How to Apply for SNAP in Oklahoma
As a low-income adult, you know the struggles of trying to make ends meet to care for your family and keep them safe. Whether it’s finding low-income housing or having enough money after bills for food, the struggle can feel never-ending.
Are you wondering where to get more help with food? Wondering how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of OK? There is help available to keep you and your family fed. Applying for SNAP in OK doesn’t have to be intimidating, and you can get the help you need.
Read on to learn how to apply for SNAP in Oklahoma and what you need to do to get benefits going for your family.
What Is SNAP?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is a federal program to help the millions of Americans who struggle with food insecurity. The program is federally funded yet administered by individual states.
There are some 9.5 million families with children who struggle to have enough money to buy food across the US. The SNAP program works to provide benefits that allow these families access to the food they need.
The program’s goal is to provide supplemental resources for families to raise low-income families’ nutritional levels.
Who Is Eligible for OK SNAP Benefits?
There are a few criteria to be eligible for Oklahoma SNAP benefits. First, and most obviously, you need to be a resident of Oklahoma.
In addition to living in the state, you also must meet one of the following criteria:
- A current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001
- A current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 if a person or persons age 60 and over, or a person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself) lives with you.
There are some annual income requirements. For example, a family of 4 has a maximum income level of $34,060. More on income limitations later.
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How Can You Apply for SNAP Benefits In Oklahoma?
You can apply for SNAP benefits a few ways if you are a resident of Oklahoma and fit the above requirements.
If you have previously received benefits, applying is a matter of revisiting the OKDHS site and completing an application.
If you have not applied before, then you need to create an account on the OKDHS website. You will need a username and password to keep track of for easy access to your account.
Then you will access the application through your account.
If you prefer, you can fill out a paper application found on the website or at your local Oklahoma DHS office.
Oklahoma Interview Requirements
Qualifying for SNAP in OK also requires you to be interviewed by an employee from the DHS office. Once your application is submitted, you will be contacted by mail and likely by phone too.
It’s important to note; you should not ignore this contact as your application will not move along without it. Make sure when you complete your application, you provide accurate contact information.
The interviewer will arrange a time that works for you based on your work schedule and transportation needs. The interview can happen by phone or in person.
This interview shouldn’t be something to be nervous about. The Oklahoma DHS needs to verify your eligibility and make sure they get all the necessary information to get you the benefits you need.
What Documents Will You Need for Application Verification?
Once you complete your application, you will need some documentation to verify your eligibility. In some cases, you might qualify for expedited benefits. If you qualify for expedited benefits, you may initially only need to show proof of identity to get a few months of SNAP benefits going.
Here is what you will need for verification. To prove your identity, you can use one of the following:
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Voter registration card
- School records
- US passport
You will need to provide income verification too. You can do this using check stubs from the last 30 days. You could also use a statement from your employer. If you are self-employed, the state will accept looking at last year’s tax returns.
If you receive alimony, child support, or any other court-ordered income, you will need to show records related to this income too.
You may get asked to see medical expense records if your family members are over the age of 60 or a permanently disabled family member. The expenses often offset income, which is why you would need to show them.
If you are an immigrant applying for benefits, Oklahoma will want to see paperwork that shows you are in the US legally.
Finally, you will need your social security card or know your social security number.
How Quickly Can You Get Benefits?
While the list might seem long for verification documents, the good news is that you can usually get benefits pretty quickly.
Some people qualify for expedited benefits—more on this next.
If you have done the application and gone through the interview and verified documents, you can often get benefits in a month or less.
Once your application is complete, watch your mail. You will receive a letter called the Notice of Action letter. It informs you of your application’s approval or denial.
If your application was approved, the letter also tells you:
- The amount of benefits approved
- When benefits will start
- Amount of income and deductions used to make the decision
If your application were to be denied, the letter would explain the denial.
You might be anxious to get the benefits you need and wonder how you can become eligible for those expedited benefits. The good news is that part of the application process considers whether you need expedited SNAP benefits.
You don’t have to ask for expedited benefits. You don’t have to submit a special application to receive them. If you qualify for them, you will automatically get them. This means you could get food benefits as quickly as under a week.
If you meet eligibility requirements, they will often complete their interview on the spot to move the application along. If you don’t drop off your application, you can often expect to be contacted within a week to get those expedited benefits.
There are a few ways you can qualify for expedited benefits. These include:
- Less than $150.00 in monthly gross income
- Cash resources not over $100.00
- Migrant or seasonal farmworker and you do not have cash resources over $100.00
If your household has monthly income and cash resources less than your housing (rent, mortgage, and utilities), you also qualify for expedited SNAP benefits.
Limits in the Program
Remember, eligibility is based on income and cash resources. You may be asked to verify those again over time. If suddenly your income increases, your benefits could drop. Likewise, if you lost more income, your benefit amounts could increase.
If you have a change in income, be sure to check back in with your caseworker.
Your application can be submitted for any of the people who live and eat in your house. There are no limits on the number of people with whom you can apply.
How Are the Food Benefits Provided?
Once you’re approved, you’ll be given an ACCESS Oklahoma electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. If you have previously received benefits or have a child who has received benefits, you will need to contact the DHS office to get information to activate your card again.
If you’re new to the program, then you are given the card. The program requires you to visit a DHS office and watch an informational video about using the card and what you can and cannot buy with the benefits.
Once you have the card, then the DHS will periodically add the benefits to your card electronically over the course of a month. You can take your card to nearly any store that sells food and accepts (EBT) cards.
Your card will allow you to buy food, including baby food and formula, seeds to grow foods, and plants. Your SNAP benefits can’t get used for:
- Pet food
- Fast food
- Food that will be heated in the store
You will always have access to your balance on your SNAP benefits as it gets printed on your receipt each time you use your card.
Know-How to Apply for SNAP Benefits in the State of OK
The struggles of caring for your family can be hard daily. You certainly don’t want to worry that you can feed your family. Now you know how to apply for SNAP benefits in the state of OK and can work to get the help you need.