Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare oversees the food stamps program known as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The federally funded program is operated with assistance from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The food stamp program makes it easier for low-income families to afford healthy and sustainable diets, while struggling to pay other bills. Benefits are distributed based on eligibility and depend on the size of the household, as well as income assessments conducted by the county assistance office. In Pennsylvania, the SNAP program has helped thousands of families continue to eat well while enduring financial hardships. Households in Pennsylvania obtain more nutritious diets by increasing the purchasing power at grocery stores and super markets. If a member of a household is eligible, he or she may receive monthly benefits funded by the state and federal government through the USDA. The benefits are transmitted to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card. With this card, individuals can go to super markets and use their food stamp card like a debit card to purchase approved food. There are various ways to apply for SNAP and you can even apply online and renew online through the COMPASS website offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. If you want to know more about SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania, you can visit the website by clicking here.
Applying for Food Stamps
There are restrictions on who can apply and how you apply in Pennsylvania. Only the head of household, spouse of the head of household, another responsible household member or a designated authorized representative can apply for benefits on your behalf. In addition, you can apply online for benefits by using COMPASS. You only need to create an account and start an application. You can always return to the application if you can't finish it right away or update it with new information if your status changes. You may also download and print an application to turn into a local county assistance office. You can find the form to download here, and you can see a list of county offices here. If you need help, you can ask a case worker or contact a case worker at a local office by phone to answer all of your questions.
Receiving Food Stamps
One of the biggest factors in determining your aid is your income. If you are working, you must be making low wages or only working part-time. If you make more than $2,000 a month with four people in your household, you will likely not qualify for food stamps. However, all cases are considered individually, and you receive an interview where you can prove financial hardship. You also need to prove a few other things, such as your identification, assets, household members citizenship status and employment, if employed. If unemployed, you must show that you are registered with an unemployment agency. There are maximum benefits that you can receive from food stamps. The largest amount is $1502 for a household of 10. Once you are approved, you will receive an EBT card with funds that are deposited each month for the purchase of food. With these funds, you can visit any grocery store or super market, and use the card like a debit card to purchase approved food items. Some items that are not on the list include tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, hot meals or items that are prepared for immediate consumption, and personal care products.
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. For questions about the food stamp program or to inquire about other forms, you can contact the Public Welfare helpline at 1-800-692-7462.