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Changes and updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Latest news

Increase in gross income limit for SNAP eligibility

Effective Sept. 1, 2022, the Minnesota gross income limit for SNAP eligibility will increase to 200% of the federal poverty line. This increase will expand SNAP eligibility to families who may have previously been ineligible for having too much income. 

SNAP benefits must be renewed

All SNAP recipients must renew their SNAP benefits at least annually. Renewal months vary; be sure to open any mail you receive from your county or tribe, and update your county or tribe if your address changes. If you receive a renewal form in the mail, you must complete and submit it, or you may lose your benefits.

More college students eligible

State and federal changes allow more college students to be eligible for SNAP benefits. Students with a $0 Expected Family Contribution, students who are eligible for work study, and students participating in two-year career and technical education may now be eligible if they meet income requirements.

 

Statement on Public Charge

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released the following information:

"Applying for or receiving SNAP does not make you a public charge and will not be considered in a public charge determination. Applying for or receiving SNAP will not affect your ability to:

  • Remain in the United States 
  • Get a Green Card/Permanent Legal Resident Status
  • Keep a Green Card/Permanent Legal Resident Status 
  • Become a U.S. Citizen 

You can also apply for SNAP on behalf of the eligible immigrants or U.S. citizens in your family, even if you do not want to apply for benefits for yourself, without affecting your or their immigration status. For example, if a parent is not eligible for SNAP because of their immigration status, they can still apply for their eligible children. The SNAP office is not allowed to ask for immigration documents for people who are not applying to receive benefits themselves."

If you have questions about how this rule could affect immigration status or benefits, you can contact a Minnesota Legal Aid office at 1-800-292-4150 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday (www.lawhelpmn.org) or an immigration attorney.

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Getting food assistance

How do I apply?

You can apply for SNAP food benefits at your county or tribal human services office; find contact information in this list of county and tribal human service offices and their phone numbers. Most county and tribal human services offices are currently limiting public visits, but they will help you apply over the phone by calling during business hours. You can also apply for SNAP benefits online at MNbenefits.org.

Where can I get help filling out the ApplyMN application or the Combined Application Form?

Local outreach providers can provide support and assistance including filling out the online application for you over the phone. They can help you understand the questions and ensure that you have all the documents you will need. They can also help you complete your SNAP renewal form. With your permission, they can even sign the application on your behalf. Visit mnfoodhelper.org to get started with a SNAP specialist or view this list of local outreach providers.

I have SNAP benefits but I’m still struggling to feed my family. How do I get additional food resources?

If you need additional assistance accessing food, please contact the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 888-711-1151 or hungersolutions.org. They can help you find a local food shelf and identify any additional programs for which you might qualify.

I am a college student, can I qualify for SNAP?

Yes, it is possible to qualify for SNAP as a college student. In order to qualify, students must meet all SNAP eligibility criteria and qualify for a student exemption. Some of the most common reasons an applicant might qualify for an exemption include being:

  • over age 50
  • physically or mentally unable to work
  • employed at least 20 hours each week
  • responsible for care of a child under 12
  • $0 expected family contribution on financial aid award letter (temporary)
  • eligible for a work study program
  • participating in a career and technical education program of two years or less.

If you are a college student in need of food support, please complete an application through MNBenefits.org or get assistance with an application at mnfoodhelper.org.

I lost my benefits because I didn’t meet the work requirement. Can I reapply?

Yes. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act removed the work requirement for SNAP recipients. This means that individuals who lost their benefits due to the work requirements can now reapply.

My monthly E-SNAP benefit hasn’t been loaded to my card yet. What happened?

Emergency SNAP (E-SNAP) benefits are issued based on eligibility for the month prior. Unlike regular SNAP benefits, E-SNAP benefits will not always be issued on the same day of the month, but benefits will always arrive before the last day of the month following the approved month. Minnesota has been approved to issue E-SNAP benefits for October. October benefits will be issued by November 31, 2022. Check your card balance regularly using EBT Edge by calling 888-997-2227 or visit ebtEDGE.com.

Using an EBT card

If I can’t go to the grocery store right now, how do I use my SNAP benefits?

