Many grocers and retailers that accept SNAP payments mark which foods are approved for EBT. The program considers these items nutritious. You can usually pay for products that are part of the four staple food categories:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Dairy products
- Breads and cereals
Foods listed above may be fresh, frozen, canned, or shelf-stable (stored at room temperature). You can also use the benefits to buy spices, seasonings, sweeteners, oils, and other edible products you use to prepare and consume meals.
While the mission of SNAP is to provide funds for your household to purchase healthy foods, your benefits may also cover “junk” food items, including:
- Potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn.
- Ice cream, baked goods, and mixes for cakes and brownies.
- Cane sugar, honey, and maple syrup.
- Condiments like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.
- Beverages, such as water, soda, and fruit and vegetable juices.
Additionally, you can use SNAP benefits to buy food-producing seeds and plants. These items may be more economical since they continue to harvest fruits, vegetables, and more with care.
You cannot use SNAP benefits for any of the following items:
- Alcohol, such as beer, wine, and liquor
- Tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, or chewing (spit) tobacco
- Vitamins, medicines, and supplements
- Live animals, including egg-producing chickens
- Foods that are hot at purchase, such as a rotisserie chicken or precooked pizza
- Nonfood items, including:
- Cleaning supplies and paper products
- Pet food
- Hygiene and cosmetic items
Items with a “Supplement Facts” label (instead of a Nutritional Facts) are supplements, and you cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase them.
Typically, you cannot use benefits at fast-food or fine-dining restaurants. However, some states offer the SNAP Restaurants Meal Program if you qualify as disabled, elderly, or homeless. In some cases, meals may be at “concessionary prices” – reduced prices.
Yes! In addition to SNAP, the federal government offers the following seven other food assistance programs:
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
- The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
- The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
- The National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- The School Breakfast Program (SBP)
- The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
The WIC program provides funds for nutritious food and baby formula to qualifying low-income pregnant women and children five years of age or younger. Your young children may be able to get WIC benefits even if you – the parent or guardian – cannot.
TEFAP provides USDA commodities to qualified households that need short-term relief. The program offers food to individuals, families, and food banks by purchasing goods from local growers and producers. TEFAP also gives funding to food banks to cover the costs of food storage and distribution.
CSFP sends qualified seniors monthly food boxes and funds food pantries for seniors. It also provides vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables from farmer’s markets.
CACFP provides meals and snacks funding for qualified children and adults older than 60 years of age in daycare centers, childcare homes, and emergency shelters. The program reimburses the public and private agencies for food given for free or at a reduced cost.
NSLP and SBP reimburse schools and childcare agencies for providing free or reduced-priced meals. Breakfasts and lunches must meet the federal nutrition requirements. Children may be eligible if their households meet the income criteria or already participate in other government programs, including SNAP.
SFSP fills the seasonal gap. The government reimburses program operators that serve free meals and snacks to minors in low-income areas.
Yes, but only when you are part of the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). The RMP lets you use your EBT card at participating fast-food restaurants. Chains that accept SNAP benefits must meet government standards. Some popular chains include:
- Taco Bell
The fast-food restaurants available in your area vary. A SNAP representative may have a list of authorized locations that accept RMP benefits.
RMP is available only in certain areas. Not every state participates in the subsidiary, and the ones that do may not offer it statewide.
Below are the states that participate in RMP:
- California in Alameda, Fresno, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Siskiyou, and Tehama County
- Illinois in Dewitt, Franklin, and Cook County
- Rhode Island
State governments can choose to run the program. You may qualify for RMP if you live in one of the above states and:
- Cannot prepare meals for yourself.
- Do not have permanent housing for storing and preparing food.
Your household must also meet additional requirements. For instance, you and your spouse must qualify for RMP; otherwise, you may receive only SNAP benefits. Likewise, all members of your household must be either:
- 60 years of age or older,
- Receiving disability benefits, or
- Without permanent housing or homeless.
You can use funds for hot meals at participating restaurants, convenient stores, and grocery stores if you have RMP benefits. You can also use them for online orders at certain retailers. Like standard SNAP benefits, RMP will not pay for delivery or related charges.
