How to Apply for SNAP Benefits in Kentucky

Paying for food to feed your family can be challenging for many reasons, but the government’s SNAP program is here to help.

Short for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, it’s the largest federal nutrition assistance program and is available to residents of all 50 states, including Kentucky.

If you’re wondering how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of KY, we’ve got you covered, so read on to learn more.

What is SNAP?

SNAP is the United States federal government’s largest federal nutrition assistance program for low-income individuals and families. If your application for SNAP is successful, you’ll receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT card in the mail. 

The EBT card works just like a traditional debit card, and you can use it to buy eligible food items at specific authorized retail grocery stores and other locations. You must live in the state where you apply to be eligible for the program. In other words, if you apply for SNAP in Kentucky, you must be a resident there.

You also must meet specific bank balance limits. Those with elderly (ages 60 and older) living in the home may be allowed to have a higher bank balance limit. 

Before you apply for SNAP, it’s vital to know whether or not you qualify before you dive into the application process. You can visit the SNAP website to find out more about these benefits and the associated limits.

Basic SNAP Qualifications in Kentucky

While SNAP is a federal program, each state may have its own unique set of rules to qualify. Here are the basics you need to know about qualifying for SNAP in Kentucky:

  • You must be a United States citizen or a legal foreign resident who meets the requirements.
  • Members of your household between the ages of 18 and 59 must participate in work registration.
  • The household cannot have more than $2,250 in cash and assets.
  • Households with members aged 60 and older may have up to $3,500 in cash and assets.
  • Your household size will determine the amount of income you can receive to still be eligible for SNAP benefits.
  • All money from wages and any other type of payment is considered income.
  • Rent, utilities, child support, and child care costs may be eligible as a deduction from your household income.
  • Homes with senior citizens aged 60 and older may be able to deduct medical costs.

There may be some circumstances where you need SNAP benefits right away. In Kentucky, you can get these benefits immediately if your household rent or mortgage and utility expenses are higher than your gross monthly income.

You may also receive SNAP benefits right away if your household monthly gross income is lower than $150 and your total cash or bank account balance totals $100 or less. Finally, people who have destitute migrants or seasonal farmworkers in their household may also qualify to receive immediate help. 

Important Facts About SNAP Benefits in Kentucky

After you apply for SNAP benefits and get approved, you’ll receive a SNAP benefits account. Each month, funds will be deposited into this account, and you’ll receive an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card in the mail.

When you get your card, it will come with instructions about how to activate the card. You’ll also need to choose a Personal Identification Number or PIN to protect your account and to gain access to your food benefits and information.

As soon as you receive your EBT card, sign the back of immediately. You can use the card just like money, so you can purchase almost any food item available at most retailers.

There are certain things you cannot purchase with SNAP benefits. These items include tobacco or tobacco-based products, alcohol, pet food, soap, and other household products. You also cannot purchase medication and other non-food items with your EBT card.

Ready-to-eat hot foods are usually ineligible under SNAP. 

Most stores will post a sign on the front window indicating that they accept EBT. You may also find that many gas stations and convenience stores accept the card as a payment form.

Some states allow restaurants to accept EBT as payment. Check with Kentucky’s benefits office to find out more.

How to Apply for SNAP Benefits in the state of KY

There are two ways you can apply for SNAP benefits in Kentucky: calling the DCBS Family Support toll-free number or by applying online. The phone number for SNAP applications is 855-306-8959.

When you fill out the application, make sure you answer all of the questions honestly and include all of the important information requested. Once your application is received, someone will contact you for an interview. The head of household or an authorized representative must participate in the interview before the application is considered complete.

If you’re wondering how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of KY by mail, you may print your application from the Internet and then mail it to the address listed. If you choose this route, you still have to complete an interview before the application can be fully processed.

Kentucky has several Family Support offices throughout the state. Check to confirm which office you’ll need to mail your application to. You may also visit an office in-person during normal business hours if you prefer to apply that way.

You may name someone to be your authorized representative to act on your behalf if you choose. This person can complete the interview for SNAP benefits, which will then be given to you to purchase the food items your household needs.

The SNAP Approval Process

Once you fill out the application and complete the interview, you should receive a notice within 30 days. This notice will indicate whether or not you’ve been approved for SNAP benefits in Kentucky.

If your household is approved, you’ll get a letter telling you the dollar amount of the SNAP benefits you’ll receive. It’s important to note that you will have to be interviewed again in the future to keep receiving SNAP benefits. 

If you’re denied SNAP benefits, you are entitled to a fair hearing. Your household will have a chance to talk to a hearing officer and explain why you disagree with your specific case. If an error has been found in the application or any other part of the process, you may be eligible to receive the benefits denied due to the error.

Know Your Rights

You may start the process of applying for SNAP the same day you visit a local SNAP office by filling out a brief form. You’ll receive a notice within 30 days of applying that will tell you whether you’re approved or denied.

After you qualify, your household may receive SNAP benefits within a few days if you have little or no money. Refer to the income requirements above to learn about getting these benefits as fast as possible.

Sales tax will not be charged on food purchases used with EBT according to federal law. If you buy food with a combination of cash and EBT, sales tax may only be charged for the items you buy and pay for with cash.

If you require Braille, audiotape, large print, sign language, or another form of communication, you may contact the local agency where you applied for help. Those with hearing or speech challenges may use the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 to complete the application or ask questions.

What to Buy with SNAP 

The purpose of SNAP is to provide low-income households with the money they need to feed their family. While there are a few prohibited items under SNAP, you can also purchase plenty of food items.

You may purchase most “staple foods” with SNAP, including all fruits and vegetables and meat, poultry, and fish. Dairy products like milk and cheese are also eligible.

In addition to fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy, you may also purchase most types of bread and cereals. You can also purchase snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages like fruit juice or tea and coffee.

One excellent benefit of SNAP is that you may purchase a variety of seeds and plants. If you’re planning to grow a garden, this is a wonderful way to grow food in your own backyard to feed your family. 

The USDA has a helpful website where you can find a variety of recipes and much more. This site shows you how to cook delicious meals with foods you can purchase using your SNAP benefits. The National Institutes of Health also offers a free PDF cookbook featuring lots of delicious, healthy recipes to try.

See How SNAP Can Help You in Kentucky

Now that you know how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of KY, you may be able to get support buying food for your family. You can apply by calling the toll-free number or going online through the KYnect Benefits government website.

SNAP can help you buy the food you need to sustain your household, and it’s a crucial benefit that helps many low-income families thrive.

If you need help with your wireless cost, you can apply for the Lifeline government benefit program here