- Technical Assistance & Guidance
- Research, Analysis & Background
The following information is based on a pamphlet that the Food and Nutrition Service sends to people who ask for information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you would like a copy of the pamphlet, 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 good health. You may be able to get SNAP benefits if you are:
- Working for low wages or working part-time;
- Receiving welfare or other public assistance payments;
- Elderly or disabled and are low-income; or
State public assistance agencies run the program through their local offices. The following basic rules apply in most states, but a few states have different rules.
The amount of SNAP benefits you can get eurodate is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan, which is an estimate of how much it costs to buy food to prepare nutritious, low-cost meals for your household. This estimate is changed every year to keep pace with food prices.
In SNAP, a household is normally a group of people who live together and buy food and prepare meals together. If your household passes the program’s eligibility tests, the amount of SNAP benefits you get will depend on the number of people in your household and on how much monthly income is left after certain expenses are deducted.
SNAP benefits help supplement an individual’s or a family’s income to help buy nutritious 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 information about SNAP, contact your local SNAP office. The local office may be listed under “Human Resources,” “Social Services,” “Food Stamps” or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)” in the state or local government pages of the telephone directory. You may also call SNAP’s toll free line at 1-800-221-5689, or your state’s toll free information line or go to your state’s 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 office, over the phone, or by mail. You can also ask someone else to get one for you. The SNAP office will give you an application form on the same day you ask for one. You can also download a state application at: SNAP state applications or directly from your state’s website. States should have their applications in every language in which they make a printed application available. This will enable you to print the application, fill it out, and send it to your local SNAP office right away.
How to turn in a paper application – You can take, send, or mail the form to the SNAP office. Some states accept faxed or e-mail applications. The office will accept the form on the same day you turn it in, even if they cannot interview 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 website to find out if you can apply online.
How to apply by telephone – If your state develops a way to apply by telephone, their website or telephone system will let you know how to do this.