The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot program allows you to buy groceries online for delivery or pick up. The program started in 2019 with only a few states, but the government mandated that all states (except Alaska) and Washington D.C. participate in this program as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot program follows the same purchasing guidelines as in-person transactions. For example, you cannot use benefits to pay for alcohol or tobacco products. Additionally, SNAP benefits do not pay for delivery fees, tips, or other associated charges.
All online groceries and retailers must follow the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) stocking and purchasing requirements. Retailers need to follow additional requirements for authorization in the program, such as:
- Having an online e-commerce presence.
- Integration of a PIN entry.
- Allowing split transactions for non-eligible products.
- Not charging sales tax on SNAP goods.
- Limiting one EBT card per customer account.
The stores where you can use your EBT card depend on the state where you live. The following is a list of stores (by state) that allow you to purchase food online using your EBT card:
Alabama – ALDI, Amazon, Marino’s Market, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart, and Wright’s Markets, Inc.
Arizona – AJ’s Fine Foods, ALDI, Amazon, Basha’s, Cardenas Markets, Eddie’s Country Store, Food City, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
Arkansas – ALDI, Amazon, Brookshire’s Food and Pharmacy, City Markets, Harps Food Stores, Hays Supermarket, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Super 1 Foods, and Walmart
California – Albertsons, ALDI, Amazon, Cardenas Markets, Food 4 Less, FoodMaxx, Lucky Supermarkets, Pavilions, Rancho San Miguel Markets, Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Save Mart Supermarkets, Sprouts Farmers Market, Superior Grocers, Vons, and Walmart
Colorado – Amazon, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
Connecticut – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Food Bazaar, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Price Rite, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, and Walmart
Delaware – ALDI, Amazon, Food Lion, Giant of Maryland, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, ShopRite, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart, and Weis Markets
District of Columbia – ALDI, Amazon, Giant of Maryland, and Safeway
Florida – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Earth Fare, Hitchcock’s Markets, JC’s Market and Food Kitchen, Mt. Plymouth Grocery, Publix, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
Georgia – ALDI, Amazon, Earth Fare, Food Lion, Little Giant Farmers Market, Piggly Wiggly (HAC), Publix, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Shoppers Value Foods (Macon), Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
Hawaii – Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Idaho – Amazon, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Illinois – ALDI, Amazon, Capri IGA, County Market, Fairplay Foods, Meijer, Metropolis Big John Grocery, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Schnuck’s Market, Supermercados El Guero, Walmart, and Woodman’s Markets
Indiana – ALDI, Amazon, Meijer, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Schnuck’s Market, Strack and Van Til, Town and Country, Van Til’s Supermarket, and Walmart
Iowa – ALDI, Amazon, New Pioneer Food Co-op, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Kansas – ALDI, Amazon, Country Mart, Harps Food Stores, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
Kentucky – ALDI, Amazon, Food Lion, Meijer, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Louisiana – Amazon, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Maine – Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Hannaford, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Maryland – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Giant of Maryland, Martin’s, Price Rite, Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, ShopRite, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart, Wegmans, and Weis Markets
Massachusetts – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Daily Table, Hannaford, McKinnon’s Supermarkets, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Price Rite, Stop & Shop, Walmart, and Wegmans
Michigan – ALDI, Amazon, Earth Fare, Garden Fresh Market, Meijer, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Walmart, and Wesco
Minnesota – ALDI, Amazon, Hugo’s Family Marketplace, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Mississippi – ALDI, Amazon, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Superlo Foods, and Walmart
Missouri – ALDI, Amazon, Bratcher’s Market, Cameron Market, Country Mart, County Market, FavTrip Independence, FavTrip KCMO, Harps Food Stores, Hays Supermarket, Price Cutter, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Schnuck’s Market, Sliced Bread Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sweet Springs Market, Walmart, and Woods Supermarket
Montana – Amazon and Walmart
Nebraska – ALDI, Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Nevada – Amazon, Cardenas Markets, FoodMaxx, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Save Mart Supermarkets, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
New Hampshire – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Hannaford, McKinnon’s Supermarkets, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Price Rite, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
