their family circumstances every month. other households are required to report changes in family circumstances when they become known. distillery other households report card changes once a quarter or semi-annually. You may report changes by calling the SNAP office. however, it is better to write down the variety and mail it to the office .
If you are eligible for SNAP benefits, you will be told what data to report and when to report .
It is extremely authoritative that you report changes, so that your family gets the right sum of SNAP benefits. If you get any extra SNAP benefits because you have not reported the right data, you will have to pay back the measure of the extra SNAP benefits .

Your Rights

You have the right to:

  • Receive an application, and have your application accepted on the same day that you go to the SNAP office;
  • Have an adult who knows your situation apply for you if you cannot get to the SNAP office;
  • Get your SNAP benefits within 30 days after you apply if you do qualify for them;
  • Get SNAP benefits within 7 days if you are in immediate need and qualify for faster service;
  • Not be discriminated against because you are elderly or because of sex, race, color, disability, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs;
  • Be told in advance if the SNAP office is going to reduce or end your benefits during your certification period because of a change in your situation that you did not report in writing;
  • Look at your own case file and a copy of SNAP rules; and
  • Have a fair hearing if you don’t think the rules were applied correctly in your case. At a fair hearing, you may explain to a hearing official why you don’t agree with what the SNAP office has done.

You can ask the SNAP office for a fair listening in write, in person, or over the telephone. The agency will give you information about the listen rules in your state of matter .
You can ask a friend or relative or anyone else to help you prepare for the hear and go to the listening with you .
In some cases, you can continue to get your SNAP benefits without a transfer while you are waiting for the hear decision .
If the official decides the SNAP agency is right, you will have to repay the value of any SNAP benefits you did not have a properly to get. If the learn official decides you are correct, you will continue to get or begin to get the right sum of SNAP benefits. If the listening official decides you are right field and you did not get retain benefits, the total of any SNAP benefits you had a right to get will be given to you .

Your Responsibilities
  • When you apply for SNAP benefits, answer all questions completely and honestly. Sign your name to certify, under penalty of perjury, that all your answers are true.
  • Provide proof that you are eligible.
  • Promptly report changes in household circumstances to the SNAP office.
  • Do not put your money or possessions in someone else’s name in order to be able to get SNAP benefits.
  • Do not make changes on any SNAP cards or documents.
  • Do not sell, trade, or give away your SNAP benefits, or any SNAP cards or documents.
  • Use SNAP benefits only to buy eligible items.

People who break SNAP rules may be disqualified from the program, fined, put in prison, or all three.

Toll Free Number for Reporting Abuse

If you wish to report any misapply, fraud, barren, or abuse of SNAP benefits, you can use this toll-free number : 1-800-424-9121. If you are in the Washington, DC, metropolitan sphere, the count is 202-690-1622 .
The U.S. Department of Agriculture ( USDA ) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the footing of slipstream, color, national origin, sex, religion, senesce, disability, political impression, sexual predilection, or marital or family status. ( not all prohibited bases apply to all programs. ) Persons with disabilities who require option means for communication of program information ( Braille, big print, audiotape, etc. ) should contact USDA ‘s TARGET Center at ( 202 ) 720-2600 ( voice and TDD ) .
To file a charge of discrimination, compose USDA, Director, Office of credible, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call ( 202 ) 720-5964 ( voice and TDD ). USDA is an equal employment supplier and employer .

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