The Iowa Department of Human Services maintains the Food Assistance Program in Iowa, which provides Electronic Benefit Transfers to enable low income individuals and families to buy groceries at specific markets and food stores around the state. The program is designed to help individuals who are in need of a healthy diet but simply cannot afford to. The Food Assistance Program allows anyone to apply but only some of the applicants will receive food stamps. Applicants are approved if they meet income guidelines, are a citizen or legal immigrant, and reside in Iowa. For that reason, you have to prove your identity, income and residency in Iowa to receive food stamps. Iowa makes it easy for individuals to apply for food assistance and other cash assistance programs online. You can find out more about the program and even print forms from the Iowa Department of Human Services website. You can also request a paper form from a local DHS office. If you want to learn more about nutrition and the food assistance program, you can also visit www.yesfood.Iowa.gov.
Applying for Food Stamps
You can apply for food stamps online through oasis.iowa.gov. This is an online portal which will ask you to register and fill out some basic information about yourself, such as your name, social security number, income and assets. Fill out each part of the application accurately and honestly. You will also be asked to prove certain areas, such as household size and income. After your application processes, a representative from Iowa Department of Human Services will call you and talk to you about your income and household. This will determine if you are approved and how much you will receive each month to your EBT card. The EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card will allow you to use your food stamps like cash at grocery stores and super markets. You can also access your account information online through https://www.ebt.acs-inc.com. In addition to providing for food, the food assistance program also gives you information on starting a locally grown farm fresh food produce. These vendors will also accept EBT funds to purchase fresh food.
Receiving Food Stamps
You can start by completing an assessment to see if you qualify for food stamps. You can find this assessment on OASIS. Under that link, you can also find the application online. Once approved, you will go through an eligibility interview. This is to determine a bit more about your income and household. There are regulations that allow certain people to receive food stamps within 7 days of applying. These include households with a gross income less than $150 and with resources, such as cash or bank accounts of $100 or less. Households with rent, mortgage, and utilities that are more than the household's gross monthly income and assets. Households with a migrant or seasonal farm worker and with assets of $100 or less whose income is stopping or starting. You can find out more about the eligibility for food stamps from the Food Stamp Program manual (PDF). The manual describes income as a major factor in deducing how much you will receive in food stamp benefits.
Finding Food Service Locations
SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. You can contact 515-286-3555 to inquire about food stamp retailers in your area as well as request more information. You may also want to contact your local DHS office in Iowa. You can use the Map of DHS Offices to help you locate an office near you. The locator will give you the address and phone number for different county offices.