New Jersey – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Food Bazaar, Price Rite, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, ShopRite, Sprouts Farmers Market, Stop & Shop, Super Foodtown, TheFreshGrocer, Walmart, Wegmans, and Weis Markets
New Mexico – Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
New York – 3 Guys From Brooklyn, ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Ferreira Foodtown, Food Bazaar, Foodtown-Freshtown, GreenStar Food Co-op, Hannaford, Manhattan Fruit Market, My Foodtown, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Price Rite, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Tops Market, Walmart, Wegmans, and Weis Markets
North Carolina – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Carlie C’s, Compare Foods Clayton, Deep Roots Market, Earth Fare, Fairvalue Grocery Stores, Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly of Kinston, Publix, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart, and Wegmans
North Dakota – ALDI, Amazon, Hugo’s Family Marketplace, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Ohio – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Dave’s Supermarket, Earth Fare, Giant Eagle, Lucky’s, Meijer, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Oklahoma – ALDI, Amazon, Apple Market, Cash Saver, Country Mart, FireLake Discount Foods, Harps Food Stores, Homeland Food Stores, Phelps Market, Reasor’s, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sooner Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, United Supermarkets, Walmart, and Warehouse Market
Oregon – Amazon, Roth’s Fresh Markets, Safeway, and Walmart
Pennsylvania – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Giant Company, LLC, Giant Eagle, Martin’s, Mignosi’s Super Foodtown, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Price Rite, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, ShopRite, Sprouts Farmers Market, TheFreshGrocer, Tops Market, Walmart, Wegmans, and Weis Markets
Rhode Island – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Price Rite, Stop & Shop, and Walmart
South Carolina – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Earth Fare, Food Lion, Publix, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
South Dakota – ALDI, Amazon, Buche Foods, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
Tennessee – ALDI, Amazon, Earth Fare, Food Lion, H.G. Hill Foods Store, Publix, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, Superlo Foods, and Walmart
Texas – ALDI, Amazon, Brookshire’s Food and Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s, H-E-B, Joe V’s Smart Shop, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Spring Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, Super 1 Foods, and Walmart
Utah – Amazon, Davis Food and Drug, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
Vermont – ALDI, Amazon, Hannaford, Price Chopper Supermarkets, Tops Market, and Walmart
Virginia – ALDI, Amazon, BJs Wholesale Club, Earth Fare, Food Lion, Giant of Maryland, Martin’s, Publix, Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart, Wegmans, and Weis Markets
Washington – A&J Select Market, Amazon, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Walmart
West Virginia – ALDI, Amazon, Food Lion, Giant Eagle, Martin’s, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, St. Marys Galaxy, Walmart, and Weis Markets
Wisconsin – ALDI, Amazon, Lou Perrine’s Gas and Grocery, Meijer, Ptacek’s IGA, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, Schnuck’s Market, Walmart, and Woodman’s Markets
Wyoming – Amazon, Safeway, Sam’s Club Scan and Go, and Walmart
If you qualify for food stamps, the minimum amount that you may receive each month is $20.
To figure out the maximum amount you can get in food stamps benefits each month, you will need to multiply your household’s income by 0.3. Then, subtract this number from the following maximum monthly allotment for your household’s size:
- 1 person: $281
- 2 people: $516
- 3 people: $740
- 4 people: $939
- 5 people: $1,116
- 6 people: $1,339
- 7 people: $1,480
- 8 people: $1,691
For every additional member, add $211 to get your maximum monthly allotment.
Note: These may change in September 2023.
Please note that these minimum and maximum SNAP figures apply to the 48 contiguous U.S. States and the District of Columbia. The maximum figures are different if you live in the states of Alaska or Hawaii and the territories of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
You may find the minimum and maximum monthly SNAP allotments in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories in our free guide to SNAP benefits.
How long you can receive food stamps benefits depends on certain factors. The typical “certification” period in which you can receive food stamps is 12 months. There are, however, some situations where a SNAP household may get SNAP benefits for a longer period.
If a household has eldery or disabled members, they may be certified for a longer period of 24 months. After 12 months, the program will contact the household. SNAP households living on a reservation will also have a 24-month certification period.
Other households will have shorter certification periods. Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) and households with no net income will be certified for 3 or fewer months.
If a household is likely to remain ineligible for food stamps (as in the case of workers who expect an increase in work hours), it will be certified for 1-2 months.
A household that has completed an expedited application and still needs to submit application information will be certified for 1-2 months. After submitting the missing information, the certification period may be extended.
