Senior’s Guide to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Senior’s Guide to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

seniors guide to snap

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Food Stamps, is a federal program that provides nutrition benefits to millions of low-income individuals and families. The nutrition benefits are issued to beneficiaries once per month on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that can be used as a debit card at participating groceries to buy approved food items.

SNAP has assisted citizens and permanent residents of the United States for more than 75 years under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The program provides nutrition assistance, job assistance and education services that teach individuals and families how to eat healthy.

Seniors and SNAP

Seniors with low incomes can receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as Food Stamps. Like candidates of other ages, they must meet certain program requirements that depend on factors like income, resources, expenses and citizenship. 

There are some special considerations for SNAP applicants who fall into the “senior” category, which is individuals who are 60 years of age or older. 

Normally, SNAP considers all members of an applicant’s household when determining program eligibility. However, seniors who cannot purchase and prepare meals due to a permanent disability can qualify as a “separate household” from the rest of its members if the other members they live with do not have very much income (no more than 165 percent of the poverty level). This can potentially increase the overall amount that the whole family qualifies for in benefits. Refer to the section “Monthly SNAP Allotments by Location” for allotment information.

Another special consideration for seniors (as well as disabled individuals) applies to where they get their meals. Normally, individuals are not eligible for SNAP benefits if they receive their meals from an institution. However, there are two exceptions:

Residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly can be eligible for SNAP benefits, even if they receive their meals at the facility, as long as they meet all other program requirements.

Disabled individuals who live in certain nonprofit group living arrangements (small group homes with no more than 16 residents) may be eligible for SNAP benefits, even if the group home prepares their meals for them.

SNAP Program Name and Contact Information Directory

The dropdown menu below includes contact information for SNAP in each state and U.S. territory. Select the state you wish to know more about:

SNAP Program Name and Contact Information Directory

The dropdown menu below includes contact information for SNAP in each state and U.S. territory. Select the state you wish to know more about:

LocationProgram NameContact InformationOffice Directory
AlabamaFood AssistanceToll-free number: 1-833-822-2202
TTY: 1-833-822-2202 / 711 or 1-800-548-2546 
AlaskaSupplemental Nutrition  Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 907-465-3347 
American SamoaAmerican Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (ASNAP)Hotlines: 684-633-7720 or 684-633-7451N/A
ArizonaNutrition AssistanceHotline: 1-800-352-8401 General information: 1-855-432-7587
TTY: 711 
ArkansasSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-800-482-8988 / 501-682-8269
TTY/TDD: 501-682-7958 
CaliforniaCalFreshHotline: 1-877-847-3663
TYY: 711 
ColoradoSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-536-5298 
Commonwealth of Northern Mariana IslandsCNMI Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP)Hotlines: 237-2801/237- 2802
ConnecticutSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-860-424-5030 
TTY: 800-842-4524 
DelawareFood Supplement ProgramHotline: 1-800-372-2022 
TTY: 711 
District of ColumbiaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 202-673-4464 TTY: 711 
FloridaFood Assistance Program (FAP)Hotlines: 1-866-762-2237 / 850-300-4323
TTY: 711/ 1-800-955-8771 
GeorgiaGeorgia Food Stamp ProgramHotline: 1-877-423-4746 TTY: 1-800-255-0135  
GuamSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 671-735-7245
HawaiiSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 855-643-1643 
TTY: 711 
IdahoIdaho Food StampsHotline: 1-877-456-1233 TTY: 211/ 1-800-926-2588 
IllinoisSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-843-6154
TTY: 711/ 1-800-447-6404 
IndianaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-877-768-5098 
DFR toll-free phone: 1-800- 403-0864
TTY: 711 
IowaFood Assistance Program  (FAP)Hotline: 1-877-347-5678 / 1-888-426-6283
TTY: 1-800-735-2942 
KansasFood Assistance Program  (FAP)Hotline: 1-785-296-1491 
KentuckySupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 800-372-2973 
LouisianaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-888-524-3578 TTY: 1-844-224-6188 
MaineFood Supplement Program (FSP)Hotline: 877-463-6207 
TTY: 711 
MarylandFood Supplement Program (FSP)Hotline: 1-800-332-6347 TTY: 1-800-735-2258 
MassachusettsSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-249-2007 
TTY: 711 / 1-800-720-3480 / 1-866-930-9252 (SPA) 
MichiganFood Assistance Program (FAP)Hotline: 1-855-275-6424 TTY: 711 
MinnesotaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 800-657-3698 (toll- free)
TTY: 1-800-627-3529 
MississippiFood Assistance Program (FAP)Hotline: 1-800-948-3050 General assistance: 601-359-4500
TTY: 711 / 1-800-735-2466 
MissouriFood Stamp Program (FSP)Hotline: 1-800-392-1261 TTY: 1-800-735-2966 
MontanaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-332-2272 / 888-706-1535
TYY: 406-444-1421 
NebraskaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-383-4278 TTY: 711 / 1-800-833-7352 
NevadaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-800-992-0900 / 775-684-0615 (ext. 40500) 
TTY: 1-800-326-6888 /1-800-992-0900 (voice)  
New HampshireSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-852-3345 (ext. 9700)
TTY: 1-800-735-2964 / 711
New JerseySupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-800-792-9773 / 1-800-687-9512
TTY: 1-800-701-0720
New MexicoSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 800-432-6217 TTY: 1-877-294-4356 / 711 
New YorkSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-800-342-3009 718-557-1399 (NYC only) 
TTY: 711 / 212-504-4115 (NYC only)  
North CarolinaFood and Nutrition ServicesHotline: 1-800-662-7030
TTY: 711 
North DakotaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-755-2716 TTY: 1-800-366-6888
OhioFood Assistance Program (FAP)Hotline: 1-866-244-0071 
TTY: 711 
OklahomaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-866-411-1877 TTY: 711 
OregonSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-800-723-3638 / 503-945-5600
TTY: 503-945-5896 
PennsylvaniaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-800-692-7462
Puerto RicoPrograma de Asistencia Nutricional (PAN) Hotlines: 311 / 787- 289-7600 
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 
Rhode IslandSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 401-462-5300 / 401-785-3340
TTY: 711 / 1-800-745-6575 (Voice) / 1-800-745-5555 
South CarolinaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotline: 1-800-616-1309 TTY: 711 / 1-800-735-8583 
South DakotaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotlines: 1-877-999-5612 / 1-866-854-5465 
TTY: 711 
TennesseeSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotline: 1-866-311-4287 TTY: 711 
TexasSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotlines: 211 (toll-free) / 1-877-541-7905 
TTY: 711 
U.S. Virgin IslandsSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotline: 340-774-2399
UtahSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Hotlines: 1-866-526-3663 / 1-800-331-4341
TTY: 711 / 1-800-346-4128
Vermont3Squares VTHotline: 1-800-479-6151 TTY: 711 / 1-800-253-0191
VirginiaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotline: 1-800-552-3431 TTY: 1-800-828-1120 / 711 
Washington Basic FoodHotline: 1-877-501-2233 TTY: 711 
West VirginiaSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotline: 1-800-642-8589 
TTY: 866-430-1274 (TTY) or 800-676-3777 (Voice) / 1-800-676-4290 (SPA) 
WisconsinFoodShareHotline: 1-800-362-3002 TTY: 711 / 1-800-947-3529 
WyomingSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Hotline: 307-777-5846 
TTY: 711 / 1-800-452-1408 (TTY/Voice) 

General SNAP Eligibility for Seniors

senior woman cooking snap eligibility

The main factors in determining your eligibility for SNAP benefits are:

  • Citizenship and state residency,
  • Income,
  • Work requirements, and
  • Resource restrictions.

Continue reading the sections below to learn more about these categories of eligibility.

Citizenship and State Residency

To receive SNAP benefits, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have an eligible residency status
  • Be a resident of the state where you plan to claim benefits

SNAP benefits do not transfer from one state to another if you choose to relocate. Instead, you must close your SNAP account in one state, and then re-apply for SNAP in your new state of residence.

If you are not a U.S. citizen and would like to apply for SNAP, you must prove lawful presence in the country, along with meeting the other eligibility requirements related to both income and resources. If you are a noncitizen who meets the work, income, state residency and resource requirements for SNAP, you can still receive benefits if you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who either has earned 40 quarters of work or can be credited with them.

