The USDA Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, supplies benefits for needy people to purchase food. Most people call SNAP "food stamps" because clients originally received benefits in the form of a sheet of coupons, or "stamps." Since June 17, 2009, Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, abbreviated EBT cards, have replaced paper stamps. Food Stamps help supplement the food budget of an individual or family. Although the USDA oversees SNAP, each state is responsible for administering the program and most states delegate the responsibility to county governments.
Preparing for a Move
If you're moving from one state to another, you'll likely want to transfer your EBT card to the new state. Since each jurisdiction has its own regulations and signup requirements, you'll need to close the case in your current state and reopen a new case once you've arrived at your new location.
To close your case in your departing state, contact your local SNAP office and inform them you are leaving the state and would like to close your case. Request a letter verifying the closure of your case, which will make it easier to open a case in a new state.
Applying for New Benefits
Apply for food stamp benefits when you move to the new state by filling out the state application. Some states allow clients to apply online, otherwise you must contact the SNAP office for a paper application. Provide the SNAP office with the letter stating that you are no longer receiving benefits from another state with the application.
Complete the SNAP interview at the local office in your new state, providing verification of identity (driver's license, etc.), income (pay stub, employer statement, etc.), residency (utility bill, lease, etc.), resources (bank statements, vehicle registration, etc.) and any other information requested.
Receive New Benefits
After you complete your SNAP interview and get approved for Food Stamps in your new state, you can expect to receive a letter in the mail that includes your new EBT card and information about your approval period. Before you can use the card, you will first need to activate it according to your state SNAP office's instructions. This process normally involves calling a toll-free number to verify your full card number and then setting up a PIN code that you will use during the checkout process at stores. You can then begin using the activated card to shop for allowed items at stores that accept SNAP benefits.
Like before you moved, you can expect to receive a letter about recertifying your benefits before your initial certification period ends. The recertification process will require showing documentation expressing financial need, similar to when you first applied.
- USDA: Frequently Asked Questions
- USDA: Facts About SNAP
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- USA.gov. "Food Assistance." Accessed June 25, 2020.