Apply for Food Stamps Online

Can I apply for Food Stamps online if I’m a student?

Students: Most able-bodied students ages 18 through 49 who are enrolled in college or other institutions of higher education at least half time are not eligible for SNAP benefits. However, students may be able to get SNAP benefits if otherwise eligible and they:

Get public assistance benefits under a Title IV-A program;
Take part in a State or federally financed work study program;
Work at least 20 hours a week;
Are taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 6;

Are taking care of a dependent household member over the age of 5 but under 12 and do not have adequate child care to enable them to attend school and work a minimum of 20 hours, or to take part in a State or federally financed work study program; or

Are assigned to or placed in a college or certain other schools through:

A program under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998;
A program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974;
An employment and training program under the Food Stamp Act; or
An employment and training program operated by a State or local government.

Also, a single parent enrolled full time in college and taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 12 can get SNAP benefits and apply for Food Stamps if otherwise eligible.

Persons on Strike: Households with a person who is on strike because of a labor dispute are not eligible unless they were eligible the day before the strike and continue to be eligible at the time of application. Eligible households cannot get more SNAP benefits just because the striking member is getting less income.

Resources: Households may have $2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3,250 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled. However, certain resources are NOT counted, such as a home and lot, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (formerly AFDC), and most retirement (pension) plans.

Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are:

used for income-producing purposes,
annually producing income consistent with their fair market value,
needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute),
used as the home,
needed to transport a physically disabled household member,
needed to carry most of the household’s fuel or water, or
if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed on the vehicle, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold).

For the following licensed vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 is counted:

one per adult household member, and
any other vehicle a household member under 18 drives to work, school, job training, or to look for work.

For all other vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 or the equity value, whichever is more, is counted as a resource.

How is income determined to apply for Food Stamps online?

Income: Under SNAP rules, almost all types of income are counted to determine if a household is eligible. Most households must have income at or below certain dollar limits before and after deductions are allowed. However, households in which all members are getting public assistance or SSI (or, in some locations, general assistance) do not have to meet the income eligibility tests.

(Proof: You must provide proof of the income of all household members. Examples of proof include latest pay stubs or a statement from your employer; and benefit letters from Social Security, Veterans Administration, unemployment compensation, or pensions.)

Deductions: After adding all of your household’s countable income, the SNAP worker will subtract certain deductions. The income after deductions must fall below a certain dollar amount for your household to get SNAP benefits. This dollar amount will depend on the number of people in your household. The following deductions are allowed for all households to apply for food stamps online:

The standard deduction in most states is at least $155, and higher for households with 4 or more persons. However, Alaska, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and Guam have standard deductions that are at least $265, $219, $137 and $312, respectively for households with 3 or more persons for Fiscal Year 2016;
20 percent of earned income;
Actual costs of dependent care (Dependent care includes care for children and disabled adults if this care is needed so that a household member can work, look for a job, or get training or education leading to a job.);
Legally owed child-support payments;
Shelter expenses that are more than half of your income (There is a dollar limit on the amount of shelter expenses that may be deducted unless there is an elderly or disabled member. If there is an elderly or disabled member, the dollar limit does not apply.); and
Medical expenses over $35 a month for household members who are age 60 or older or receiving certain disability payments. (Medical costs are deductible only if they are not covered by insurance, a government program, or some other source.)

Please, provide proof: Bills or records of payment for the following deductions:

Dependent-care costs, such as a babysitter, day-care center, or attendant for a disabled adult;
Child-support payments, such as a court order and cancelled checks;
Rent or mortgage;
Insurance on the structure (but not the contents) of a home;
Telephone, electricity, gas, oil, water, sewerage, garbage collection, and installation costs for utilities; and
Medical expenses and proof of any reimbursement, such as an insurance policy or statement from an insurance company or agency paying these bills.)

Finding Out If You Qualify

After your interview, the SNAP office will send you a notice.

If you do not qualify for SNAP benefits, the notice will explain why.

If you do qualify, the notice will explain how much your SNAP benefit will be. It will also tell you how many months you can get SNAP benefits before you must reapply.

If you think your application has been wrongly denied after you apply for food stamps online or that you have not gotten the correct amount of SNAP benefits, you should tell the office. If they do not agree, you must ask them to have your case reviewed by a fair hearing official. For more information about fair hearings, see the section below entitled “Your Rights.”
Receiving Your SNAP Benefits

If the office finds that you are eligible, you will be able to get your SNAP benefits after you apply for food stamps online no later than 30 days from the date you first applied, unless you qualify for faster service. If you have no income (or very little income) for the month and you need help right away, you may qualify for 7-day service.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

Is SNAP what you get when you apply for Food Stamps online?

SNAP benefits are delivered to EBT accounts. You will receive a plastic card when you apply for food stamps with a magnetic strip (similar to a credit or debit card) to access your SNAP EBT account at authorized food retail outlets. Along with your EBT card, you will receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that protects your benefits from unauthorized use by someone else. Your PIN is a secret number, which only you know, that allows you to use your EBT card to purchase eligible food items. Keep your PIN secret and do not write it down on the card or card sleeve. Without the PIN, nobody else can use your card.