42 million people who currently receive money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) to purchase healthy food. SNAP benefits, also commonly called food stamps, act as a safety net for low-income households during financial crises.
What are food stamps?
SNAP is a federal benefit designed to help low-income Americans supplement their grocery budgets and purchase healthy food.
Families can use food stamps to buy certain foods for the household, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, breads and cereals.
The SNAP Program provides a monthly payment via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (like ATM cards, they are called EBT cards).
Food Stamp vs. Food Pantry
Food stamps are an money allowance given to low income family to buy any food they want.
Food Pantry usually are run by churches or other organizations. It usually is canned or boxed food, you don't get to select what food.
How Much Could I Receive With Food Stamps?
Payments are calculated by multiplying a household's net monthly income by 0.3 and subtracting the result from the maximum monthly allotment for that household's size.
Currently, a four-person family has a maximum monthly allotment of $782.
During Pandemic, SNAP allotments were temporarily increased 15%. Pandemic EBT was created to provide benefits to families whose children would have received free or reduced-price meals.
To provide for the protection, well-being, and self-sufficiency of children and adults in Pennsylvania.
Who is eligible for Food Stamp Program in Pennsylvania?
To be eligible for this SNAP benefit program, you must be a resident in Pennsylvania and meet one of the following requirements:
- 1. You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or.
- 2. You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 and share your household with one of the following:
- A person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself).
- A person or persons age 60 and over or
Food Stamps Income Limit For 2023
To be eligible for food stamps in Pennsylvania, your household must meet net and gross income limits based on a household's size.
Income limits may vary by state, please check the US Government Benefits website about your state's eligibility requirements.
|Persons in Family/Household||Gross Monthly Income||Net Monthly Income|
Basic Document Requirement for food stamps application:
To be eligible for Food Stamp in Pennsylvania you must:
- 1. Provide social security numbers.
- 2. Provide proof of Citizenship and/or Alien Status.
- 3. Provide proof of residence.
- 4. Provide proof of income, and expenses.
- 5. Provide names for all individuals living in household.
- 6. Provide additional information as required
Work eligibility to apply for food stamps
All the adult applicants for the program should agree to take part in employment training programs and work. However, applicants exempted from work due to mental/physical disability or age will not have to meet this requirement.
The EBT Food Stamp Program in Pennsylvania will require qualified applicants to enroll in Employment First Program.
This employment program provides opportunity to families to become self-sufficient through workfare, education, and job research classes. The program will also include part-time work for enrollees.
How do I apply for Food Stamp in Pennsylvania?
Every state has a food stamp application process. There are two way to apply for a food stamps in Pennsylvania.
- 1. Apply in Person at your county office or Fill out paper application form and mail to your county office.
- 2. Apply food stamp application form online on your state website.
Once your application is submitted, your food stamp office will send you a notice regarding your eligibility. Benefits begin based on the date the application was submitted.
All 50 states offer SNAP benefits, many refer to their individual state programs by different names, like Food Stamps in Idaho and CalFresh in California.
Each state also issues its own unique EBT cards as part of its benefits program. These may also have unique names, such as the Arizona Quest Card or Lone Star Card in Texas.
EBT cards are generally refilled every month and can be used to purchase the following items:
Grocery Stores that Accept EBT
The USDA has a program that approves stores to accept food stamps or SNAP benefits.
These stores are required to offer certain kinds of foods to be eligible to participate in the program. This includes grocery stores that meet their requirements.
Most supermarkets, pharmacies and corner stores in the United States accept EBT Cards. Here is a list of some of the major grocery chains in the United States that accept EBT, listed by the states they operate in.
It is a good practice to also checkout first to confirm, so you don’t waste your gas and time going to the store only to find out they do not.
Please checkout each store below to see what you can and can't buy with your SNAP benefits using EBT Card
Emergency Food Stamps
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service offers an emergency food stamp program for families or individuals that are facing a crisis. The goal of this service is to expedite the Food Stamp application process for those households that have no other options available to them. If approved, they may be able to receive their EBT cards same day.
The SNAP application for food benefits can be approved in as few as 7 business days.
How to find Lost EBT Card Number?
You cant get your lost food stamp card number online. Log into your EBT account for your respective state to renew food stamp card, you usually don’t have access to your full EBT card number. However, you can view your case number.
Just having a card number will allow you to buy online from Amazon, Walmart and others. You still need a physical copy of your card in order to make in-store purchases.
If you want an online access to your EBT card number because your physical card was lost or stolen, there is a way to find that.
Call your state food stamp customer service number as soon as possible. You can request a new card because its lost or stolen. Your card will be disabled and you should be able to get a new card.
How Long It will take to Get a New EBT Card
You can receive a same-day replacement EBT card in many states if you go to Food Stamp Office in your county in person. If you make a replacement request over the food stamp phone number, then it should take between 7 and 10 business days to receive a card.
Check Food Stamp Balance
If you wish to check what is your remaining EBT Card Balance in Pennsylvania for any given month, There many ways to do that.
- 1. You can check at the bottom of the receipt you get from the store, it will tell your food stamp balance.
- 2. Sign up for food stamps account if you dont have one already. You can look at your EBT balance online. Food stamp login will require your username and password.
- 3. Call your food stamp 1800 customer service number to check your EBT balance.