Non-citizen adults must wait up to five years before collecting SNAP benefits if they are in any of the following situations:

  • They have been paroled for at least one year by the Attorney General for urgent humanitarian reasons or for the benefit of the public
  • They have been granted conditional entry into the U.S. from a Middle Eastern country and cannot return due to their race, religion or political opinion
  • They have a pending family-sponsor petition with the Attorney General

However, if you fall into one of the following groups, you can collect SNAP benefits without having been a legal permanent resident for five years:

  • Lawful permanent residents who meet certain work history requirements
  • Children younger than 18
  • Refugees who have been admitted under Section 207 of INA
  • Asylees under Section 208 of the INA
  • Individuals receiving blindness or disability benefits
  • Individuals whose deportations are being withheld under 243(h) or 241(b)(3) of INA
  • Amerasian individuals under 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act
  • Entrants that are Cuban or Haitian as defined in 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980
  • Veterans who were honorably discharged for reasons other than alien status, as well as their spouses and unmarried dependent children
  • Individuals on active duty in the Armed Forces, as well as their spouses and unmarried dependent children
  • Elderly individuals born on or before August 22, 1931, who were lawfully residing in the U.S. on August 22, 1996


Income requirements are determined by SNAP. You and your household must meet income limits to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits. You do not need to factor in if you are receiving additional government assistance benefits when you calculate your monthly income.

If your household earns a combined income that totals more than the defined poverty line, you will not receive SNAP benefits.

In most cases, you need to meet a monthly gross income requirement and an annual net income requirement.

  • Gross income is the total amount of non-excluded income you earn before any deductions have been subtracted, while
  • Net income is the total amount you earn minus taxes and any deductions.

Exceptions to this requirement are Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which consider only annual net income and monthly gross income, respectively. Households with elderly or disabled members also have different income requirements. They must only meet the net income requirement, as opposed to both the net and gross income requirements. Both are explained below.

What is the federal poverty level (FPL)?

The federal poverty level (FPL) is an economic measure that represents annual income and is used by the U.S. government to determine eligibility for SNAP.

The FPL is a set minimum amount of income a family needs to afford food, housing, clothing and other basic necessities. Every year, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services updates the guidelines by considering the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). These values are then rounded and adjusted to the size of the household.

The FPL is not the same as the poverty threshold. The poverty threshold is another measure created by the U.S. Census Bureau and defines what poverty is and the number of Americans that live in poverty. The FPL is based on the statistical report of the poverty threshold.

The annual net income requirement is based on 100 percent of the federal poverty line. The table below contains the 2024 FPL income limits for the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C.

Family SizeAnnual Income Limit
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,380 for each additional person.

The 2024 FPL chart for Alaska is as follows:

Family SizeAnnual Income Limit
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $6,730 for each additional person.

The 2024 FPL chart for Hawaii is as follows:

Family SizeAnnual Income Limit
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $6,190 for each additional person.

To calculate 100 percent of the FPL, divide your household net annual income by the FPL and multiply it by 100.

Income Eligibility for the 48 Contiguous U.S. States, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The table below shows figures that are valid through September 30, 2024. The gross monthly income requirement is based on 130 percent of the federal poverty line. To calculate 130 percent of the FPL, divide your household gross monthly income by the FPL for your household size and multiply it by 130.

Monthly Income Eligibility Standards (48 U.S. states, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands)
Household SizeGross Monthly IncomeNet Monthly Income
Each additional member+$557+$429
Alaska Monthly Income Requirements (Effective 10/1/2023)
Household SizeGross Monthly IncomeNet Monthly Income
Each additional member$697$536
Hawaii Monthly Income Requirements (Effective 10/1/2023)
Household SizeGross Monthly IncomeNet Monthly Income
Each additional member$641$493
Puerto Rico Annual Income Requirements (2022)
Household SizeNet Annual Income
Each additional member+$1,133

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Monthly Income Requirements (2021-2022)

Household Size
Gross Monthly Income
Each additional member+$369

Work Requirements

older man working on wood snap working requirements

Most seniors do not need to meet work requirements to receive SNAP benefits. However, if you are 59 years of age or younger, you are required to meet work requirements to receive SNAP benefits. The requirement is that you must “register for work.” Registering for work means that you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • You will not quit a job where you currently work at least 30 hours per week.
  • You will not reduce your hours to less than 30 hours per week.
  • You will take a job if one is offered to you.