A household’s certification period may be shortened if it becomes ineligible, fails to report household changes or misreprents its income on application materials.
If your application is denied, you should receive a denial notice explaining the reasons for denial and the steps you may take to appeal the denial. The appeal methods and steps you must take will depend on the guidelines in your state. Your state may allow you to appeal the decision online, by mail and/or in person.
Some states may require you to complete an initial appeal form or submit an appeal letter. Generally, you will need to have information including, but not limited to, your phone number, case number and Social Security number. Depending on the reason for your application’s denial, you may need to provide documentation such as income statements, medical bills, banking records or receipts for living expenses.
You may be required to attend an informal meeting or a formal hearing as part of the appeals process. If you are unable to attend the meeting or hearing, you may contact your state’s SNAP department as soon as possible to make other arrangements.
When your state’s department makes a decision, you will receive a notice in the mail.
See our food stamps guide for detailed information on how to appeal a food stamp application denial in your state.
Your monthly benefit amount can change if your household composition or financial situation changes. You must report changes to your household income, including earning more or less money. Income includes:
- Employment wages, self-employment earnings, and stipends.
- Alimony and child support.
- Benefits from unemployment compensation, disability, and Social Security.
- Pensions and interest income.
Likewise, your SNAP benefit allotment could change if you sign up for another government program, such as cash assistance. Some government subsidies, like housing assistance, do not count towards your household income.
Your monthly SNAP benefits amount could change if your expenses change. Monthly payments that can affect your benefits include housing, utilities, dependent care, and more. Some states have a standard deduction for household expenses.
Your state may allow deductions for medical expenses, so you could qualify for more or less money if your health care costs increase or decrease.
You must also report changes in your household composition, such as the number of members. You may qualify for a higher benefit amount if your household has a new family member. Conversely, your benefit amount may decrease if a household member moves out.
Similarly, changes in health and age can influence your monthly allotment. For instance, households with elderly or disabled members may receive a higher benefit amount.
The monthly benefit amount can change if your state updates the maximum allotments. The SNAP program adjusts its maximum monthly benefit amounts to stay in line with inflation and the cost of living.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some households received higher amounts than standard due to emergency policies. Those additional sums may have stopped at the end of 2021.
You only need to include your roommate if you buy and prepare most of your food together. SNAP considers “household members” as those who share food expenses.
If you and your roommate purchase the majority of food separately, you do not need to include him or her on your SNAP application. The program does not require you to store food in a separate refrigerator or prepare it with a different appliance, such as a stove or microwave.
You should not share your benefits with anyone who is not listed on your application. SNAP guidelines use words like “most” for buying and preparing food together. You should not count your roommate if he or she sometimes offers or takes, for example, a bag of chips.
However, you may need to list certain people living in your home even if they do not pay for or prepare food, including:
- Your children and stepchildren younger than 22 years of age who live with you.
- Minors younger than 18 who live in your household, regardless of their relationship.
- Your spouse who lives in the same household, regardless of sharing meals.
You do not need to include non-relatives or relatives in your household who buy and prepare food separately.
When it comes to foster children, you can include or not include them in your household. If you do not include them, any payments for their care do not count towards your household income. However, you can only share SNAP benefits with those on your application, so it is typically easier to include foster children.
SNAP benefits are solely for use by the household members who are listed on your application. Misusing your SNAP benefits is a federal crime.
The state or federal authorities are obligated to investigate any reports of misuse or abuse of benefits, including buying, selling, or trading benefits with unauthorized parties. SNAP benefit fraud for more than $100 is a felony, and less than $100 is a misdemeanor.
If the government discovers benefit misuse, you could face:
- Temporary or permanent disqualification from the program.
- Forced repayment of misused benefits.
- Criminal prosecution, including fines and incarceration.
The government has a hotline (phone number, fax, mail, and online method) for anyone to report benefit violations. Anyone – including your neighbors, friends, family members, coworkers, or strangers – can report fraud and misconduct to initiate an investigation.
If your EBT card is stolen or you notice unauthorized charges, you should report these occurrences immediately. You should also report changes to your household, such as someone joining or leaving the household.
