How to Apply for SNAP in Alabama
This information is current as of June 15, 2022.
Are you moving and wondering how to apply for SNAP in Alabama? Or maybe you already live there and want to know how to receive food assistance. We’re here to help!
To apply for SNAP in Alabama, you’ll need to:
- Understand the program
- Check your eligibility
- Apply for benefits online, by mail, or in person at your nearest County Department of Human Resources (DHR) office
Your household must meet certain income limits determined by the state to be eligible for SNAP.
To get you signed up for food assistance today, let’s dive into the details.
Getting SNAP Benefits in Alabama
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) works pretty quickly when processing applications. Even so, you should expect to wait around one month for your approval and for benefits to kick in.
Luckily, if approved, your benefits will be active from the day your application is received. The same goes for applying for SNAP from an institution – you will receive benefits from the date of your release.
The fastest way to get your SNAP card is to ensure you are eligible and apply for SNAP correctly. Now it’s time to see how that’s done.
1. Understand Your Benefits
Before applying for SNAP in Alabama, you should know what it is and what it offers. SNAP is a federal program that helps low-income households access nutritious foods and drinks to promote good health. In Alabama, SNAP is run by the Food Assistance Division (FAD).
Depending on your income, the number of people in your household, and your application, the FAD will determine how much monthly assistance you get. When it comes to SNAP, a household does not mean everyone in your house. Instead, it refers to anyone you share groceries and meals with. This will include dependents, such as your children or adults you legally care for.
Your monthly assistance is added to your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and can be used anywhere that accepts SNAP payments.
In the past, SNAP used to be called food stamps. Nowadays, all benefits are electronic, so people interchange the words EBT, SNAP, and food stamps when speaking of this nutritional assistance program.
2. Check Your Eligibility
Eligibility rules and monthly benefits depend on your household size and income. This is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Use the SNAP Eligibility Tool to see if you qualify.
Alternatively, you can contact your DHR office for this information or check out Alabama’s federal SNAP income limits.
3. Apply for SNAP
To receive SNAP benefits, you’ll need to complete the application, have an interview with a DHR employee, and submit specific documentation.
Suppose you and everyone in your household are elderly, and you have no earned income. In that case, you can use the Alabama Elderly Simplified Application Project application.
Other folks in Alabama can apply for SNAP online through the MyDHR or MyAlabama platforms. First, you’ll need to register for an account with an email address, username, and password.
Creating an online account is the easiest and most convenient way to apply. You can use this same online account to access your application information, recertify your benefits annually, manage your benefits, report any changes to your situation, and complete your required six-month report.
Completing the Application
On your application, you’ll need to include the personal information of each person in your household, including their:
- Full names
- Social Security Numbers
- Dates of birth
- Relationship to you
- Work or student status
In your application, you’ll also need to include:
- The total amount your household has in cash and/or in bank accounts
- The total amount of income you expect to receive that month
- Your current mortgage or rent payment
- How much you pay in utilities
- If anyone in your household has criminal convictions, particularly felonies for controlled substances or convictions for buying or selling food stamps
If you’re submitting a paper copy, you can find your neared DHR office here.
Completing the Interview
You will choose whether you prefer a telephone or face-to-face interview on your application. Once your application is received, you’ll be contacted for an interview. During this interview, you’ll be asked to verify the information on your application so that the DHR can confirm you’re eligible for SNAP.
Bring the following items to your interview or have them ready if you have a phone interview:
- ID for all household members – driver’s licenses, birth certificates, passports, etc.
- Proof of income – pay stubs, a signed statement from an employer, child support statement, award letter, etc.
- Proof of expenses – mortgage statements, rent receipts, property tax, house insurance premiums, daycare receipts, child support bills, medical bills for elderly or disabled members, etc.
- These expenses are deducted from your total income, providing you with the potential for higher monthly SNAP benefits
4. Use Your EBT Card
It usually takes up to a month for applications to be approved and reviewed; however, some extreme situations qualify for expedited service. You can receive benefits within 7 calendar days if:
- Your household makes less than $150 in gross monthly income and has less than $100 in assets (savings, cash, etc.)
- Your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your gross income and liquid resources
- A member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker
Once you have your EBT card, you may have to follow some directions to set up a PIN. You will need to enter this PIN every time you use the card. Be sure it’s something you can remember easily – but not so quickly as another person could guess.
Now that you have your active EBT card, it’s time to use it!
How to Use Your EBT Card
EBT cards are like debit cards, but they only cover certain products. You’ll need to find EBT-accepting stores in your area before you shop. You’ll have to pay the difference out of pocket if your total amount exceeds your benefits.
With your EBT card, you can buy:
- Veggies and fruits
- Meats, poultry, and fish
- Dairy products
- Bread and cereal
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants that you can use for food
It’s essential to follow SNAP rules to avoid facing strict penalties. Always keep your SNAP case up to date, especially if your income changes while you’re receiving benefits. Never give your EBT card to someone, not in your household.
Any household member who breaks SNAP laws can be banned from SNAP for years, fined up to $250,000, or even imprisoned for up to 20 years.
What’s the Difference Between SNAP, Food Stamps, and EBT?
The original SNAP program used to be called food stamps. This is because actual paper stamps were used to buy nutritious foods. Nowadays, the program is called SNAP and uses a debit card for benefits called an EBT card.
How Much Money Will SNAP Give Me?
Your monthly benefits depend on your household size and income. Your DHR office should be able to tell you the maximum amount you could qualify for. You can also see the chart on this site for the average monthly benefits across the U.S., depending on household size.
What Can I Buy with SNAP?
SNAP is used to buy fresh and prepackaged healthy foods. This includes meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, and other snacks. You cannot buy hot or prepared meals with SNAP, nor can you buy alcohol, tobacco, or household items like cleaning products or toilet paper.
How Do I Use My EBT Card?
You can use your EBT card like any debit card. Go to a SNAP-accepting store, purchase some fresh food items, swipe your card, and enter your PIN. Voila – you’re all done!
Where Can I Use My EBT Card?
Use the USDA’s SNAP store locater to find stores near you that accept SNAP. You’ll be surprised at how many options you have – stores like Target, Walmart, Food Lion, and even gas stations accept EBT card payments.
Do My Benefits Expire?
Each state has different rules when it comes to SNAP benefits. To be safe, you should use your benefits at least once a month to keep your account active. Most SNAP benefits roll over for at least a few months before expiring.
Can I Use AL SNAP in Another State?
EBT cards are interoperable across all 50 U.S. states, which means you can use your EBT card if you go on vacation. If you move to another state, you’ll need to reapply for SNAP at your new residence.
Where Can I Get Help with My Application?
You can get help with your application at your nearest DHR office. Suppose you need help because you are hard of hearing or have a speech disability. In that case, you can call 1-833-822-2202 through the Alabama Relay Service at 711. You can also call 1-800-548-2546 for help from your local Food Assistance Office.
Finally, a program can help you put healthy food on the table. Check your eligibility and apply for SNAP in Alabama online, via mail, or in person. Get the assistance you deserve and submit your application for SNAP today.
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
Did you know that if you qualify for SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)? Both Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs designed to help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.