Food Stamps / SNAP
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://portal.ct.gov/DSS/Services/Food-and-Nutrition
NOTE: 1/15/2019 – CT Department of Social Services Correspondence – Re: Early SNAP benefits for February 2019
- SNAP/Food Stamps: The federal agency (USDA) that administers the SNAP program has sufficient resources to fund SNAP benefits through February 2019. USDA, in cooperation with CT Department of Social Services, will distribute the full SNAP allotment for February on or before January 20th to CT residents receiving benefits. There’s no need for SNAP enrollees to access and ‘spend’ their February SNAP allocation early (Rumor not true, benefits do not have to be used by February 1st). The benefits will be there in February, too. Families are encouraged to budget their early allotment of February SNAP benefits carefully as the benefits they receive early in January will have to last until the end of February.
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:
- Retired with no or low pension or Social Security income
- Working, but earning low wages
- On state cash assistance (TFA, SAGA, or State Supplement)
- 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.
NOTE: New Eligibility Time Limits for Some SNAP Participants (Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents) as of January 1, 2016
Dependents from age 18 up to 50th birthday, will be required to meet special work requirements to be eligible for SNAP benefits for more than 3 months during a 36 month period, see website link for more details — http://portal.ct.gov/DSS/SNAP/Able-Bodied-Adults-Without-Dependents-or-ABAWDs
USDA Website on Eligibility http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/eligibility.htm
- Income limits 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 $3,500 in countable assets. A home the individual lives in is not included as an asset, or is a lien placed on a home.
- Combat pay is not included as income.
- Elderly or disabled households with gross income over 185% FPL is $3,500. 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 online at www.connectct.gov, under “Apply for Benefits” or download the English application here or Versión en Español and mail it in, or drop off at a local DSS Regional Office. Applicants who cannot get to an office or are unable to complete the paperwork, can do their required interview by phone and mail. Note: End Hunger Connecticut can also help with SNAP eligibility screening, http://www.endhungerct.org/snap/
- 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.
***If you’re enrolled in SNAP already, you can now take care of your “periodic report form” online, here: www.ct.gov/dss/snapreportform
What Documents are Needed?
- 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.
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)
All benefits are issued into a 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 having trouble with card, pin number, if card is lost or stolen, you must call the 24/7 Customer Service Line, 1-888-328-2666
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 or locate a form, http://portal.ct.gov/DSS/The-Office-of-Legal-Counsel-Regulations-and-Administrative-Hearings/Office-of-Legal-Counsel-Regulations-and-Administrative-Hearings—OLCRAH/How-To
by calling the Administrative Hearing Unit at 860-424-5760 (within Hartford calling area) and 1-800-462-0134 (if calling from outside of the Hartford calling area), or write to: Office of Legal Counsel, Regulations and Administrative Hearings, Department of Social Services, 55 Farmington Avenue, 11th Floor, Hartford, CT 06105 (Fax Number – 860-424-5729).
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, 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.
UCONN Center for Public Health and Health Policy has created a website, Snap4ct, which has healthy eating tips that includes recipes, health questions answered by a nutritionist, and a sign up for a Snap newsletter, and much more.
To Find Providers in Connecticut’s Community Resources Database:
Search by service name: Food Stamps/SNAP
SOURCES: Connecticut State Department of Social Services; U.S. Department of Agriculture; End Hunger Connecticut; University of Connecticut Public Health and Health Policy
PREPARED BY: 211/rj
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED:January2019