The Alaska food stamps program, which is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is designed to help low-income Americans obtain nutritious foods. Recipients may use their benefits at grocery stores, certain convenience stores and certain farmers markets. The program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and benefits are distributed by the Division of Public Assistance in the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).
If you want to enroll in the SNAP program, you must first review the eligibility requirements and the application process. Important factors that will weigh into your application’s approval or denial include your income level, citizenship status and more. In addition, the state offers several different submission methods, so you can choose the method that is most convenient.
Learn About Alaska Food Stamps Requirements
Your food stamps eligibility in Alaska is determined by a variety of factors. These include your:
- Residency in the state.
- Citizenship status.
- Age and relationship to the members of your household.
- Employment status.
- Income level.
- Allowable deductions.
First, you must be a resident in Alaska. Second, you must be a legal U.S. citizen or be legally present in the country. As a result, the DHSS requires you to submit a Social Security Number (SSN) for you and each member of your household.
If a member of your family does not qualify for SNAP, you may simply leave him or her off the application. However, that family member’s earnings may still count toward your household’s income level.
To obtain SNAP food stamps, every non-disabled family member who is between 18 and 59 years of age and has no children must have a job. These family members may not reduce their hours or quit voluntarily.
In addition, the total income of your household must not exceed the maximum income limit for the number of people in your family. These income limits are updated every year, so it is important to check the most recent limits.
However, the food stamp qualifications in AK allow you to make certain deductions. For instance, you can make:
- A standard deduction depending on the size of your family.
- A medical expenses deduction for senior family members or disabled family members.
- A shelter deduction if you are homeless.
Finally, you must account for certain assets, including cash on hand, money in checking accounts or savings accounts and savings bonds. Assets that will not be counted include retirement savings, burial plots, vehicles used for work-related reasons and more. You can download our free guide to learn about additional requirements for SNAP.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Alaska
To apply for food stamps in AK, you must first decide which submission method works best for you. The state allows you to apply over the phone, in person, by mail or by fax.
If you are applying over the phone, call the Food Bank of Alaska. You may also call the SNAP Outreach Specialist hotline. This method may be helpful if you are visually impaired or simply need extra help. Both phone numbers are toll-free.
If you want to fill out a food stamp application in person, visit a local public assistance office. These offices are open weekdays, and all have the same business hours. You may call your office in advance or email the Food Bank of Alaska to ask about in-person applications.
At your office, you may request information on fee agents, who will work with you to submit your application. Fee agents are not allowed to charge you any money, as they get paid through the Division of Public Assistance. If you do not use a fee agent, you may also schedule an appointment with a SNAP outreach specialist.
While you may not apply for food stamps online in Alaska, you may apply by mail or fax. To do so, download the application form from the AK SNAP website, print it, fill it out and send it to your local public assistance office, or fax it to the office’s fax machine number.
As you apply for SNAP, the Division of Public Assistance highly recommends that you gather documents relevant to the application. These documents include:
- A driver’s license or state ID license for each family member.
- A birth certificate or green card for each family member.
- Employment and paycheck documentation.
- And more.
You may also opt for an interview by telephone. Telephone interviews may only be completed during certain business hours, so it is important to call in advance to get an interview slot.
A SNAP assistance interviewer may ask you to verify information on your application with certain documents. He or she may also ask you to supply additional information to help your public assistance office determine an approval or denial of your application.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Alaska
SNAP benefits in AK are provided through a Quest card instead of through food stamps, or vouchers. A quest card looks and works like a debit card, so you will not have to worry about scanning individual food stamps at the cash register.
Each month that you qualify for SNAP, your benefits will be deposited into your Quest account. Unused benefits from a previous month will roll over, so you do not have to worry about using all your benefits before the end of each month.
Your food stamp benefits may only be used on approved food items. These include, but are not limited to:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Red meat, poultry and fish.
- Meat substitutes, such as bean burgers.
- Dairy products.
- Breads, grains and cereals.
- Snack foods and desserts.
- Non-alcoholic beverages.
While SNAP dietary guidelines suggest that you use your benefits for mostly staple foods with nutritious ingredients, you are entitled to buy pre-packaged snack foods as well, such as chips, granola bars and cookies. To learn about the SNAP regulations and what you can buy, download our free guide.
Your Alaska SNAP food benefits may not be used to buy:
- Alcoholic beverages, such as wine or beer.
- Tobacco products.
- Vitamins, medicines and supplements.
- Live animals, unless you are buying live shellfish to be cooked later.
- Hot foods and other prepared foods sold behind a counter.
- And more.
If you are confused about whether you can buy a pre-packaged item with your Quest card, check to see if the item has a nutrition label or a supplement label. If it has a nutrition label, you will most likely be able to buy it with your benefits.
In addition, you may not purchase toiletry products or cleaning supplies with your Quest card, even though these items are sold in grocery stores.
Name: Anchorage Office
Phone Number: 907-522-8683
Address: 2525 Gambell St Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99503
Director: Shawnda O’Brien