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Overview of Arizona’s Food Assistance Programs

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

 

Formally known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food benefits, access to a healthy diet, and education on food preparation and nutrition to low-income households. Recipients spend their benefits (provided on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card) to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores.

Eligibility

  • You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or
  • You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 who share your household with one of the following:
    • a person or persons age 60 and over or
    • a person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself)
  • Have a total household income that does not exceed 130% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Able-bodied adults without dependents are only eligible for a few months of Nutrition Assistance unless they are exempt, working, or participating in the SNA E&T program.
  • Screen for eligibility 
  • If you do not qualify for Nutrition Assistance benefits, or need help with food during the application process, please contact The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Persons receiving Nutrition Assistance automatically qualify for TEFAP.

 

Submitting Your Application

  • Submit an application online through Health e-Arizona Plus
  • Download the Application for Benefits with KidsCare Application Addendum
  • Call (855) 432-7587 to request a paper application to be mailed to you. After receiving and completing the application, turn it in by mail or fax
  • Go to find an assistor and enter your ZIP Code to locate community assistors near you for help with the application process. Contact the community assistor’s office by telephone. In-person services may be unavailable or limited in manners that support social distancing.

 

Information Needed for Eligibility

  • Proof of citizenship and identity for everyone who is applying for benefits.
  • Alien Registration Cards, if there are non-U.S. citizens applying for benefits in your household.
  • Social Security numbers for everyone, or proof that a Social Security number has been applied for.
  • Proof of relationship, birth certificates may be used
  • Name, address, and daytime phone number of landlord or neighbor.
  • A statement verifying your address and the names of everyone living with you. The statement must be made by a non-relative who doesn’t live with you. It must be signed, dated, and include that person’s address and telephone number.
  • Proof of ALL money your household received from any source last month and this month.
  • Proof that your employment ended and last date paid.
  • Bank or credit union (savings or checking) complete statement for the most recent month.
  • Proof of savings bonds, securities, retirement plans, and life insurance.
  • Proof of rent/mortgage and utility bills (electric, water, gas, etc.) for the most recent month.
  • Proof of child care expenses for the most recent month.
  • Proof of all medical expenses for those applying for benefits who are age 60 or older or receive disability benefits.

 

After the Application

  • You may need to complete an eligibility interview by phone. We strongly recommend that you have income information, ID, Social Security numbers, and Citizenship verification at the interview. During your interview, we will review your information in order to see if you qualify for the program.
  • At the end of your interview, we will let you know if we need any additional information to decide your case. We will also send you a letter asking for this information.

 

After I am Approved

  • You are required to report any changes that may affect your Nutrition Assistance eligibility. Your approval letter will identify whether you qualify for Standard or Simplified reporting.
  • Nutrition Assistance requires a renewal to determine if there have been any changes to your current status. Renewal dates can range from three months to two years from the initial application date. You will be mailed a letter informing you that it is time to renew your benefits. It is important to report a change in your mailing address to ensure you receive notification regarding your renewal.
  • If approved for Nutrition Assistance benefits you may be required to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Employment & Training Program (SNA E&T). If you are required to participate in the SNA E&T program, you will be sent a letter with additional information.

 

