The Delaware food stamps program, officially referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps low-income American families and individuals on a monthly basis. Although overseen on the federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the SNAP program is administered on a state level through the Delaware Division of Social Services (DSS).
Beneficiaries of food stamps are able to use electronic balance transfer (EBT) cards to help them cover the cost of food. Families may use their benefits to buy an array of items, including the staples of a balanced diet. Each month, the DSS allocates new funds to the EBT card for the family to use. Read on to learn more about the program and how to apply.
Learn About Delaware Food Stamps Requirements
The primary requirement for SNAP eligibility is a household’s income level. The SNAP income guidelines are based on the federal poverty level (FPL) according to the size of the household. In order to qualify, applicants must not exceed 130 percent of the FPL for their household size.
However, individuals who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance (GA) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) do not need to meet the above income requirements in order to qualify for the program. For more information about food stamp qualifications, download our free guide.
In addition to the food stamp income guidelines, applicants should be aware of the requirements for citizenship and residency. An individual must be a U.S. citizen or maintain acceptable legal status in order to meet food stamp qualifications.
Thus, undocumented individuals who reside in the country illegally may not receive food stamps in DE. Non-citizens who maintain legal status must meet additional requirements in order to be eligible for assistance. A non-citizen applicant must meet one of the following criteria:
- Has lived in the United States for at least five years
- Is a refugee or has asylum
- Already receives assistance for a disability
- Is younger than 18 years of age
In some households, not all members may be eligible for SNAP assistance, but select members might. For example, if a non-citizen has not lived in the U.S. for five years but has children who are U.S. citizens, he or she may apply for food stamps for the children on their behalf.
It is important to note that SNAP eligibility must be maintained after you begin to receive benefits. For most individuals, maintaining food stamps eligibility will mean meeting specific work requirements. All able-bodied individuals are required to complete at least 20 hours of work a week or spend an equivalent amount of time in a work program.
Individuals who do not meet this requirement may not receive food stamps for more than three months in a 36-month period. Certain persons such as the elderly or those with disabilities will not have to meet this requirement.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Delaware
You may submit your food stamp application with a local office of the DSS. There are several ways to complete and submit the application, including:
- By mail.
- By fax.
- In person.
In order to apply for food stamps online in Delaware, you will need to create an account in the Division’s online system. Then you will provide the same information as you would on a paper application form. Some of the information you will need to provide includes:
- Household demographics.
- Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or Alien Registration Numbers (A-Numbers) for each member of the household.
- Income information.
If you choose not to apply online, you need to simply fill out the food stamp application form available online and then mail, fax or personally submit the document to your local office. Once you submit the application, you will be contacted for an interview as the next step in the process.
You must attend the interview in order to successfully apply for SNAP in Delaware. At the interview, you will be asked to verify the information you provided on the application. This will include providing proof of citizenship and proof of income. In most cases, your food stamp application will be processed within 30 days from the date of application.
On the other hand, certain applicants may be eligible for an expedited, 7-day processing time. Usually, you must demonstrate an immediate need for expedited processing time. For example, if your liquid assets are less than $100 and your gross monthly income does not exceed $150, then you will qualify for an expedited processing time when you apply for food stamps.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Delaware
Once you are approved for the SNAP program, you will receive an EBT card that you may use at select locations in order to buy groceries for your family. It’s important to know that some products are ineligible for purchase with SNAP benefits despite being available in a grocery store. For example, you may not purchase any non-food items with your benefits, such as:
- Pet food.
- Household items.
You also may not purchase alcohol, live animals, medicine, vitamins or supplements with your benefits. Finally, you may not purchase prepared or hot food using SNAP food stamps. In order to establish whether or not a food item would be considered “prepared,” you may try to look for labels like “grab-and-go” or “hot-and-ready.” Any food that is designed for immediate consumption may not be purchased with SNAP food benefits. For more information on what you may purchase using SNAP benefits, download our free guide.
Despite some restrictions, there are several options for you to purchase using your SNAP benefits to ensure that your family has a healthy and balanced diet. Staple foods, or foods that make up the majority of a healthy diet, are all available for purchase using your benefits. These include:
- Dairy products.
- Meat, poultry and fish.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Bread and cereals.
You may also purchase seeds or plants that can be used to grow food for the family. Additionally, accessory food items are eligible for purchase using food stamp benefits. These include snack foods and desserts, but may also include complementary and supplementary food items like cooking ingredients.
Name: Division of Social Services
Phone Number: 1-800-372-2022
Address: 1901 N. DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720
Director: Ray Fitzgerald