Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- What is SNAP?
- Is SNAP the same as Food Stamps or Food Support?
- How does SNAP work?
- If I get SNAP, how much money will I get each month on my card?
- Who can get help from SNAP?
- Does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota to be eligible for SNAP?
- Are there any asset limits for SNAP?
- What are the exceptions to the increased income guidelines and elimination of the asset limit for SNAP effective November 1, 2010?
- How do I get an application for SNAP?
- What is the application like?
- Do I have to go in person to apply?
- What else do I have to do to apply?
- How soon will I be able to get on the program?
- What do I have to do to stay on the program?
- Is there a limit to how long I can get SNAP?
- Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to get SNAP?
- Can undocumented immigrants get SNAP?
- I am an immigrant. If I get SNAP, will I be a public charge?
- If I am getting help from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), can I still get SNAP when I leave the program?
- What if I am a student, can I receive SNAP?
- Will a lien be placed upon my home if I get SNAP?
It is a program that helps people with lower incomes pay for nutritious food, which helps kids to grow up strong and helps adults to stay healthy. SNAP (formerly Food Support and often referred to as "food stamps") does not pay for all the food that a person or a family needs each month, just some of it.
SNAP is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services but eligibility and case management is done by county human services departments.
Once you get SNAP, you will get a plastic card that looks like a credit or debit card. It is called your EBT card. Every month, the card will be filled up with the money for you to buy food at places that accept SNAP, such as grocery stores. When you get to the check-out line, you swipe your card and then enter a code number that you have picked (called a PIN or Personal Identification Number). The PIN helps keep your benefits safe if you lose your card. The cost of your food will be subtracted from the amount of money on your card. You can use your card to buy groceries or plants and seeds to grow food. Seniors can also use their cards at some Meals on Wheels and Congregate Dining sites. You cannot use your card to buy other things like clothes.
Lots of people, including single adults, families and seniors. For most people, it depends on how much money you make (your income). The following families are eligible for SNAP with no asset or income test:
- Families in which at least 1 child in the household is eligible to receive Basic Sliding Fee Child Care and/or the Transition Year Child Care. The family must have applied and been found eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program but can still be on the waiting list.
- Families participating in the Diversionary Work Program (DWP).
- Families composed entirely of people who receive General Assistance (GA), Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Minnesota.
The traditional income limit of 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and asset limits of $3,000 for the elderly/disabled persons and $2,000 for other persons will still apply in the following situations:
- A household member has an intentional program violation.
- A household member receiving SNAP fails to comply with six-month or monthly reporting requirements.
- The Primary Wage Earner (PWE) fails to comply with work requirements.
- A household member receiving SNAP is convicted of a drug related felony.
The application is about 15 pages long, plus instructions. It is available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Khmer (Cambodian), Lao, Vietnamese, Arabic, Oromo, Serbo-Croatian (Bosnian) and Russian. It will ask you about everyone who lives with you, how much money they make, and what they own (assets). If you want, you can use this same application to apply for cash assistance (MFIP or DWP) or a health program (Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, or GAMC). Fill it out and then bring it to the county office to apply. You can also use the Program Directory on this website to find organizations by county that will help you fill out the application.
There are no limits to how long you can get SNAP if you have children/dependents living in your household or are under age 18 or over age 50.
If you are a single, able-bodied adult without dependents in your home, you can only receive SNAP for 3 months in a 36-month period. To get SNAP for more than three months in a 36-month time period you need to meet one of the following:
- You participate in an approved employment program at least 80 hours per month
- You are receiving cash assistance
- You are certified unable to work
- You live on Bois Forte, Fond Du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Lower Sioux, Mille Lacs, Prairie Island, Red Lake, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, Upper Sioux, or White Earth Reservations
- You live in Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Norman, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, Todd or Wadena counties
- You are pregnant
- You are under age 18 or older than age 50
No. You must be a U.S. citizen or have an acceptable immigration status. However, if only some people in your household have acceptable immigration status, you can apply just for them. Most people will need a Social Security Number (or proof of application if the number is pending) to apply. There are exceptions to this rule. If you are under age 18 or over age 49, or have been a lawful
NO. As of March 9th 2021, the Trump administration public charge regulations are no longer in effect. DHS and USCIS will now follow the policy in the 1999 Interim Field Guidance which allows immigrant families to safely access health, nutrition, and housing programs WITHOUT being at risk of negative public charge consequences.
If you are an immigrant, you should apply for any of the programs on the Bridge to Benefits site for which you appear eligible.
Please contact the National Immigration Law Center or Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid at 612-334-5970 if you have more quesitons about immigrantion status and public work support program usage.
In addition to meeting general SNAP ncome and eligibility guidelines, students must meet at least one of the following criteria: They are
- Under age 18 or over age 50,
- Physically or mentally unable to work,
- Attending a school that is not considered high-ed or they do not go to school full-time,
- Employed for at least 20 hours a week,
- Participating in work-study program,
- Caring for a child under age 6, or a child between 6 and 11 when childcare is unavailable,
- A single parent with a child under 12,
- Participating in a Workforce Investment Act
(WIA) or similar work program, or
- Participating in on-the-job training where they are paid to learn new skills by an employer