Common Questions

  • Can I get SNAP if I’m unemployed?
    • Yes, as long as you aren’t leaving a job or reducing your hours specifically so that you’ll qualify. 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
  • Can I get SNAP if I have a drug felony conviction?
    • Yes, you won’t be disqualified if you have a drug felony. You might have to join a treatment program or take drug tests
  • Can I get SNAP if I’m not a citizen?
    • Non-citizens who have qualified alien immigration status are eligible for food stamps
  • Can I get SNAP if I’m homeless?
    • Yes, you do not need a mailing address or housing to apply for food stamps. If you are currently living in a shelter that gives you free meals, you can still apply for food stamps
  • Can I get SNAP if I’m pregnant or a new parent?
    • Yes, a child means household size increased and thus more benefits. While you are pregnant, you cannot get more SNAP benefits, but you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children benefits
  • How do I receive SNAP benefits?
    • After the eligibility interview, you will be mailed a QUEST Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card issued by Fidelity National Information Services (FIS).  The card generally arrives before the eligibility notice.  The EBT card works just like an ATM/debit card and can be used at most local grocery stores and stores where QUEST is accepted.
    • Please note that you may receive the EBT card even if you are not eligible.  Keep the card in a safe place because the card is active, does not expire, and can be used if you are eligible at a later date. The first replacement card in a calendar year is free.  You are charged $5 for each additional replacement card.  When you and your EBT alternate card holder requests more than 2 cards within a 12-month period, you will need to answer questions before receiving a replacement card.  Also, a fraud investigation may be initiated.
  • When are my benefits put on my card every month?
    • After your initial month, Nutrition Assistance benefits will be available on your EBT card according to the following schedule:
      • Last name A – B: 1st day of month
      • Last name C – D: 2nd day of month
      • Last name E – F: 3rd day of month
      • Last name G – H: 4th day of month
      • Last name I – J: 5th day of month
      • Last name K – L: 6th day of month
      • Last name M – N: 7th day of month
      • Last name O – P: 8th day of month
      • Last name Q – R: 9th day of month
      • Last name S – T: 10th day of month
      • Last name U – V: 11th day of month
      • Last name W – X: 12th day of month
      • Last name Y – Z: 13th day of month
  • What can I buy with SNAP benefits?
    • Nutrition Assistance benefits cannot be used to pay for credit or charge accounts.
    • Some items that can be bought with Nutrition Assistance Benefits include:
      • Breads and cereals.
      • Food products for human consumption. Meats, fish, poultry, and dairy products.
      • Food products for human consumption.
      • Vegetable seeds, food-producing plants, roots and trees.
      • Infant formula; diabetic foods.
      • Meals prepared for and delivered or served to elderly or disabled Nutrition Assistance participants, when the organization is authorized to accept Nutrition Assistance Benefits.
      • In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.  (This program is referred to as the Restaurant Meals Program.  Some restaurants include: Subway, Golden Corral, Jack in the Box, and Dominos Pizza.  Not all participate, check for the EBT sign or ask a manager at the restaurant)
    • Some items that Nutrition Assistance benefits cannot be used to buy:
      • Beer, wine, liquor (alcoholic beverages).
      • Cigarettes or tobacco.
      • Non-food items such as soap, paper products, cleaning supplies and cooking utensils.
      • Items used for gardening such as fertilizer, peat moss and similar products.
      • Items that are not to be eaten by people such as laundry starch, pet foods, or seeds packaged as bird seed.
      • Vitamins and minerals, in any form.
      • All health aids, such as aspirin, cough drops or syrups, cold remedies, antacids and all prescription medicines.
      • Hot foods and prepared meals (except when the person is part of the Restaurant Meals Program).
  • Where can I use my SNAP benefits?
    • The Nutrition Assistance EBT card can be used at any vendor that accepts EBT.  Locations may include grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmers markets. The cost of items that are allowed to be purchased using Nutrition Assistance are deducted from Nutrition Assistance benefits during purchase.  Items that are not allowed must be paid for separately. Some restaurants that participate in the Restaurant Meals Program also accept EBT for certain people that are allowed to purchase prepared meals.
    • DES coordinated with Walmart and Amazon to enable online SNAP purchases. In addition, Arizona is actively working to expand the number of stores that accept EBT online in the future. 
    • You are allowed to use your EBT card outside of Arizona.  A notice will be sent requiring you to answer questions about your EBT usage when 10% or more of your benefit amount is used outside of Arizona during a six month period.
    • You can find SNAP retailers by using the free and secure mobile app, ebtEDGE, available in the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android).
  • When do changes need to be reported?
    • You must report the change by the 10th calendar day of the month following the month the change occurred.
  • What changes need to be reported?
    • Address change
    • Changes in household members
    • Childcare
    • Housing expense
    • Income
      • You must report the changes in your monthly income when the change is more than $100 per month (all income types)
    • Resources
    • Medical expenses
      • Only required for disabled or elderly member

Double Up Food Bucks

Spend $1 on SNAP eligible food items with your SNAP Quest/Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and get $1 to spend on Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables with Double Up Food Bucks, up to $20 per day

How to Apply 

  • There is no application process for Double Up Food Bucks. To participate, you can attend a farmer’s market or go to participating grocery and corner stores. For farmer’s markets, you can head to the information booth to acquire additional information. At participating grocery and corner stores, all you need to do is bring your SNAP Quest/EBT card and let the staff member know you would like to Double Up today.

Restaurant Meals Program

Allows certain participants to use their EBT QUEST card to purchase prepared meals from participating restaurants. This may also include the deli section of a participating grocery store.  This program is available to an NA household if every person in the household meets one or more of the following conditions:

    • Disabled – the person is receiving Social Security benefits; Railroad Retirement benefits Annuities; or other disability payments.
    • Elderly – the person is 60 years of age or older.
    • Homeless – the person does not have a fixed or regular nighttime residence.

Arizona Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Provides nutrition education and breastfeeding support services, supplemental nutritious foods and referrals to health and social services

Benefits (provided on an electronic card and used like a credit card) to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores

Eligibility 

  • Pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants and children under the age of five who are at nutritional risk
  • Annual household income at or below 185% of Federal Poverty Level
    • A pregnant woman is considered two family members.

