FOOD STAMPS

 

FOOD STAMPS

SNAP (SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM)

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION:

The Food Stamp program (now known as SNAP) is a federal program administered by the US Department of Agriculture and managed in Connecticut by the Department of Social Services (DSS). The following is summarized from the DSS website, http://www.ct.gov/dss/cwp/view.asp?a=2353&q=411676.

WHO CAN GET SNAP?

A person must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen to qualify for SNAP.

U.S. citizens and certain legal immigrants who have little or no income are likely to be eligible for SNAP. This includes, but is not limited to, people who are:

  • Unemployed
  • Retired with no or low pension or Social Security income
  • Working, but earning low wages
  • On state cash assistance (TFA, SAGA, or State Supplement)
  • Homeless
  • Legal immigrants who are disabled and receiving disability benefits (SSI, or disability-related Medicaid) are eligible for SNAP without a waiting period.
  • Students in post-secondary schools (college) can receive SNAP if:
    • Age under 18 or 50+
    • Physically or mentally disabled
    • Receiving TFA
    • Responsible for more that 50% of the care of a dependent family member if under age 6 or age 6-12 if adequate care is not available
    • Enrolled less than half time
    • Enrolled half time or more and employed a minimum of 20 hrs/wk
    • Placed in higher education by the Workforce Investment Act program.
    • Participating in a federally financed work study program during the regular school year
    • Participating in an on-the-job training program through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program, or in a program under Secion 236 of the Trade Act of 1974, or in a Food Stamp Employment and Training program, or in an employment and training program for low income households that is operated by a state or local government entity.

USDA WEBSITE ON ELIGIBILITY

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm

INCOME  RESTRICTIONS

  • Beginning July 1, 2009, income limit for most households is 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), with no net income or asset limit. Households with an elderly (ages 60+) or disabled member do not have to meet a gross income limit. Instead, shelter, medical, and other qualifying expenses are deducted from gross income. If the gross income of an elderly/disabled household is below 185% FPL, there is no asset test and there is no net income test. However, if the elderly/disabled household's income exceeds 185% FPL, the net income after allowable deductions cannot be more than 100% FPL and they cannot have more than $3,250 in countable assets.
  • Combat pay is not included as income.

ASSET RESTRICTIONS

  • Elderly or disabled households with gross income over 185% FPL is $3,250. There is no asset limit if gross income is at or below 185% of FPL.
  • Not all assets count toward the asset limit.
  • The value of a house a person owns and lives in is not counted and a lien is not placed on a home.
  • Retirement accounts are not counted as assets.
  • Car value is NOT counted as an asset.

WHERE DO PEOPLE APPLY?

  • Apply for SNAP at the DSS office that serves your town or download an application at http://www.ct.gov/dss/lib/dss/pdfs/applications/w-1e.pdf and mail it in. Applicants can do their required interview by phone; it is not necessary to go to a DSS office.
    • Note: The Community Health Centers located throughout the state are designated SNAP Outreach sites and they can assist with eligibility screening.  For a list of locations, see the 2-1-1 database:  Benefits Assistance * Food Stamp/SNAP Recipients
  • If disabled and unable to go to a DSS office, you can request that an authorized representative apply for you.
  • People who apply for or receive SSI can apply for SNAP at the Social Security office located nearest their home.

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED?

  • Identification
  • Proof of citizenship or refugee status.
  • Legal immigrants with permanent residence status ("green card") should call to ask what documentation is required.
  • Proof of earned and unearned income
  • For elderly/disabled households whose income exceeds 185% FPL, documentation of countable assets (bank account statements, stocks, bonds, CDs, etc.
  • Social Security numbers for everyone in the household.
  • Verification of shelter expenses, such as rent receipt or lease, and utility bills.
  • Verification of out-of-pocket child and dependent care expenses
  • Verification of court ordered child support payments
  • Elderly/disabled households should also verify out-of-pocket medical expenses.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET SNAP?

The DSS office must act on applications within 30 days of the date a person submits a signed application. Eligible households will have benefits in their EBT account within four days of the date that DSS grants their application.

In emergency situations, person may be eligible for Expedited SNAP, which can be obtained within 7 days instead of 30 days. (See EXPEDITED SNAP, below.)

The 30 day period begins the day that the signed application is received in the DSS office. Also, the first month of SNAP is prorated from the day that the application is signed, so it is very important to at least put name and address on the application, SIGN it, and submit it to the appropriate DSS office, even if the applicant needs to provide more information and/or documentation to support the application.

EXPEDITED SNAP (also known as EMERGENCY FOOD STAMPS)

Some people can get SNAP benefits within seven days of the date they apply. To qualify for Expedited SNAP person must:

  • Have income less than $150 per month and assets of $100 or less.
  • OR have monthly rent/mortgage and utility expenses that are more than total monthly income plus liquid assets.
  • OR be a destitute migrant or seasonal farm worker
  • ID is the only documentation required for the first month of expedited SNAP

ELECTRONIC BENEFITS TRANSFER (EBT)

All benefits are issued into the recipient's EBT account. If your last name starts with A-F, you will receive benefits on that 1st of the month; G-N on the 2nd, and O-Z on the 3rd. Benefits are issued on these dates even if it's a holiday or weekend.

When granted SNAP, an EBT card is mailed to you, along with instructions on how to set up your PIN (Personal Identification Number).This number is your secret code that allows only you to access your benefits. If you give this number to someone else, they can access your benefits if they have your card. Keep your PIN number safe and do not keep it with your card. Benefits removed from your EBT account will not be replaced.

If you lose your EBT card, you must contact your worker to get a new card.

If your card is stolen, you must call 1-888-328-2666 and report it stolen so that the EBT card can be cancelled immediately.

WHAT IS THE APPEAL PROCESS IF SNAP BENEFITS ARE DENIED?

Request for appeal of a denial must be made within 90 days of the date of the decision notice. Request a hearing by calling the Fair Hearing Unit at 1-800-462-0134 or write to: Fair Hearing Unit, Department of Social Services, 25 Sigourney Street, Hartford, CT 06106.

ADVOCACY

For information concerning legal rights or for assistance with an appeal call Statewide Legal Services. End Hunger Connecticut provides advocacy for the food needs of low income children and adults in the State of Connecticut.

OTHER RESOURCES

End Hunger Connecticut has an online SNAP prescreening tool in English and Spanish at http://www.ctfoodstamps.org/.  Also, End Hunger SNAP Outreach Advocates can assist with eligibility questions, problems with applications, and other services needed for recipients, ages 50+, to receive and maintain benefits under the SNAP/Food Stamp program.  Services include pre-eligibility screening and assistance with applications, re-determinations, periodic review forms and verifications.

USDA designed Spanish-language SNAP Retailer Locator, an online search tool designed to help recipients find SNAP authorized stores near their home or workplace, see: http://www.snapretailerlocator.com/

TO FIND PROVIDERS IN CONNECTICUT'S COMMUNITY RESOURCES DATABASE:
Search by service name: Food Stamps/SNAP

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SOURCES: Connecticut State Department of Social Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
PREPARED BY: 211/rj
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED:January2014

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