Minnesota Food Stamps (SNAP) Application Information

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is formerly known as Food Stamps or Food Support program. It's basically the same program as before, but the name has been changed since Minnesotans don't get food stamps anymore to buy food, but they instead get a debit card.

After you apply for SNAP enrollment and after you've been accepted you'll get and EBT card. This stands for Electronic Bank Transfer card and it functions just like any other debit card. Each month you'll get a certain amount of money deposited on your EBT card, so you can use it to purchase food in places which are partnered with SNAP. These are markets and grocery stores. Once you get to the check-out line, you'll need to use your EBT card by swiping it at the cash register and entering your PIN (Personal Identification Number). Make sure you keep your card safe as well as your PIN.

You can use your EBT card only to purchase food, plants or seeds in order to grow food. Seniors can also use it at some Meals on Wheels and Congregate Dining sites.

Make sure that you know the terms of SNAP enrollment and use of your EBT card as well, since some actions are considered as an illegal use of SNAP benefits and they can `lead` to a termination of your enrollment. Some of these actions are:

  • Exchanging or selling your benefits for cash
  • Buying anything other than eligible food items

In terms of income qualification, 20% of income is not counted when making comparisons on the various income levels. However this only applies to "earned income" and not applies to unearned income like child support, social security of unemployment income.

  • Paper products, household and personal hygiene supplies
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tobacco products
  • Medication or vitamins
  • Pet food
  • Foods eaten in the store or any other kind of ready-to-eat food

Also, many people are interested in how much money they can get with their SNAP enrollment. The amount of money will be calculated and you'll receive a certain amount at the beginning of each month. This amount depends on your income, expenses and the number of people in your household. In general, SNAP enrollment can get you $118 per month, for an average low-income individual.

SNAP also offers expedited service for very-low income families. This means that families who are already struggling with food supplies can get SNAP right away. Normally, a review process can take up to 30 days, so this is why in some cases SNAP can be approved right away.

Make sure that you know the terms of SNAP enrollment and use of your EBT card as well, since some actions are considered as an illegal use of SNAP benefits and they can `lead` to a termination of your enrollment. Some of these actions are:

  • You liquid assets don't exceed $100 and your monthly gross income is less than $150, or
  • You liquid assets and gross income for the month are less than your housing costs.

In order to continuously receive SNAP assistance, you'll need to know that you'll have a certain responsibilities. You'll get a chance to get familiar with these responsibilities by thoroughly reading documents that you'll need to sign the first time you became a SNAP enrollee. The most important responsibilities that you'll have are:

  • You'll be obligated to report any changes in your household by the 10th of the month following the month of any change. You should report it to your county worker.
  • In case you're living with others and they are MFIP enrollees (Minnesota Family Investment Program), you must report any changes during a maximum period of 10 days. These changes include: number of people in your home, change of residency, additional vehicles, and change of a job or new shelter costs.
  • Finally, you must cooperate with the state quality control workers in case they choose to review you case. If you don't, your SNAP enrollment can be stopped until you do cooperate.

Many low-income families who are eligible for SNAP enrollment, are also automatically eligible for many other state-administered programs which could help with costs of food, shelter, medical or other expenses. Some of these services are:

  • General Assistance (GA)
  • Diversionary Work Program (DWP)
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)
  • Medical Assistance (MA)
  • MinnesotaCare

There are also some other very helpful services as counselling, homemaking, family planning, services for unmarried parents, adoption services and programs for senior citizens. In order to find out more about these additional programs, simply call your local DHS office. You
can find out more here

Eligibility Requirements

In order to get the SNAP benefits, you'll need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • You need to reside in Minnesota -
    There's no limit on how much time you've actually lived in Minnesota. You can apply if you've just moved here, or even in you don't plan on staying for a long period of time.
  • You need to be a U.S. citizen or a legal alien -
    You'll need to prove this with a U.S. passport and a Social Security number. If you're an immigrant, you'll need to bring government issued document which proves your immigration status.
  • You need to fulfill income limit guideline -
    This income limit is 130% of the Federal Poverty Level.
  • Some special requirements and changes of income limits can be applied in cases of senior citizens and disabled individuals
  • There's no longer an asset limit for SNAP effective November 1, 2010

In case you're a student and you'd like to use SNAP benefits, besides meeting general requirements and eligibility guidelines, you'll need to meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Under the age of 18 or over the age of 50
  • Physically or mentally unable to work
  • Employed for at least 20 hours a week
  • Participating in work-study program
  • Caring for a child under the age of 6, or a child between 6 and 11 if childcare is unavailable
  • A single parent with a child under the age of 12
  • Participating in a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) or similar work program
  • Participating in on-the-job training where you are paid to learn new skills by an employer

You are also eligible for the SNAP enrollment even if you're using other state-funded programs, as long as you fulfill income and asset requirements for both of these programs:

  • Most families use SNAP benefits after they've used MFIP benefits (Minnesota Family Investment Program)
  • Families are eligible in case they're participating in the Diversionary Work Program (DWP)
  • Families which are composed entirely of people who receive General Assistance (GA),
    Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Families with at least 1 child are also eligible to receive Basic Sliding Fee Child Care or Transitional Year Child Care.

If you need any more information on eligibility requirements, you can use this webpage:
http://mn.bridgetobenefits.org/Program_Directory.html This is where you can find a list of organization in different Minnesota counties which could help you with the process of applying, as well as with any additional questions or doubts.

Food Stamps Application Instructions

In order to apply for the SNAP enrollment, you'll need to fill out a Combined Application Form and turn it in at your local human services agency.

There are several ways to obtain and submit a Combined Application form:

  • You can use online application, which is probably the most convenient way to apply for this program. Simply visit this website:
    Here, which will take your directly to a secure web application.
  • You can download and print out a paper application, after which you'll need to turn it in at your local human services agency. Download application form by following this link:
  • Finally, you can find application forms at your local human services agency, where you can also get any additional help.

The application is about 15 pages long and it is available in over 10 different languages. It will ask you about the members of your household, your income and your assets. Since this is a combined form, you can also apply for any other Minnesota-administered programs. Make sure you take your time and carefully fill out this application, since this can speed up the review process.

Besides having a properly filled out application form, you'll also need additional documents which are used as a proof of your identity, income and your assets. These documents are:

  • Identification showing your name and address
  • Proof of your citizenship (a U.S. passport or document regarding immigration status for legal aliens)
  • A Social Security number for all members of your household
  • Proof of your monthly income (paystubs)
  • In case you're receiving any other welfare, you'll need documents which will show:
    Proof of your housing costs
    Medical bills of a household members who are over 60 years of age, or if a person has certain disabilities (regardless of age).

The process of approval usually takes the following four steps:

  • First step is to find and fill out a Combined Application Form, as accurately and completely as you can
  • Second step is to gather and turn in additional documents which will prove you identity, income and assets
  • Third step is to attend an interview at the county office, so you can explain your situation and discuss any additional questions. In some cases, this interview can be done by phone
  • Final step is to verify items requested by the county worker
  • After you've been approved, you should expect getting a notification about your newly issued EBT card