How to Apply

Locations

WIC Farmers Markets Nutrition Program (FMNP)

  • Vouchers – Once a year, qualifying participants may receive one booklet containing up to six (6) FMNP vouchers that may be used during the “Dates of Use” printed on the voucher. Each voucher has a program value of $5.00, for up to $30.00 in FMNP vouchers. 
  • The number of FMNP vouchers issuance may vary each year according to available funding. FMNP vouchers are normally distributed to qualifying participants at authorized distributors February 1st. However, the voucher distribution time frame may change depending on product season.

Eligibility 

  • To participate in WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), a person must be a current WIC participant or on the waiting list to receive benefits from WIC

How to Apply

  • Contact Pinnacle Prevention
    • (480) 307-6360

Senior Farmers’ Markets Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

  • Vouchers – Once a year, qualifying seniors may receive one booklet containing up to six (6) SFMNP vouchers that may be used during the “Dates of Use” printed on the voucher. Each voucher has a program value of $5.00, for up to $30.00 in SFMNP vouchers.
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box – If available, qualifying seniors have the option to receive up to three Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes in lieu of SFMNP vouchers. Each CSA box is valued at $10 each of locally grown fruits and vegetables. SFMNP voucher can be used only at Authorized Market(s).

Eligibility

How to Apply

  • Contact Pinnacle Prevention
    • (480) 307-6360

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Provides both emergency food packages and congregate feeding sites (soup kitchens)

  • Emergency Food Packages – Participants can receive a TEFAP package for their household at least once a month by visiting their local Distribution Site (Food Pantry). The food inside these packages are shelf-stable which means they don’t require refrigeration. Items may include canned or dried fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans), bottled juices, and nuts. 

Food packages are often supplemented with fresh produce, grains, pasta, bread, and meat-based protein.

  • Soup Kitchens – A congregate meal that includes TEFAP foods is a nutritious, hot meal provided at least once a day to an eligible participant at a nutrition site, senior center or other group setting. Congregate sites may also offer a variety of health-related services such as transportation, health screening, social service referrals, legal assistance, physical and social activities, and volunteer opportunities.

Eligibility

  • Emergency Food Packages 
  • Soup Kitchen Meals
    •  No formal eligibility, only need to arrive and state that you are in need

How to Apply

  • Applications are usually completed at the Distribution site by speaking to a worker who puts a participant’s information into a computer. The information is recorded as a requirement of the program and kept confidential.
  • Documents to Bring
    • Photo ID
    • If photo ID does not reflect current address, a document (utility bill, lease agreement, etc.) showing current address
    • If experiencing homelessness, be sure to know the cross-streets or location where you stay at night.
  • Application Process
    • Provide information including your name, address, phone number, date of birth and household size (number of people living in your home with you).
    • Will be asked to confirm that you meet the current income eligibility, you will not sell, trade, barter or exchange TEFAP food for service, and that you live in the geographic area served by the site.

Locations

Commodity Senior Food Program (CSFP)

Provides food packages to low-income persons who are at least 60 years old

Eligibility

 

How to Apply

  • Applications are usually completed at the Distribution Site by speaking to a worker who puts a participant’s information into a computer. The information is recorded as a requirement of the program and kept confidential.
  • Documents to bring
    • Photo ID
    • If photo ID does not reflect current address, a document (utility bill, lease agreement, etc.) showing current address
    • If homebound, call local Distribution Site for directions on alternative ways to apply for the program, and to inquire if home-delivery is offered
  • Application Process
    • Provide information including your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and household size (number of people living in your home with you).
    • Will also be asked to confirm that you meet the current income eligibility, you will not sell, trade, barter or exchange CSFP food for services, and that you live in the geographic area served by the site. 
    • *Participation is limited, may be put on a wait list

Locations

Congregate and Home Delivered Meals

A congregate meal is a nutritious hot meal provided at least once a day to an eligible participant at a nutrition site, senior center or other group setting. Congregate meal programs provide older adults with positive social contacts with other seniors at the meal sites. Congregate sites may also offer a variety of health-related services such as transportation, health screening, social service referrals, legal assistance, physical and social activities and volunteer opportunities.

The home-delivered meal program provides a nutritious meal to an eligible individual at their residence. Volunteers and paid staff deliver these meals and spend additional time with the individuals, helping to decrease their feelings of isolation. They also check on the individual’s welfare and report any health or other problems noted during their visits.

Appendixes

Appendix A – 130% of Federal Poverty Level

Number of People in Household Annual Income
1 $16,588
2 $22,412
3 $28,236
4 $34,060
5 $39,884
6 $45,708
7 $51,532
8 $57,356
More than 8 For each additional person add $5,824

 

Appendix B – 185% of Federal Poverty Level

Number of People in Household Annual Income
1 $23,606
2 $31,894
3 $40,182
4 $48,470
5 $56,758
6 $65,046
7 $73,334
8 $81,622
More than 8 For each additional person add $8,288 

 

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