How to Apply for Food Stamps & Cash Assistance

How to Apply for Food Stamps & Cash Assistance
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Food stamps and cash assistance are two programs that are available for low-income families in need. Both federally-funded programs are administered through your state's welfare office. In order to qualify for assistance, you must meet income requirements. Your monthly income cannot exceed the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Collect your proof of income and other personal documents. These documents will be used to determine if you qualify for food stamps and cash assistance. Your last four paycheck stubs or the previous year's tax return may be used in most states to prove your income. Personal documents you need include your birth certificate or picture identification, Social Security card and proof of residency such as a lease.

Visit your local welfare office. If you need assistance locating the local office, contact your state's SNAP information line. The numbers are listed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website. Be sure to take your proof of income and personal documents with you. Depending on your state, you may be able to attend an eligibility interview with a caseworker when you arrive at the office.

Request an application for food stamps and cash assistance. Most states use the same application for their welfare programs, including medical assistance. Complete the application and submit it to the representative in the office. If a caseworker is available, you may be able to interview after submitting the application. If not, a letter will be mailed to you with an interview time and date.

Attend the eligibility interview. Take all of your documentation supporting the information you provided on your application. If additional information or documents were requested, also bring those to the interview.

Wait for a determination letter regarding your application for assistance. If you are approved, the letter should outline when benefits will be available. If you were denied, the steps to appeal the welfare department's decision will be outlined in the letter.


  • Most states require applicants to provide information regarding each member of your household. Failure to do so may result in a delay in processing your application or a denial.

    Many states now offer online submission of applications for assistance. The online application can be found on your state's welfare website.