The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People in eligible low-income households can obtain more nutritious diets with SNAP increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. Those who are eligible receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases. Experiencing a food emergency and need food right away? Help is available.
Call the Department of Human Services Helpline, toll-free, at 1-800-692-7462
(1-800-451-5886 for individuals with hearing impairments) or your county assistance office.
How to Apply for SNAP
Please apply using the option that best suits you. If you do not know if you are eligible, you may still apply.
Online: Apply for or renew your SNAP benefits online by using COMPASS.
In-person: File an application at your county assistance office. You can download an application right here, fill it out, and return it to your county assistance office:
If you need help completing the application form or need more information about benefits, trained county assistance office staff can help you in person.
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 you are 60 or older, find helpful information on our SNAP for Older Adults page.
If applying online, COMPASS will detect if you qualify for the simplified application and provide it for you.
Maximum Benefit Amounts
October 2019 through September 2020:
|Maximum||$194||$355||$509||$646||$768||$921||$1,018||$1,164||Add $146 |
Frequently Asked Questions
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. Learn more about eligibility requirements for SNAP.
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, seven days a week at 1-888-EBT-PENN.
Go 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).
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?
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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture website or 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:
Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.