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Archived News Article: Information may be out of date
January 22, 2020

What to Know about Food Stamp Benefits

What to Know about Food Stamp Benefits
What to Know about Food Stamp Benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. SNAP is a supplementary program to help an individual or family in buying nutritious food.

How do I apply for food stamp benefits?

Applying for food stamp benefits doesn’t have to be complicated. At, we aim to ensure citizens can find the information they need to access government benefits. Visit our SNAP page, where you can access your local SNAP office locator.

The local office locator lists the SNAP offices in an easy-to-navigate, interactive map where citizens can select their state for SNAP information, including contact numbers and website information, as well as application options, including those for accessibility. Please note each state has its own application form and that eligibility and acceptance criteria are determined by your state. To see if you may be eligible for SNAP benefits in your state, visit the benefit eligibility tool.

Do I have to apply for food stamps in person?

You do not have to apply for your SNAP benefits in person, although you can request a paper form through your local SNAP office. Using the local SNAP office locator, you can easily access your state’s SNAP application and begin the application process.

How do I find out the status of my SNAP application?

Since SNAP benefits are managed by each individual state program, applicants should contact their local SNAP office for updates on the status of their application. Find your local SNAP office’s contact information.

How long does it take to receive my SNAP benefits?

It can take up to 30 days to receive SNAP benefits. Some households may qualify to receive expedited or emergency SNAP benefits, but qualifications are different in each state. After receiving emergency benefits, you must still apply for SNAP through the normal application process.

Who can receive SNAP benefits?

Many people may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits, including single adults, families, seniors, and working people. Eligibility is primarily determined through household income and expenses. SNAP helps low-income people buy nutritious food to stay in good health. You may be eligible for SNAP benefits if you are:

  • Unemployed;
  • Working part time or for low wages;
  • Receiving welfare or other public assistance payments;
  • A non-citizen that meets other qualifications;
  • Elderly or disabled and are low-income; or
  • Homeless.

The total amount of SNAP benefits you can receive is calculated by the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, which estimates the amount it costs for you to prepare healthy meals within your household. This estimate is updated every year to keep pace with food prices in your local area.

For more information on related programs, browse the Food and Nutrition category on

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