Find a trusted adult who can shop for you and deliver your groceries. Call your county or tribal nation worker to have them added as an authorized representative on your case. Learn more about adding an authorized representative

You can give your EBT card to a trusted adult without adding them as an authorized representative, but it is not recommended unless it's an emergency. Giving your EBT card to anyone outside of your household increases the risk of fraud. Benefits accessed from your EBT card using your PIN cannot be replaced, even if the card was used without your permission. Learn more about your EBT card and how to help protect your benefits against fraud.

Can I buy groceries online and have them delivered? 

Yes. Individuals may use their SNAP food benefits to purchase groceries through approved retailers. Currently, only Aldi, Amazon, Hugo’s Family Marketplace and Walmart are approved to accept EBT food benefits online. Groceries can be ordered for pick-up or delivery, but any delivery fees cannot be paid with EBT food or cash benefits. For more information about purchasing groceries online using your SNAP benefits, visit the online EBT frequently asked questions page.

I have a Minnesota EBT card or a P-EBT card. Where can I use it? 

Most grocery stores accept EBT benefits. Your card can be used just like a debit card. You can get instructions on setting up and using your card by viewing the "How to Use Your Minnesota EBT Card" brochure. You can find out if your local retailer accepts EBT by using the SNAP Retailer Locator.

Do I need an ID to use my EBT or P-EBT card?

No. Minnesota EBT and P-EBT cards are secured through a PIN. EBT vendors should not require ID to use your EBT card. If you are required to provide ID to use your EBT card, please contact the USDA at SNAPRetailerComplaints@usda.gov to report the incident.

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Situations that may affect benefit amounts, eligibility

I saw that there was going to be a large SNAP increase in October due to the re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan. How will that affect how much SNAP I get?

It depends. Most SNAP recipients will see a modest increase in their SNAP benefit amount beginning in October. 

In August, the USDA announced a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food plan, which increases benefits nationwide by approximately 27% beginning in October. At the same time the temporary pandemic 15% increase in food benefits ends. As a result, most families will see an overall increase in benefits but it will be much less than 27%—likely $12-$16 per person per month.

In the past I had to participate in work or training to receive SNAP. Do I need to do that now?

No. Currently Minnesota has a statewide waiver of the work requirements. Minnesotans who previously lost their benefits because they did not meet this requirement may now qualify again. However, you may benefit from employment training support, which is available for free to SNAP recipients. To find a local provider, please visit the SNAP Employment and Training website.

In the past I had slightly too much income to qualify for SNAP. Has anything changed?

Possibly. Beginning September 1, 2022, the SNAP gross income limit increased to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The new income limits are in the chart below.

Household size Income limit
1 $2,265
2 $3,052
3 $3,838
4 $4,625
5 $5,412
6 $6,198
7 $6,985
8 $7,772

SNAP renewals

Can I complete my renewal over the phone? 

You can complete your renewal form over the phone with either the county or tribe or with a SNAP Outreach provider. Counties, tribes and SNAP Outreach providers can sign your renewal verbally. You can find contact information for counties and tribes in this list of county and tribal human service offices and their phone numbers or find contact information for SNAP Outreach providers using this list of local outreach providers.

Do I need to complete an interview?

An interview is not needed for families receiving SNAP only. Families receiving both SNAP and MFIP may need to complete an interview depending on their circumstances. Even if an interview is not required, county or tribal workers may need further information or clarification from you. Please respond promptly if your county or tribe reaches out for further information.

What verifications are needed?

Most families will need to verify all recent income and major expenses such as rent and medical expenses. In addition, people making child support payments will need to provide proof of the most recent payments made. Depending on circumstances, your worker may request additional months of verification. If you are not able to get verification of income or expenses before your form is due, please submit the completed form on time. Your county or tribe will follow-up to collect verifications once your form has been processed. 

Typically only one verification is needed for each form of income or major expense. Examples of common types of verification include:

If you have questions about which verifications should be submitted, please contact your county or tribe using this list of county and tribal human service offices and their phone numbers or SNAP Outreach providers using this this list of local outreach providers.

What can I do to help my renewal go smoothly?

