The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, helps low-income families and individuals afford groceries with monthly allotments. Overall, these funds are administered through electronic balance transfer (EBT) cards and can be used to pay for groceries.
Having a low income is the primary qualification for SNAP assistance in Colorado. As a general rule, applicants will be required to provide information about their household size, monthly income and general expenses. Then, applicants may also need to undergo a SNAP interview to confirm their eligibility. Read on to learn more about the basic requirements for the food stamps program in CO.
Learn About Colorado Food Stamps Requirements
Food stamps eligibility in Colorado is based primarily on a household’s income. In order to be considered for the program, a household must meet the SNAP income guidelines defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
These income limits are based on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In general, a household’s gross monthly income must not exceed 200 percent of the FPL in order for an applicant to qualify.
In addition to income, food stamp qualifications in Colorado include residency and citizenship criteria. In order to meet SNAP eligibility, applicants must have U.S. citizenship or maintain acceptable immigration status. Consequently, undocumented individuals will not meet SNAP eligibility.
Legal residents who maintain an acceptable immigration status will have to meet additional criteria in order to be eligible for food stamps. For instance, non-citizens must meet one of the following requirements:
- Have resided in the U.S. for the last 5 years
- Be younger than 18 years of age
- Be refugees or asylees
- Already receive some form of assistance for a disability
Download our free guide to learn more about the SNAP requirements.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Colorado
The state Department of Human Services (DHS) processes all food stamp applications in Colorado. Generally, you are able to apply for food stamps through your local human services office. To do so, you may file an application:
- By mail.
- By fax.
- In person.
- By phone
If you choose to apply for SNAP in Colorado online, you may either create an account or file an application as a guest. Keep in mind that applying as a guest requires you to complete the entire process in one sitting, as you will not be able to save your progress and return to it later.
If you are filling out a paper form, you must make sure to complete the correct food stamp application. During this process, you will need to provide information about each individual in your household, which may include:
- Income and assets.
- Social Security number (SSN) or Alien Registration Number (A-Number).
- Age and other personal identification information.
After submitting your Colorado food stamp application, you will likely be asked to complete a SNAP interview. During the interview, you will be asked to submit proof of the information that you provided on your application. Moreover, a representative from your local services office will reach out to you ahead of time and outline the documents you may need. Notice of an interview will be sent both over the phone and in writing. Thus, be sure to pay attention to your messages.
Depending on your household’s current situation, your SNAP application may be eligible for expedited, 7-day processing. Otherwise, your application may take 30 days of processing time before it is completed. In any case, upon receiving approval, you will receive benefits from the date when you applied. Download our free guide for more information on how you can apply for food stamps.
Learn About SNAP Benefits in Colorado
Colorado SNAP benefits are administered on a monthly basis through EBT cards. These cards may be used at a register just like a credit or debit card.
However, it is important to note that your food stamp benefits may only be used for buying certain items. Essentially, food stamps are used to purchase staple and accessory food items. Staple food items make up the majority of a healthy diet, including:
- Produce, such as fruits and vegetables
- Meat, fish and poultry
- Breads and cereals
SNAP food benefits may be used for purchasing the abovementioned items in fresh, packaged or frozen form. In addition, beneficiaries are authorized to use these funds to buy accessory food items such as desserts, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, spices, oils and dressings. Furthermore, it is important to note that food stamps benefits may also be used for purchasing seeds or plants that will provide food for a household, such as tomato seeds.
On the other hand, there are certain products that are ineligible for SNAP benefits, including all non-food items such as:
- Household supplies
- Pet food
- Cigarettes and tobacco products
Items like medicines, vitamins and supplements are also all ineligible for SNAP benefits. A general rule of thumb to help you determine whether or not something can be purchased with these funds is identifying whether the item has a nutrition label. For example, gummy fruit snacks have a nutrition facts label, while gummy vitamins have a supplement label. The latter is ineligible for purchase with food stamps.
Finally, be mindful that you cannot use food stamps to purchase prepared hot foods. Therefore, food items containing labels such as “ready-to-go” or “hot-and-ready” may not be obtained with these funds. If food is sold for immediate consumption, you may not purchase it with food stamps benefits. This includes food from restaurants or retailers that also sell groceries.
Name: Colorado Department of Human Services
Phone Number: (303) 866-5700
Address: 1575 Sherman St., 8th Floor, Denver, CO 80203
Director: Michelle Barnes
Last Updated: February 27, 2023