However, there are some exceptions to the work requirement. Individuals who meet one of the following conditions below are exempt from the SNAP work requirement:

  • Already work at least 30 hours per week
  • Meet the work requirements for another maintenance of effort (MOE) program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or Unemployment Insurance)
  • Are the caregiver for a child younger than 6 years of age or for a person who is incapacitated
  • Are physically or mentally unfit for work
  • Regularly take part in a drug or alcohol treatment program

How to Apply for SNAP Benefits

You should apply for SNAP benefits as soon as you need assistance. There is no waiting period to receive food stamps, but it can take up to 30 days for your application to be processed.

Depending on where you live, you can apply for food stamps in the following ways:

  • Online
  • By mail or fax
  • In person

How to Apply Online

To apply for SNAP online, visit your state’s SNAP  website. Note that the program may be under a different name in your location. You can find your state or territory’s SNAP program and corresponding contact information in the table found in the SNAP Program Name and Contact Information by Location” section of this guide. 

If your state or territory has an online application process, you may need to create an account with a username, password and PIN, which is a four-digit number. Once you have set up an account, follow the instructions for completing the online application form. If you are not required to create an account, there may be no way to save your progress on your application. Thus, you must complete the entire form in one sitting.

Once you have completed the required sections, you may submit the form. You should then receive a confirmation of your submission via email. 

Many states recommend that you apply online because your claim will be processed more quickly. In addition, creating an online account will make it easier to check the status of your claim or update your application if your circumstances change.

How to Apply by Mail or Fax

Some locations allow you to submit a SNAP application by mail or fax. You can find out if your state or territory offers a mail or fax option by contacting its SNAP department. Refer to the table in the “Program Name and Contact Information by Location” section of this guide.

To apply by mail or fax, you must first download and print the application form from the website for your state. If forms are not available online, you may need to call and request an application be sent to you by mail.

Once you have completed the form, mail it to the street address or fax it to the fax number specified on your state or territory’s website. These addresses may also be found at the bottom of the application.

Some states that accept applications by mail recommend that you submit the form by fax. Fax submissions are faster and more secure than mail-in submissions.

How to Apply in Person

Call your state or territory’s main SNAP office to find out if you can request an application appointment to apply in person. On the day of your appointment, make sure to bring all required documents and information needed to apply. Refer to the following section “Information and Documents Needed to Apply” to know which documents you need to provide.

At the SNAP office, you should be able to obtain, complete and submit an application all in one visit. Please refer to the section “Program Name and Contact Information by Location” for more information.

Information and Documents Needed to Apply

During the SNAP application process, you will be required to provide personal and financial information and documents, as well as similar documents and details for anyone who is residing in your household.

You will be asked to provide proof of each household member’s:

  • Identity
  • Citizenship/residency
  • Income, expenses and resources (if required)
  • Disability (if applicable)
  • School attendance (if applicable)
  • Medical expenses
    • This only applies if medical expenses total more than $35 per month
  • Non-custodial parent information (if applicable)

Proof of Identity

  • Driver’s license or state ID card
  • School ID
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical insurance identification
  • Voter’s registration card

Proof of Citizenship

The following documents may be used as proof of citizenship or permanent resident status:

  • Birth certificate
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Permanent resident card (green card)
  • Employment authorization card
  • Letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) indicating your status
  • U.S. passport
  • Any official USCIS documentation or correspondence

Proof of Residency

  • Utility bills
  • Library card with address
  • Rent or mortgage receipts with address
  • Correspondence sent to your address under your name
  • Voter’s registration card

Proof of Income

  • Pay stubs
  • Employer statement
  • Social Security, SSI or Veterans Benefits documents
  • Other retirement and disability benefits documents
  • Alimony documents
  • Child support documents
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Self-employment income documents

Proof of Medical Expenses 

  • Copy of each bill and proof of payment (if paid)
  • Summary of medical services
  • Receipts with reimbursed expenses
  • Prescription bottles with cost label or printout
  • Receipts of transportation and lodging expenses to obtain medical attention
  • Statement of health insurance premiums
  • Invoices or receipts of medical equipment
  • Medicare prescription drug card
  • Medical payment agreement

Proof of Other Expenses

  • Dependent child care or child support documents
  • Rent or mortgage payments
  • Property insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Child care expenses
  • Income summary with child support deductions from wages and salaries
  • Home insurance policy
  • Utility bill

Proof of Resources

  • Bank statement or books
  • Copies of securities, bonds or stocks
  • Real estate deed or appraisal

How to Renew Benefits

senior woman supermarket cashier snap benefits

To continue receiving SNAP benefits, recipients must recertify before the end of their benefits period. This process is also called redetermination or renewal.

