SNAP Application Process
Once you have determined eligibility, the next step is the actual application process. We will take a step-by-step approach to this. Make sure you complete each step.
Step 1 – To apply for SNAP benefits you will need to contact your local SNAP office.
Step 2 – Follow directions to apply given to you by your local SNAP office. Many offices allow individuals to complete the SNAP application online. Some offices can mail you an application, or you can pick one up in person.
Step 3 – Gather your household financial information, your government benefit history, your medical information and all supportive material and documentation your state requires.
Step 4 – Begin application process. This process will vary from state to state.
Step 5 – Submit application. Once your application is complete you can submit it online, return it in person, or mail it in. If you are in a hurry, applications turned in person are often times processed sooner. No matter how you apply, all applications are processed within 30 days. Benefits begin on the date your application was submitted.
Step 6 – Attend an interview. Once your application is processed you will be scheduled for an interview. During this process you will be required to document and verify certain parts of your application. This can include: a) Proof of identity, b) Proof of residence, and c) the Social Security numbers of everyone on your application, d) Proof of income, e) Name, age, and relationship of all household members, f) Proof of immigration status for all non-citizens, g) Proof of child support payments (if applicable), h) Proof of medical expenses for those over 60 or older, and i) Proof of childcare expenses (if applicable).
Step 7 – Wait for notification of approval or denial.
How to Use Your SNAP Benefits
If approved for SNAP benefits you should receive a plastic electronic card in the mail. This card contains your SNAP benefits and can be used anywhere that accepts EBT payments. These cards work like a debit card, and are loaded with your benefit amount automatically each month on the date given to you by your caseworker.
Items that can be purchased:
✔️Fruits and vegetables
✔️Meats and dairy products
✔️Seeds and plants that may produce food for the household
Items that can NOT be purchased:
❌Vitamins or medications
Your responsibilities as a SNAP benefit recipient
Once you receive SNAP benefits you have certain responsibilities. Those who do NOT follow these rules may be subject to penalties, lose their benefits and even serve jail time.
✅Be honest on your application
✅ Report changes in household circumstance promptly to the SNAP office.
✅ Do not use someone else’s name or possessions to obtain SNAP benefits
✅ Only buy SNAP eligible items.
✅ Do not sell, trade or giveaway your SNAP benefits or cards.
Renewing your SNAP benefits
After receiving SNAP benefits you will be required to recertify, this happens anywhere between 30 days to a year. The amount of time in between recertifying will vary depending on your situation. Your caseworker will inform you of how often you need to recertify. If there have been any changes since your last application you will need to submit verification. If you do not complete the recertification process your benefits will be cancelled and you will have to reapply. For more details you can read our renewal guide.
Make sure and stay on top of this as you certainly don’t want to have to start at the beginning again.
SNAP Disaster Program
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has also coordinated with local, state and voluntary organizations to provide the following assistance to individuals in a disaster situation.
➕ Provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites
➕ Hand out food packages to households in need
➕ Issue Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (D-SNAP)
If your family needs food and are ineligible for SNAP, still in the application process, or if SNAP is not providing you with enough food related items please consider these additional services:
➕ Soup kitchens
➕ Food pantries
➕ Salvation Army
➕ Free meals provided by churches or other organizations
You can also check our Charties Database which contains listings of charity organizations in your state. These charities offer help and hope to millions of Americans in need each year, regardless of economic or social background.