Food Assistance

Find out how to get help buying nutritious food for you and your family.

Food Stamps (SNAP Food Benefits)

Learn about Food Benefits

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally-funded benefit program formerly known as "food stamps."

The benefits you'll get from SNAP are loaded onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, similar to a credit or debit card.

How to Get Food Benefits

  1. Eligibility. To determine if you are eligible, gather information showing your income, rent or mortgage, utility bills, child support, daycare expenses, medical bills, Supplement Security  Income (SSI), and Social Security or VA payments. You will need this information as part of the process qualifying for your state's food benefit program. 

  2. Application. Find the online application for your state. You'll find local office addresses and phone numbers in the same place. You can also apply in person at a state or local office.

  3. Receive your card. If your state determines that you qualify for food benefits, they will send you an EBT card.

  4. Manage your benefits. Access food benefits at your local authorized SNAP retailers. You can use the card at a cash register like a credit or debit card to pay for food.

  5. Purchase food items.You can use the card to purchase eligible food items at local retailers like grocery stores and at some farmer's markets.

Some states have EBT websites set up for managing your benefits. If your state doesn't have an EBT management website, you can contact your state SNAP office to check your benefits.

Become a SNAP Food Benefits Retailer

If you're a retailer or work with a farmers market, you can apply online or call the SNAP Retailer Service Center at 1-877-823-4369 to become authorized to accept SNAP.

Report SNAP Food Benefits Fraud

If you suspect an individual or a retailer is committing SNAP fraud, you can report it to your state online or by phone.

Learn more about this food benefit program. You may be eligible to receive other government benefits.

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Free or Reduced-Price Food Programs

If you need food immediately, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-348-6479, find a local food bank, or contact local community or religious organizations.

Learn About the WIC Program for Women and Infants

This short-term program can help you get healthy food for yourself and your young children:

Learn About Free Programs for School-Age Children

These programs can help you get healthy food for your children at their school, child care center, or after-school program:

Learn About Free Programs for Seniors

Some states offer food programs for low-income seniors:

  • Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) offers coupons to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs in farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community programs that grow fruits and vegetables.
    • Eligibility:  Low-income seniors (age 60 and older) who live in an area that offer SFMNP may apply.
    • How to apply:  Contact your state SFMNP office. If you get SNAP or Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), contact your local office.
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides a monthly food package to take home.
    • Eligibility:  Low-income seniors (age 60 and older) who live in an area that offers CSFP may apply.
    • How to apply:  Call 1-866-348-6479 to find your state CSFP contact or find the food distribution contact closest to you.

Learn more about food assistance programs or contact your local senior community center.

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Food Stamp (SNAP) Complaints

If you need to file a complaint concerning your food stamps or attempt to get food stamps, the following resources can help.

Report a Complaint about SNAP Benefits

If you feel the amount of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits you receive are incorrect, contact your local field office by phone, mail, or in person to request a hearing. An impartial official (this person cannot be the caseworker or the caseworker's immediate supervisor) conducts the hearing and determines whether the caseworker handled the situation properly.

File a Complaint about a Caseworker or Office

If you feel that your caseworker is not properly handling your food stamp case, you can ask to speak with his/her supervisor and file a complaint if necessary. Each office has procedures for handling complaints.

Complain about a SNAP Retailer

To file a complaint against a SNAP retailer, you may:

  • Call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) at 1-800-424-9121.
  • Submit your complaint on the OIG's website. 

You will need to give the name and the location of the store. You can remain anonymous if you choose.

Report Misuse of the SNAP program

If you suspect fraud or abuse of the SNAP program, call your state's fraud hotline number.

Report Discrimination

If you suspect your SNAP application was declined because of age, sex, color, race, disability, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs, please write to:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service
Civil Rights Division
3101 Park Center Dr., Room 942
Alexandria VA 22302

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Last Updated: May 31, 2017

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