How to Apply for Food Stamps

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 08, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you’re currently in a situation that requires you to seek out government assistance, it’s important to understand how to apply for food stamps, particularly when it comes to required documentation.

Though it is run by local and state agencies, the national food stamp program, which is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is actually a federal program, meaning that the requirements are the same regardless of where you live.

Eligibility for food stamps, which these days is a cash amount transferred to a special EBT card, is determined by an individual's household situation.

The government considers your income, assets, expenses, number of dependents, as well as whether someone in your family is already receiving Social Security benefits.

You can pre-screen your eligibility online here.

If you believe you are eligible, you need to apply for food stamps at your local Social Security or SNAP office. In some states you may also apply online.

Once your application is processed, you will be invited in for an interview, where you will need to provide proof of your household's:

  • employment or unemployment
  • income (tax returns)
  • savings
  • expenses, such as utilities, child care, and mortgage
  • reciept of other government benefits
  • identity

It's important to be truthful when applying for food stamps, as it is a crime to lie on official government documents. Taking funds can also amount to fraud.

If you have any other questions about how to apply for food stamps, including about documentation, contact your local SNAP office. It is their job to help.

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