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Archived News Article: Information may be out of date
October 30, 2019

SNAP: Keeping Nutrition and Health a Priority

SNAP: Keeping Nutrition and Health a Priority
SNAP: Keeping Nutrition and Health a Priority

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, is the largest federal nutrition assistance program, serving an average of 40 million people per month in 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

By working with state agencies, nutrition educators, and community organizations, SNAP helps low-income individuals and families buy nutritious food and provides education on healthy food habits and choices. SNAP participants receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, like an ATM card, to buy groceries at most stores and some farmers markets.

If you are interested in receiving SNAP benefits you must:

  • Apply for SNAP benefits in the state you currently live.
  • Meet both the gross and net income limits. Gross income means a household's total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made. Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions. Review SNAP's eligibility page.
  • Meet certain bank balance limits. A household with an elderly or disabled household member may have a higher bank balance limit.
  • Meet certain work requirements; however, some groups may not be subject to these work requirements.
  • Have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, receive disability-related assistance or benefits, or have a child under eighteen if you are a non-citizen.

If you are elderly or disabled, you may not be subject to the same requirements listed above. Check out the special rules for the elderly or disabled to see if you qualify.

If you qualify for SNAP, you will be assigned an allotment, which USDA defines as the total amount of SNAP benefits your household gets each month. This is calculated using your household’s net monthly income and household size.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a SNAP program specifically for women, infants, and children that provides recipients food, breastfeeding support and education, as well as access to health and social services at no cost. Low-income pregnant or postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk, may be eligible.

Use USDA’s SNAP eligibility page to find out if you’re eligible to receive SNAP benefits. If you have more questions about the program, or how to apply, contact your state’s local SNAP office. You can also visit the Food and Nutrition category on to browse over 270 related programs or take the Benefit Finder to check your eligibility for additional government benefits.

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