Can’t afford groceries right now? Here are resources to help
Last updated: February 6, 2023
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AnnaMarie Houlis
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Can’t afford groceries right now? Here are resources to help
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SNAP (Food Stamps) Assistance Can Help

If you are struggling to afford healthy meals to feed yourself or your family, you’re not alone and, while you may feel out of control of your situation, assistance is available. In fact, 36 million people receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance, more widely known as food stamps.

If you need help like so many others during this tough time, it’s okay to ask for it.

Here’s what you should know about SNAP’s benefits, if you’re eligible, how to apply and what to expect.

What is SNAP?

SNAP—which is administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program—provides individuals and families with the financial assistance they require to afford food with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Those who are eligible can use the card like a debit card to purchase qualified products in authorized food stores.

Am I eligible for SNAP benefits?

Eligibility for SNAP benefits varies by the state in which you live. Most states will use the balance in your bank account to determine your eligibility.

If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), these will not be counted toward your eligibility.

Check out the eligibility checker on the U.S. government benefits page. If you think you may be eligible or if you want to learn more about specific requirements in your state, visit the SNAP State Directory to contact your local office.

How do I apply for SNAP benefits?

You must apply for SNAP benefits in your state, as each has its own application form.

Most states’ application forms can be found online but, if yours is not, you can contact your local SNAP office and request an application. From there, here’s how to process should pan out:

  • Submit your application online or by mail.

  • Your state’s office should contact you about your eligibility to receive SNAP’s benefits within 30 days of receiving your application.

  • You will need to complete an eligibility interview either in person or by phone for verification purposes.

  • If you’re deemed eligible for SNAP assistance, you will receive benefits based on the date you submitted your application.

  • If you’re hungry and need immediate food aid, you can find more resources to help you here.

What can I purchase with SNAP benefits (and from where)?

To find nearby authorized stores where you can shop with your food stamps, you can type your city of zip code into the SNAP Retailer Locator tool. Food stamps can be used toward the purchase of the following products at these stores:

  • Fruits, Vegetables
  • Meat , Poultry, Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads, Cereals
  • Other foods such as snack foods
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants that produce food

You cannot, however, use food stamps to purchase quick-serve, prepared / hot foods, non-essentials like beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes, and non-food items.

Where can I find more information?

If you have questions about how to begin applying for SNAP benefits or other concerns visit the , USDA “Ask the Expert” system. And if you’re in immediate need of food assistance, you can call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273).

Together, we will get through this!

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Doug Ripley
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Insurance Agent

At 72 this is not my first economic rodeo. You have covered many very good topics here and I appreciate this very much. Communication is the key to keeping all the balls in the air so you don't strike out or get thrown out of the game. Make notes of all conversations is sage advice as people remember what they can at times but what they want to believe was said to fit their agenda. Be truthful and stay ahead of your needs to be sure what you need shows up when you need it! Have fun when you can it doesn't cost much to be happy when you not looking over your shoulder.

3y
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Doug Ripley
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Insurance Agent

At 72 this is not my first economic rodeo. You have covered many very good topics here and I appreciate this very much. Communication is the key to keeping all the balls in the air so you don't strike out or get thrown out of the game. Make notes of all conversations is sage advice as people remember what they can at times but what they want to believe was said to fit their agenda. Be truthful and stay ahead of your needs to be sure what you need shows up when you need it! Have fun when you can it doesn't cost much to be happy when you not looking over your shoulder.

3y
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Isabela Lizio
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Thnkx

3y
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Laura Turner
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Empowering America's Workforce

Thank you for sharing this much needed resource!

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