If you need assistance with household food expenses, you may apply for food stamps as soon as possible, as benefits are not backdated prior to your application date. You may consider submitting a food stamp application even if you are unsure whether or not you’ll meet your state program’s eligibility requirements.
You’ll need to contact your state agency to submit a SNAP application. While SNAP is a federal assistance program, food stamps are handled on a state-basis following federal guidelines. That means that most eligibility requirements are the same from one state to another, except for some factors such as additional deductions when calculating income.
However, application methods vary significantly between states.
Depending on the state you live in, you may be able to submit a food stamp application online, by mail, in person, or by phone. Where available, you can find the food stamps phone number to submit an application on your state agency’s website.
You’ll need to provide several pieces of information about your household when you apply for SNAP, including:
- Names, dates of birth, and Social Security Numbers of all household members.
- Current employment information, including information about your employer and income.
- Household expense details, such as rental or mortgage amounts.
- Information about household assets, including vehicles, cash, and money in bank accounts.
Once you’ve submitted your application, your state’s agency will assign a caseworker to your case. Your caseworker will contact you to request any additional information the agency needs to determine your benefit eligibility and amount. If you apply for food stamps online, you may be able to upload documents supporting your application through an online portal. Documentation you may need to provide includes:
- Proof of income.
- Proof of household expenses.
- Proof of citizenship.
Your state agency will also need to complete an interview with you after you apply for EBT. This interview is generally conducted by phone, but some agencies may require you to appear in person. The purpose of the interview is to gather additional information about your application to determine your eligibility and go over your benefits and how to use your EBT card if you are approved for benefits.
Typically, state agencies will process an application within 30 days, unless you qualify for emergency assistance. If you are denied benefits or you do not agree with a decision the SNAP program makes about your application, such as your benefit amount, you have the right to an appeal.