Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp program, helps Pennsylvanians buy food and assists eligible low-income households in Pennsylvania in obtaining more nutritious diets by increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. If you are eligible, you will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card which is used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets. 

Questions about SNAP benefits?

If you have questions about SNAP, you may call the Department of Human Services Helpline toll-free at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments) or your local county assistance office.

How to apply

There are a couple of different ways to apply for SNAP. Please choose the option that best suits you. If you do not know if you are eligible, you may still apply.

If you need help completing the application form or need more information about benefits, trained county assistance office staff can help you.

The following can apply: 
  • The head of the household
  • The spouse of the head of household
  • Any other responsible household member
  • A designated authorized representative (can be a friend, relative, neighbor, or anyone else the applicant trusts to go food shopping and use their SNAP benefits)
Simple SNAP application 

Use the Simple SNAP application for if everyone in the household is age 60 or older or has a disability, purchases and prepares food together, and does not receive any earnings from work. (A household is a group of people who usually purchase and prepare meals together. People in the household are not required to be related.)

If applying online, COMPASS will detect if you qualify for the simplified application and provide it for you.


Maximum benefit amounts

October 2018 through September 2019:

Family Size12345678Each Additional
Maximum$192$353$505$642$762$914$1,011$1,155Add $144   

More information on eligibility requirements for SNAP. 

What is SNAP?

View the SNAP infographic (February 2018)

How do SNAP benefits work?

SNAP benefits are placed in an electronic account that only the recipient can use. This system is called Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT. The eligible household receives the Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS card, which allows withdrawals for food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets. The store uses the EBT ACCESS card to electronically subtract purchases from the SNAP account. The eligible household can only spend the amount that is in the account. This is not a credit card.

What are the income eligibility requirements?

To get SNAP benefits, your income has to be under certain limits. SNAP households may receive deductions from their gross income for things like housing costs, child or dependent care payments, and medical expenses more than $35 for older adults or people with disabilities.  

How do I check the balance for my SNAP benefits to know how much I have?
  • The best way to know your balance is to keep your last receipt.
  • If you lose your last receipt and need to know your balance, call the recipient hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-EBT-PENN (1-888-328-7366).
  • Log in online to view your transaction history, learn more about EBT, and more.

How can I figure out how to feed my family healthful foods on a budget?

The United States Department of Agriculture provides several resources to help you prepare healthy meals on a budget:


Pennsylvania provides additional information about healthy eating through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed).

TheSNAP Recipe Finder helps you create cookbooks and shopping lists. Use it to search for recipes based on total cost or cost per serving.

What should I do if I need food right away?


General information About SNAP






In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.