If you are disabled or cannot purchase food for yourself, you can use an authorized shopper. You must inform program representatives, such as your caseworker, if someone will be buying foods with your SNAP benefits on your behalf. A program-recognized authorized buyer can purchase food with your benefits but may not eat items unless he or she is part of your household.
SNAP guidelines vary by state, but most use words like “majority” when referring to sharing food costs and preparation. For example, you typically won’t get in trouble for buying a birthday cake with SNAP benefits and sharing it with guests at a party. However, occasions like these should be infrequent.
The government created the food assistance program to cover the cost of some food, but not everything your household eats. SNAP benefits are meant to help pay for ingredients to prepare meals at home, which is often the most affordable meal. Your benefits do not pay for certain items that the government considers “luxury” products.
You can eat “prepared foods” immediately, and you can use your EBT card to purchase prepared foods with some exceptions. Your grocery list may contain popular EBT-compliance prepared foods like cheese, nuts, and soda. Even ice cream is considered prepared food.
SNAP benefits can pay for cold packaged sandwiches, salads, meat, and other food from the deli. You can often buy these items from convenience stores that accept EBT cards.
However, SNAP places rules on hot prepared foods, like pizza, rotisserie chicken, and hot deli items. This is because they are typically more expensive – or a luxury.
Some authorized retailers sell cold food items at the point of sale and offer options to warm food up after the sale. You may be able to find this option at authorized convenience stores, like 7-Eleven.
The government changes program rules to stay current on societal norms. For instance, SNAP benefits can now be used to buy home meal delivery services. As of this writing, Top Box Foods is the only meal delivery that accepts EBT payments. However, these services are only available in the following areas:
- Atlanta, GA
- New Orleans, LA
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Cook County/Chicago, IL
- Rockford, IL
Similarly, you may be able to participate in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program if you fall into a specific category – such as disabled, elderly, or homeless – and live in an area where the program runs. The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program is not available nationwide, and it may not be available statewide in states that have the program.
You cannot use your benefits until you receive your new card. The SNAP agency must replace cards within two business days of the request. Almost all SNAP offices have replacement EBT cards on hand.
You should report lost or stolen EBT cards immediately. A representative through the phone help desk or a local food stamp office will need to deactivate the card to avoid having multiple cards. Your new card will likely not have the same numbers as before, and you will need to set up a unique personal identification number (PIN).
A SNAP representative will replace your card with a new one from inventory. The representative may mail the new card or give it to you instantly if you go to a local office. If you received the replacement by mail, you need to call the help desk to activate it.
Depending on your state’s policy, you may have a fee for the first or subsequent replacements. However, you may be able to request a refund in certain areas.
You should contact SNAP representatives if your PIN is lost or stolen or if you see unauthorized charges. You should request a replacement card if yours becomes:
You will not lose or miss your monthly payment if you are in the middle of replacing your card. The SNAP funds go to your account, not a specific card.
If you order food online, you may have your EBT number saved with the account. You may need to update your online ordering account with your new EBT card.
SNAP interview questions verify your application information, including your identity, citizenship, and current address. You should go to the interview with documents that prove who you are and how you qualify for SNAP benefits.
Below are some items you may need for your food stamps appointment:
- Identification – Driver’s license, passport, state-issued identification card, voter’s registration card, or immigration documents
- Citizenship – Social Security card, military records, resident alien card, or I-94
- Residence – Driver’s license, lease or mortgage agreement, or utility bills
- Earned and Unearned Income – Paycheck stubs, employer statements, award letters, bank statements, child and spousal support agreements, dividend statements, and information on anything you own, like a home, vehicle, boat, and other assets
- Medical Expenses – Bills and statements for medical, dental, mental, prescriptions, corrective lenses, hearing aids, prosthetics, and other related costs
- Disabilities – Medical records, diagnosis documentation, or a letter from a physician detailing the disability
- School Attendance – School schedule or course registration confirmation and documents confirming work-study jobs for college students
- Household Expenses – Lease or mortgage agreement, utility (electric, gas, oil, waste, and water) bills, property tax, and homeowner’s insurance
You may need identification and other documents for each of your household members. Your local SNAP office may accept or request records other than those listed above.
The interview may be in person at a local SNAP office or over the phone. Some areas accept documents electronically or by fax. You may need to upload copies of these documents with your application or between your submission and a scheduled interview.
