Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the new name for the Food Stamp program. These benefits are used to buy food and help eligible low-income households in Pennsylvania obtain more nutritious diets by increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. If you are eligible, you will receive a Pennsylvania Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card which is used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets.

How to Apply:

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

You can apply for or renew your SNAP benefits online by using COMPASS. COMPASS is the name of the website where you can apply for the SNAP program and many other services that can help you make ends meet.

Or, you can file an application at your local county assistance office

Application for cash assistance, SNAP and Medical Assistance Benefits (English version)

Solicitud para recibir beneficios(Solicitud para recibir beneficios)

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

The following persons may apply: 

  • The head of the household;
  • The spouse of the head of household;
  • Any other responsible household member; or
  • A designated authorized representative, who can be a friend, relative, neighbor, or anyone else the applicant trusts to go food shopping and use his/her SNAP benefits.

Simple SNAP Application for Elderly or Disabled Households

You can use this application for SNAP benefits if everyone in the household is age 60 or older or disabled and 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.

 

What are the minimum and maximum monthly benefit amounts?

Beginning October 2014:

Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Each Additional
Maximum $194 $357 $511 $649 $771 $925 $1022 $1169 $1315 $1461 +$146

Through September 2014:

Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Each Additional
Maximum $189 $347 $497 $632 $750 $900 $995 $1137  $1279  $1421  +$142 

The minimum benefit for eligible households is $16.


More information about the eligibility requirements for SNAP can be found in the SNAP Handbook.
 

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 a plastic card, the Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS Card. This card allows withdrawals for food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets. The store simply 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 over $35 for elderly or disabled people.

Questions Regarding 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 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).
  • Information is also available online at https://www.ebt.acs-inc.com/.


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

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


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

The SNAP 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?

Contact your regional food bank and ask for the nearest food distribution site. For information on food banks in your area visit feedingamerica.org or contact your local county assistance office.


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General Information About SNAP

A Blueprint for a Hunger-Free Pennsylvania

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamp) Policy Handbook

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Web site

 

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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.