How to Transfer Food Stamps From One State to Another

by Grant D. McKenzie ; Updated April 16, 2018
SNAP helps families extend their food budget.

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

Wait for your new food stamp benefits to be issued. Federal guidelines require that benefits be issued no more than 30 days after the application is received. Some states may have different guidelines, so ask your technician for your state's policy.

You can use the food stamp benefits issued before you moved in another state. Keep your EBT card until you deplete the existing benefits or they expire.

Some states require advance notice of 10 days to one month to close a case. Check with your local office for guidelines. Failure to report moving out of state may require repayment of SNAP benefits, including seizure of income tax returns.

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