The Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is often called food stamps, helps low-income families afford groceries on a monthly basis. Overall, the state administers the program through the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), but must also comply with the program regulations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Because the SNAP program is designed for low-income families and individuals, some of its main eligibility requirements include income level and household size. As such, applicants will be required to submit detailed information about their household composition, income and expenses. Once a family begins to receive benefits, it will be issued an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card in order to use them. Read on to learn more about the food stamps program in Georgia.
Learn About Georgia Food Stamps Requirements
Food stamps eligibility is primarily based on a household’s income and size. Specifically, be mindful that the Georgia food stamps income guidelines are based on the nation’s federal poverty level (FPL). Thus, to meet the requirements for the SNAP income guidelines, your household’s monthly income cannot exceed a certain percentage of the FPL.
Most households will need to meet both gross and net monthly income limits. By definition, gross income includes all earnings from employment and other sources, such as child support.
Alternatively, net income refers to the amount of money that a family has after taxes and deductions are accounted for. In the case of households that include a senior or person with disabilities, applicants may only need to meet the net income requirements.
In addition to income, there are other food stamp qualifications to keep in mind. For example, in order to be eligible for the program, applicants must either be U.S. citizens or have an acceptable immigration status. Alternatively, undocumented individuals are not able to receive assistance from the program.
Finally, in order to meet SNAP eligibility criteria, all able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDS) will be required to meet the necessary work requirements. These requirements include working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours a week.
On the other hand, certain adults may not have to meet these requirements, such as seniors, people with disabilities or those who are responsible for the care of a child who is younger than six years of age. However, be mindful that individuals who do not meet the necessary work requirements are not able to receive assistance for more than three months within a 36-month period. Download our free guide for more information about SNAP requirements.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Georgia
You may apply for food stamps in Georgia in four ways. Overall, applications may be submitted through one of these methods:
- By mail
- By fax
- In person
If you choose to apply for food stamps online, you will need to create an account with the state’s online portal. With those login credentials, you will be able to check the status of your application and verify your eligibility for other government assistance programs.
If you would rather not apply online, you must retrieve a paper food stamp application form and return it to your local office. These forms are available online or through your local office. Regardless of how you choose to apply for SNAP, you will need to provide certain information, including:
- Your household’s demographics.
- Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and/or Alien Registration Numbers (A-Numbers).
- Your household’s income information.
- Your household’s expenses.
Make sure to complete the appropriate form fully and accurately when you apply for SNAP in GA. Providing false or misleading information on your application is a crime, which could result in loss of benefits, fines and even jail time.
After you submit your food stamp application, you must complete a phone interview with a SNAP agent. During this phone interview, you will be asked about the specifics regarding your household situation. Moreover, you will be expected to provide proof of your family’s income, citizenship and expenses. Overall, you will be notified about what documentation you need to provide in order to successfully file your application.
It may take up to 30 days to process your case after you apply for SNAP in Georgia. In certain cases, households may qualify for expedited processing, such as when they have little to no income. In that case, your application for SNAP assistance will be processed in 7 days. Download our free guide for more information about how to apply for food stamps.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Georgia
Once you are approved for food stamp benefits, you will receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card and a personal identification number (PIN). With this card, you will be able to purchase items the same way that you would with a debit or credit card.
However, keep in mind that you must shop at a USDA-approved store in order to use your benefits. Many locations have signs indicating that they accept EBT, but you may also find this information online.
Additionally, you should be aware of what items are eligible for purchase under the SNAP program, as all as which items are not. In general, non-food items cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits, even if they are sold at grocery stores. Examples of these type of items include:
- Household supplies
- Pet food
- Cigarettes and tobacco products
The GA food stamps program also prohibits the purchase of items such as:
- Alcoholic beverages
As a beneficiary of food stamps, you will be able to purchase a large array of food items. SNAP food benefits can purchase both staple and accessory foods. Staple foods are those that make up the majority of a healthy diet, such as:
- Bread and cereal
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
Accessory foods include snacks and desserts. Moreover, accessory foods include items that complement or supplement meals, such as spices, oils and other ingredients. All accessory items are available for purchase with SNAP benefits.
A helpful trick for helping you determine whether or not an item is eligible for purchase using your benefits is to look for a Nutrition Facts label. If an item is eligible for purchase it will have a Nutrition Facts label, not a Supplement or Drug Facts Label. For example, gummy vitamins are ineligible for purchase and have a Supplement label while gummy snacks are eligible with a Nutrition Facts label. Keep in mind, however, that this will not apply to hot food, prepared food or alcohol.
Name: Division of Family and Children Services Fulton NW Office
Phone Number: 404-206-5300
Address: 1249 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30318
Director: Kristin Toilcver