If a recipient completes the recertification before the original certification period ends, benefit issuance will continue on schedule uninterruptedly for another two years for families with elderly or disabled members. Otherwise, families without seniors will only receive another year until renewal is required again. 

If a recipient does not recertify, his or her benefits will end when the certification period ends.

The recertification process varies by state and territory. Some states require recipients to complete an interview in person, but most states only require a phone interview in order for a current beneficiary to be recertified for SNAP benefits. An application will also need to be submitted.

About 45 days before the end of a beneficiary’s certification period, most states will issue a notice of expiration (NOE) or recertification. The NOE includes:

  • The date your household’s certification period comes to an end
  • The date by which you need to submit the recertification application to continue receiving benefits
  • The consequences of not submitting your application on time
  • The notice of your right to have your application received as long as it is signed and you include your name and address
  • Alternate methods you can follow to submit your recertification application (mainly for households with no means to reach a certification office for a representative to submit the form)
  • Mailing information for the office the application must be sent to
  • Information on your right to request a fair hearing if the recertification application is denied
  • Notice explaining that households receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can apply for recertification at a Social Security Administration office
  • Notice that informs the household that if it does not attend the interview, benefits will be delayed or denied and that the household is responsible for scheduling a new interview and for providing verification documents

According to federal law, the NOE will be sent at least one day before the last certification period month begins, and you will get up to 15 days to send in your application.

The form that you receive will typically include pre-filled information, allowing you to simply rectify any changes that you have not yet reported to the SNAP office and submit the form for processing. 

Refer to the section “Program Name and Contact Information by Location” for local contact information.

Monthly SNAP Allotments by Location

The amount of SNAP benefits you can receive per month is called an “allotment,” which is issued via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Your EBT card works like a debit card; it will be loaded with your allotment each month and you can use it to purchase food at groceries and retailers that accept EBT payments.

To determine the amount of money you will receive (your allotment), follow the steps below:

  1. Multiply your net monthly household income by 0.3.
    • The reason why you multiply your income by 30% is that SNAP households are expected to spend 30% of their income on food.
  2. Subtract that amount from the maximum monthly allotment for your household size in the chart below.
    • The total you get is how much money you will receive each month.

Find out the maximum monthly allotments by household size for 48 U.S. states and District of Columbia below. The figures are valid through September 30, 2024.

The 2023-2024 minimum monthly allotments are listed below:

  • 48 contiguous states and DC: $23
  • Alaska: $30 – $46
  • Guam: $34
  • Hawaii: $42
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: $30

The maximum monthly allotments for 2024 in the 48 contiguous U.S. states and the District of Columbia are listed in the table below. 

SNAP Benefits by Household Size (48 States + D.C.)
Household SizeMaximum Monthly Benefit (10/1/2023 – 9/30/2024)
Each additional person$219

The allotment amounts for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands are different. You can find them below:

SNAP Benefits by Household Size (Alaska)
Household SizeMaximum Monthly Benefit (10/1/2023 – 9/30/2024)
Alaska UrbanAlaska Rural 1Alaska Rural 2
Each additional person$281$358$436
SNAP Benefits by Household Size (Hawaii)
Household SizeMaximum Monthly Benefit (10/1/2023 – 9/30/2024)
Each additional person$396
SNAP Benefits by Household Size (Guam)
Household SizeMaximum Monthly Benefit (10/1/2023 – 9/30/2024)
Each additional person$323
SNAP Benefits by Household Size (U.S. Virgin Islands)
Household SizeMaximum Monthly Benefit (10/1/2023 – 9/30/2024)
Each additional person$282

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