The SNAP representative may ask questions based on the documents you furnish. For instance, if you bring in a rent receipt instead of a lease agreement, they may ask you how long you have lived at your residence.
Some documents can be proof of multiple questions. For example, your driver’s license doubles as identification and residence, and your bank statement can show your income and expenses.
Yes. You may qualify for multiple government programs simultaneously, including SNAP and unemployment benefits. In some states, a condition of one program is applying for another.
Your employment statement serves as your proof of income for your SNAP application. However, your state unemployment application may not consider SNAP allotments. Select areas have one application for multiple or all government benefit programs.
You must report new unemployment compensation or food stamps to your local agency if you begin to receive additional benefits. Your state may consider additional benefits as unearned income, and not reporting income changes may be considered fraud or program benefit abuse.
Many states have conditions to collect unemployment and SNAP benefits. For instance, you may need to meet the following stipulations:
- Be actively searching for employment. Some states require you to submit records of your work-search efforts and have a minimum requirement for the number of contacts and applications.
- Be enrolled in a job search program. Many local offices have resources to help you get a new job. You may be able to get resume-building and interview assistance.
- Participate in job training. Some areas provide or accept vocational training while accepting unemployment compensation instead of job searching. Offices may accept job training if you are unemployed because your profession is no longer needed.
Getting benefits from multiple programs may affect your compensation amount. For example, your current benefits may decrease if you recently received additional funds from another program.
However, you may lose eligibility for both programs if the agency determines you purposefully left your job or reduced your hours to qualify for benefits.
Yes, you can use manufacturer or store coupons with SNAP benefits. Coupons are a form of payment, not a discount. For example, instead of getting 50 cents off a product, the coupon pays the store 50 cents.
In areas with food tax, however, coupons may change the tax amount. Or, stores may charge a tax on the savings. In these cases, you cannot use your benefits to pay for the tax and will need a different payment form.
For example, your food total is $10, and the tax costs 42 cents. Your coupons pay for $7, and your EBT card pays for the remaining $3 of food costs. The 42 cents is your out-of-pocket fee.
Even if you live in an area with purchase or savings tax, the small out-of-pocket expense expands your allotment. For instance, you may need to pay 15 cents for tax for a $3 coupon, but you still save $2.85. If you can pay the tax amount, you can save funds on your EBT card for more items.
Consider the following examples using a $2 bag of rice and a $1 coupon:
- Purchase without a coupon. $2 off EBT card for a bag of rice.
- Purchase with a coupon. $1 off EBT card, and you pay a tax of 5 cents for a bag of rice.
- Purchase two with coupons. $2 off EBT card, and you pay a tax of 10 cents for two bags of rice.
Using coupons could make your SNAP benefits last longer whether or not you live in an area without food tax. Every cent saved with coupons can go towards another purchase, which means you get more with the same monthly payment.
Maximum SNAP benefit amounts are partially based on the Thrifty Food Plan, one of four cost estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It represents a cost-effective and nutritious diet for a family of two adults and two children.
The Thrifty Food Plan combines dietary guidance with a limited food budget. The goal is to present a healthy but inexpensive food plan. Food plans are revised every five years, and the most recent revision is for June 2022.
This most recent revision is the first time since 1975 that congress increased purchasing power. Your monthly payment may be slightly higher if you currently receive SNAP benefits.
Maximum allotments of SNAP benefits increase by the number of household members under the Thrifty Food Plan. The following is the approximate benefit increase by household size:
- $16 for 1
- $29 for 2
- $42 for 3
- $53 for 4
- $63 for 5
- $76 for 6
- $84 for 7
- $96 for 8
Alaska and Hawaii have higher benefit maximum amounts since housing, food, and other living expenses are higher than the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.
The USDA equations consider the averages for macronutrients – like carbohydrates, protein, and fiber – and the mean price of food. The report’s charts and information are complex, using price ranges and dietary data. However, below are examples of food costs by age and sex:
- Child 6 to 8 years old – $185.20 monthly
- Child 9 to 11 years old – $213.60 monthly
- Male 20 to 50 years old – $278.80 monthly
- Female 20 to 50 years old – $223.60 monthly
According to the Thrifty Food Plan, a household with the same family members as the above examples would have a monthly food cost of $901.30.