Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP (formerly Food Support)
name of Food Support changed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
SNAP to align with the federal name for the program. There will be no changes
to the program requirements or benefits. The Department of Human Services will
gradually implement this name change starting February 1, 2012.
The program will be referred to as SNAP on this website effective February 1, 2012.
Changes to SNAP for adults without children effective through September 30, 2012:
You may be able to receive SNAP for the next 12 months if:
You previously received SNAP and were told you were only
eligible for 3 months
You were no longer eligible because you used
your 3 months
You have applied in the past and decided to not accept benefits
You only used part of your 3 month benefit
Click here to find your county Human
Service Agency and apply NOW!
1. What is 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.
2. Is SNAP the same as Food Stamps or Food Support? SNAP is the name of Food Stamps in Minnesota. As of October 1, 2008, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new name for the federal Food Stamp Program, and on February 1, 2012 the program name in Minnesota was changed from Food Support to SNAP. We don’t call the
program “Food Stamps” anymore because you don’t get stamps to buy
food. You get a card.
3. How does SNAP work? 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
4. If I get SNAP, how much money will I get each month on my card? It depends on your income, expenses and the number of people who live
with you. The average monthly benefit amount per person in Minnesota is $118. If you
have more people living in your household and sharing food, you will get more money to buy food. The minimum monthly benefit is $16.
5. Who can get help from SNAP? 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
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).
composed entirely of people who receive General Assistance (GA),
Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
6. Does it matter how long I have lived in Minnesota to be eligible for SNAP? No. This doesn’t matter. You can be eligible for SNAP even if you just came
to Minnesota. You can also be eligible for SNAP even if you don’t plan to
stay in Minnesota for a long time.
7. Are there any asset limits for SNAP? No. There is no longer an asset limit for SNAP effective November 1, 2010.
8. What are the exceptions to the increased income guidelines and elimination of the asset limit for SNAP effective November 1, 2010?
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
A household member receiving SNAP is convicted of a
drug related felony.
9. How do I get an application for SNAP? The application is called the Combined Application Form (CAF). You can
get one at your county social services office. You can also download this
application on this website by clicking here.You can also now apply online for SNAP and other programs using ApplyMN.
10. What is the application like? 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. Or you can also apply online using ApplyMN. You can also use the Program Directory on this website to find organizations by county that will help you fill out the application.
11. Do I have to go in person to apply? No. After you turn in your application, you will have to do an
interview with a county worker. It may not happen on the same day. If
you cannot get to an interview, you can send a friend or relative to
apply for you, or you can request to be interviewed over the phone.
12. What else do I have to do to apply? During your interview, you will have to bring proof of your income
(such as check stubs) and your expenses. When you turn in
your application, you will learn what you need to bring to your
13. How soon will I be able to get on the program? It depends. For some emergencies, you can get help within five days. For
most people, you will find out in within a month from the day you turn
in your application.
14. What do I have to do to stay on the program? If the number of
people living with you changes or your income changes, you need to call
the county office and tell them within 10 days. If you have money from work (earned income), you have to fill out a
report that comes in the mail every six months. You have to mail it back with proof of income (like check
stubs). If you do not have money from work (no earned income), you will
only have to do paperwork every 12 months.
15. Is there a limit to how long I can get SNAP? No.
16. Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to get SNAP? 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 U.S. resident for more than 5 years, or are a refugee or asylee, you do NOT need a Social Security Number to apply.
17. Can undocumented immigrants get SNAP? Undocumented immigrants cannot get SNAP. But
if some people in your family can get SNAP, but others cannot,
you can apply just for those people who qualify. If you are
undocumented, but your children were born in the U.S., you can get SNAP for your children. The county worker cannot tell USCIS (INS)
about you or other people living with you. You do not have to tell the
worker about the immigration status of people that you are not applying
for, but you have to tell how many people live with you and how much
money they make.
18. I am an immigrant. If I get SNAP, will I be a public charge? No. Getting SNAP does not mean you are a public charge. You can
still become U.S. citizen if you get SNAP.
19. If I am getting help from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), can I still get SNAP when I leave the program? Most people leaving MFIP can still get SNAP. You have to have income and assets below the limits to get help.
20. What if I am a student, can I receive SNAP?
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
21. Will a lien be placed upon my home if I get SNAP? No.