The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Idaho Food Stamps program, helps low-income families buy the food they need in order to stay healthy. An eligible family receives an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which is used like any other debit card at the grocery store. The card uses money from a SNAP account set up for the eligible family to pay for food items.
APPLY FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE
You can apply for food assistance with just your name, address, and signature on our Application for Assistance. This gets you started, but we still need you to provide the rest of the information on the application before we can determine if you’re eligible to receive food assistance.
IMMEDIATE FOOD ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE
If you need food assistance immediately, and are eligible, we can provide benefits within seven days. You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for the expedited services.
In order to receive food assistance, certain eligibility requirements must be met in areas such as, citizenship/immigration status, income, resources, work requirements, and other areas based on your household's circumstances. To find out whether you could be eligible for SNAP, check out this pre-screening tool (use only as a guide, not as a final determination). Regardless of the results of the tool, we encourage you to come in to our offices. A quick conversation will help you find out whether you may be eligible.
For most households, resources must be under $5,000 to qualify for SNAP.
Resources include, but are not limited to:
- Bank accounts
- Real property
- Household vehicles
- Recreational vehicles
Household vehicles might be excluded based on usage and other factors. If you own vehicles that you think may disqualify you, we encourage you to come into one of our offices and speak with a Self-Reliance Specialist to determine if you are eligible.
The amount of SNAP you get (also called benefit amount), depends on a variety of circumstances such as, the number of people in your household, your income, and other factors. Generally, the larger the household size or the lower the income, the higher the benefit amount.
SNAP cardholders will receive their benefits according to their assigned issuance date, which is based on the last digit of the cardholder's birth year. Learn more about what day SNAP benefits will be posted to your EBT card by visiting LiveBetterIdaho.org.
SNAP benefits must be used within 365 days. If you receive SNAP benefits, and do not use them within a year, we will cancel any benefits remaining on your EBT card account.
RE-EVALUATING FOR SNAP
If eligible for SNAP, you are required to re-evaluate every so often. When your household is due for recertification, the Department will notify you and provide you with the information and forms required to complete the process.
There is maximum length of time for how long you can receive SNAP. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements for the program, you may receive food assistance benefits. The two-year time limits that apply to other cash-assistance program do not apply to SNAP.
USING YOUR SNAP BENEFITS
You can use your SNAP benefits at food grocers, like grocery stores and farmers markets, to buy certain foods such as:
- Breads and cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats, fish, and poultry
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants that produce food for you and your household to eat
Food Stamps may not be used to buy items such as:
- Cigarettes or tobacco
- Vitamins and medicines
- Food that can be eaten in-store
- Prepared foods
In some areas, restaurants may be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.
- Non-food items such as:
- Pet foods
- Paper products
- Household supplies