SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a federally funded nutrition program previously known as food stamps. It provides nutrition benefits to eligible participants, which are issued through an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) debit card. SNAP is available in all 50 states, including Minnesota.
Who Is Eligible for SNAP Benefits?
Most applicants who receive SNAP include but are not limited to lower income individuals and families, people with disabilities and elderly individuals. The Federal Government has a free screening tool you can use to help determine your eligibility. There are also many answers to commonly asked questions about this program found on the USDA’s SNAP web page.
Alternatively, for questions about program eligibility you can call the MN State Hotline at (888) 711-1151 or (800) 657-3698 to speak with a representative free of charge. The Minnesota Department of Human Services SNAP resources page offers additional SNAP resources, including the SNAP screening tool in Hmong, Russian, Somali and Spanish, plus information on applying for emergency SNAP funds.
How Does The SNAP Application Work?
If you are in Minnesota, the first thing you need to do is sign up at the Department of Human Services site and fill out the necessary documents either through electronic or paper forms. Once you submit your information you will be contacted about your eligibility through a state representative within 30 days. If your submission is approved you will begin receiving an EBT card that acts as a debit card for purchasing food and drink.
If you don’t have all the necessary documentation to finish your application, you can still sign and submit your application to begin the review process. You can then provide the documentation needed to complete the application. Once approved, benefits will be provided based on the initial application date.
Seniors can also take advantage of a shorter two-page application for SNAP benefits.
Are Food Stamps and SNAP The Same Thing?
Yes. Food stamps refer to both the program and means of which a person can use federal money to buy nutritional goods. SNAP is now the new program name and an EBT card is the means an individual uses to purchase eligible products. EBT cards are processed at the grocery store just the same as a credit or debit card.
How Long Does The SNAP Application Process Take?
Your county is required to provide a response to your application within 30 days but for emergency situations the process can be sped up to 5 days.
Are There Restrictions On EBT Purchases?
Most foods are eligible, but items such as alcohol, pet foods, vitamins, etc., are not able to be purchased using your EBT card. The USDA outlines these parameters in detail on this page.
Using SNAP at Meals On Wheels
Did you know SNAP benefits can also be used toward the cost of Meals on Wheels? Meals On Wheels is one of the best food delivery programs in Minnesota offering hot and healthy meals for any nutritional need. Call us at (612) 623-3363 or email us at [email protected] with all questions about Meals on Wheels and SNAP eligibility.
Consultation is free and available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.am-5 p.m.. We can help with any questions you may have about applying for SNAP and help you determine if Meals on Wheels is right for you!