The best way you can prevent an interruption in your benefits is to fill out the renewal form completely, include income and expense verifications with the form, and submit the form before the due date you were given. Specific tips are listed below.

  • Respond promptly if you receive a form.
  • Answer every question on the form. If a question does not apply to your situation, write “N/A.”
  • Sign your form.
  • Respond promptly to your county or tribe if they reach out with questions.
  • Work with your county or tribe to provide any needed verifications.

Since renewals are restarting in May, most Minnesota SNAP households have not received a renewal form yet. If you have not yet received a renewal form, be sure to keep your contact information updated with your county or tribe and be sure to open any mail you receive from your county or tribe. Failure to complete the renewal process will result in loss of SNAP benefits.

I lost the form, what should I do?

A copy of the recertification form is online. If you did not receive a form but you received a notice that your case is closing because you did not renew or recertify, call your county, tribe or SNAP outreach organization and complete the form over the phone. To prevent a loss in benefits, you must complete the form over the phone as soon as possible if you received a closure notice. You can contact your county or tribe using this list of county and tribal human service offices and their phone numbers or contact a SNAP Outreach provider using this list of local outreach providers.

Please note, SNAP households will be randomly assigned a renewal month over the next 12 months. If you did not receive a form, it is possible that your renewal is not due yet.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the renewal form or am having trouble providing verification?

Counties and tribes that administer SNAP must assist you in completing your form and providing verifications if needed. You can contact your county or tribe using this list of county and tribal human service offices and their phone numbers. You can also get assistance with the form or verifications by contacting a SNAP Outreach provider using this list of local outreach providers.

Do I have to do a renewal? Why do I have to do a renewal?

Renewals are part of normal SNAP operations. During the pandemic, these renewals were suspended. As we transition to pandemic recovery, renewals must now restart. Renewals help the state to ensure that you are receiving the correct benefit amounts. These renewals are a federal requirement and failure to complete a renewal will result in your SNAP case being closed.

If you received a form, you need to do a renewal. If you received a notice that your benefits are ending due to failure to recertify, you need to do a renewal. Please ensure that your county or tribe has your current contact information. If they are unable to reach you, you may lose your SNAP benefits. 

Renewals have been scheduled over the next 12 months and SNAP households have been assigned a renewal month over the coming year. This means that your renewal month may not be the same as other SNAP households. If you were receiving SNAP before the pandemic, your renewal may not be the same month that it was before the pandemic. The best way to ensure that your renewal is completed on time is to keep your county or tribe updated with changes to your mailing address and to open any mail you receive from your county or tribe.

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Other benefits related to SNAP

When I signed up for SNAP, I also received other benefits (MFIP, child care assistance, etc.). Has anything changed in these programs?

Many state and federal program rules temporarily changed in response to COVID-19. Since the end of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency, these programs are now returning to normal operations and rules have changed.

I am receiving SNAP and recently lost my job or had my hours reduced, how can SNAP help me increase my income?

If you are eligible for SNAP, you may be able to participate in a SNAP Employment and Training program. These programs can help you be more successful in your job search or can train you for a new career. Most programs can support you with additional resources, and you can typically enroll and participate in these programs from your own home. For a list of providers near you, visit the SNAP E&T Provider Search or contact your local county or tribal human services using this list of county and tribal human service offices and their phone numbers (PDF).

I am having trouble stretching my SNAP dollars to meet my food needs. How can SNAP help?

If you are eligible for SNAP, you may be able to participate in a SNAP Education class. These programs are offered by the University of Minnesota Extension system and many tribal governments. They can help you learn to prepare and use healthy foods in new ways, identify strategies for stretching your food dollars further, and learn more about how what you eat can affect your health. Many providers are offering classes virtually. A list of available providers can be found on the University of Minnesota Extension website.

I am on SNAP; am I eligible for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) too?

No, American Indians can only be on either the SNAP or the FDPIR program, but not on both in the same month. 

I received a P-EBT card in the mail. What is it? Can I use it?

Yes. P-EBT is a temporary food benefit available to Minnesota families with children approved for free or reduced-price school meals when school operations are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These benefits can be used along with your SNAP benefits and do not impact your SNAP or MFIP benefit amounts. For more information, please visit the P-EBT webpage.

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