How to Discontinue Food Stamps When You're Out of the Country

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) gives low-income people monthly funds to help pay for food. Commonly known as food stamps, SNAP benefits allow people to buy groceries, baby formula and edible plants and seeds with a debt-type card called an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Leftover funds rollover each month but if you leave the country and do not use the benefits for one year, the program will discontinue payments automatically. You may also notify your state SNAP administration of your desire to discontinue benefits while you are out of the country by completing a Change Report Form.

Ask for a copy of your state's Change Report Form by calling or visiting the Department of Human or Social Services in your area.

Complete the form with your updated information. Include the date you are leaving the country you intend to visit, and the date on which you want to discontinue the food stamp benefits. Include your contact information in case the administrators have questions. Consult a food stamp program representative by phone or at the program office if you need help filling out the form.

Mail the form to your local social service office at least 30 days before you leave to ensure the program administrators have time to process your request.

Warnings

  • You will have to go through the entire application process to restart food stamp benefits once you return to the U.S.

About the Author

Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.