Food Stamp Benefit Chart 2023
SNAP expects families receiving benefits to spend 30 percent of their net income on food. Families with no net income receive the maximum benefit.
For households with net income, the monthly SNAP benefit equals the maximum benefit for that household size minus the household’s expected contribution of 30 percent of its net income.
The maximum SNAP benefit chart 2023 for households of different sizes and estimated average benefits
|Household Size||Maximum Monthly Benefit||Estimated Average Monthly Benefit|
|Each Additional Person||$188|
Food Stamps Eligibility Calculator in Pennsylvania
Here is example of Food Stamp Eligibility Calculator in Pennsylvania. Lets take an example family of
- Family size - 3.
- One full time job
- Minimum-wage worker
- Two children
- Dependent care costs of $78 a month
- Shelter costs of $993 per month
1 — Gross Income
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Full-time work at this level makes about $1,257 a month.
2 — Net Income for Shelter Deduction
- Subtract the standard deduction for a 3-person family ($177)
- Earnings deduction (20% X $1,257 = $251)
- The child care deduction ($78)
- Result is $1,257 - $177 - $251 - $78 = $751
3 — Shelter Deduction
Begin with the shelter costs of $993
- Subtract half of $751 is $376 = $617
- Because there is a shelter deduction cap of $597, the shelter deduction for this household is $597.
4 — Net Income
Subtract the shelter deduction ($597) from Income A ($751) = $154.
5 — Family’s Expected Contribution Toward Food
30% of the household’s net income ($154) is about $46.
6 — SNAP Benefit
The maximum benefit in 2023 for a family of three is $658
- The maximum benefit minus the household contribution ($658 - $46 = $612)
- Because there is a shelter deduction cap of $597, the shelter deduction for this household is $597.
The family’s monthly benefit is $612
Restaurants that accept EBT
If you’ve ever wondered if you can use your EBT benefits at fast food restaurants, the answer is yes… but only in certain circumstances
Most take-and-bake pizzerias accept EBT. They don’t actually count as "restaurants" because you have to take the food home to cook it!
The Restaurant Meals Program is part of the federal food stamps law, but it up to the states to decide whether or not to participate.
Here are some restaurant that accept EBT
- Burger King
- Taco Bell
- Pizza Hut
- Domino’s Pizza
- Jamba Juice
- Great Steaks
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What can you buy with food stamps?
You can use food stamps in Pennsylvania to buy groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food.
WIC food packages include eggs, milk, cereal, juice, tofu, fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, dried and canned beans, and whole-wheat bread. WIC packages also include cheese and canned fish for breastfeeding moms, and baby food for babies.
2. Are we getting extra food stamps this month?
Households that were eligible for a prorated allotment in March 2023 will receive a supplement for the prorated month.
Benefits will be distributed to recipient groups each workday until all eligible cases have been granted their supplements
3. How to increase your food stamp benefits?
For people aged 60 and older, or those with disabilities, there are special rules to apply for SNAP that look at NET income instead of gross income
SNAP food stamps in Pennsylvania isn’t the only food benefit. There are a few other programs that help pay for food
4. How long will the increase in food stamps last?
There have been several temporary and permanent increases to food stamps in the last few years.
The USDA will continue issuing emergency food stamps allotment waivers until the public health emergency declaration ends. At that time, states will have one additional month to issue extra disaster food stamps. After that, the increase in food stamps will end.
5. Can college students get food stamps?
Under regular SNAP benefits rules, only students who actually participate in State or Federally funded work study are eligible to receive SNAP benefits.
6. How long does food stamp investigation take?
Its hard to predict how long a food stamp investigation take. It can take a day, week, months, or years, depending on the offense and what the state has to investigate.
To prove the individual as a guilty, investigators need to catch the offender during the offense.
The investigators nor the store have any solid proof that the person broke the law, or bought non-eligible products in exchange for food stamps.
7. How can I check the status of my food stamp case?
You can check food stamp application status of your case online. If you may also contact the SNAP Retailer Service Center at 1-877-823-4369 to find out the status of your application.
8. What happens when your food stamp case is closed?
Your SNAP benefits do not expire at the end of each month. If your food stamp case in Pennsylvania is closed for any reason, you still have the right to use any remaining benefits in your EBT account before the case closed.
Whether your case is closed due to disqualification or for some other reason, you can appeal the decision.
9. Can I get food stamps while on unemployment?
Yes, You may be eligible for SNAP if your monthly income is less than a set amount based on your household size. You may be required to participate in an employment and training program if you aren't working or work fewer than 30 hours a week.
10. Can illegal immigrants get food stamps?
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for food stamps. Some illegal immigrants may qualify for food stamps if they are:
- American Indians who were born in Canada or another tribal country
- A victim of sex trafficking;
- Lawful temporary residents who previously applied for amnesty
11. Can you buy baby formula with food stamps?
Yes, you can use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Pennsylvania to buy baby food. Baby food includes formula, cereals, juices, baby food and any other eligible food item
12. Can you buy ice with food stamps?
Yes, you can use your SNAP benefits to buy crushed or cube ice.
13. Can you buy dog food with food stamps?
Unfortunately, No, you cannot buy dog food with food stamps in Pennsylvania. This is because pet food is considered to be a non-food item since it is not meant for human consumption
14. Can you buy alcohol with food stamps ?
You can't use food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods, or any non-food household items.