The Alabama food stamps program, which is now referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps low-income families by providing them with monthly benefits. These funds may be used to purchase food items at authorized grocery stores, farmers markets or similar businesses. On the other hand, they may not be used, to purchase food at restaurants.
If you want to participate in the SNAP program in Alabama, you must gain an understanding of the eligibility requirements and then learn how to apply. For instance, you must meet several work, financial and citizenship requirements. In AL, you may apply in person, online, via mail or by fax. If you are approved for benefits, you must identify which items you are eligible for purchase and which items are prohibited. Learn more about SNAP by reading below.
Learn About Alabama Food Stamps Requirements
One of the first steps in determining your food stamps eligibility in Alabama is to review the program’s criteria regarding U.S. citizenship or residency. In general, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to receive benefits, which means that you have to be either a U.S. citizen or legally present in the country.
The rules of food stamp qualifications do allow for certain exceptions to the citizenship rule. For example, immigrants with disabilities, refugees, asylum seekers and certain other applicants may apply for benefits before they have lived in the country for five years.
Moreover, your SNAP eligibility in Alabama depends on your income. The total income of your household will be compared to the number of people living in your family and certain deductions, including:
- A standard deduction.
- A medical deduction.
- Shelter expenses.
If your household’s income falls below the maximum income level for the number of people in your family, you may qualify for SNAP.
As you determine your total monthly income, you must account for the earnings of each working family member, as well as bonds, savings, investments and other unearned incomes. Then, you may compare your gross monthly income to the maximum gross income levels set by the state. Your gross monthly income refers to the total you earn before taxes are deducted from your paycheck.
In addition to meeting these Alabama SNAP income guidelines, you must also meet the work requirements of the program. Generally, every member of your family who is between 18 and 50 years of age and does not take care of children or have a disability must be employed.
These family members are considered able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) and may not voluntarily reduce their hours or quit their jobs. Download our free guide to learn more about all the requirements for the SNAP program.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Alabama
You may apply for food stamps in AL online, via mail, by fax or in person. In order to apply online, you must create an account by providing your full name, Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth and proof of residency in the state. Proof of residency may be in the form of a driver’s license number or state ID number. Once you complete the application, you will receive a confirmation email.
If you are wondering how to complete the food stamp application by mail, print out the appropriate form, fill it out and send it to your local food assistance office. Offices and mailing addresses vary by county. Thus, in order to send the application by fax, you must call your county office’s fax machine.
Alternatively, you may submit your application in person by filling out a hard copy of the form in advance and bringing it to your local office. Be sure to check the office hours and bring all the necessary verification documents with you.
Your application form will typically reach your local office more quickly if you apply for food stamps online, by fax or in person. This is particularly important because the date when the office receives your application is the date that it will determine as your first monthly benefit amount, if you are approved for the program.
Before you apply for SNAP in Alabama, it may be helpful to gather important documents verifying your identification, income and employment information. Generally, you will be asked to prove:
- Your identity with a driver’s license or birth certificate.
- Your place of residence with a mortgage or lease agreement.
- Your employment with a paycheck or written statement from your employer.
- Your medical expenses.
Having these documents readily available may help ease the process. You may also be required to complete an interview later on during the interviewing process.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Alabama
If you are approved for SNAP benefits in Alabama, you must learn how to use them. Every month, your benefit amount will be loaded onto your electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card.
In general, you may purchase foods that have a nutrition label and not a supplement label. Otherwise, your EBT card may reject non-qualifying purchases. Approved foods include but are not limited to:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Dairy products
- Breads, grains and cereals
- Snack foods and dessert items
- Nuts and seeds
You may also use your EBT card to buy foods that complement your main meals, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, dried herbs, spices and more. On the other hand, your food stamp benefits may not be used to purchase:
- Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
- Cleaning supplies, toiletries and cosmetics
- Live animals, unless you are purchasing shellfish removed from the water
- Pet foods
- Prepared hot foods and certain foods sold behind a counter
- Vitamins, medicines and other supplement foods
While some foods may not be nutritious, you are still within your rights to purchase them. This includes packaged snacks, such as chips, granola bars and cookies. By downloading our free guide, you will find out which other foods are approved or restricted in the SNAP program.
Name: Alabama Department of Human Resources, Family Assistance Division
Phone Number: 334-242-1773
Address: 50 North Ripley Street, Montgomery, AL 36130
Commissioner: Nancy Buckner