The Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers benefits that help low-income families afford healthy food. Through this program, which was formerly known as food stamps, households receive monthly funds that can be used to purchase food from grocery stores, farmer’s markets and certain other establishments.
The SNAP program in Maine is available to families who meet basic income requirements, as well as those that can qualify based on other factors such as age or disability status. In order to receive SNAP food stamps, it is necessary to apply through the Office for Family Independence, which is administered by the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Approved applicants receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which can be used much like a debit card to buy food. Below, learn more about the process of applying for and using these benefits.
Learn About Maine Food Stamps Requirements
Your food stamps eligibility in Maine is based on your income and resources, as well as non-monetary factors, which include your employment or disability status. Overall, you can meet the food stamps qualifications if you are:
- Currently homeless.
- Working part time or receiving a low wage.
- Currently receiving benefits from other government programs.
- Elderly or disabled.
General SNAP income guidelines in Maine require you to have an income that does not exceed a certain amount based on your household size. For the purposes of the food stamps program, your household includes everyone who lives and eats together in your home. Under this definition, your household members are not necessarily only people who are related to one another. With that in mind, note that these food stamp income guidelines apply to all residents who count as household members.
In addition to having a low income, you must also prove that you have limited resources in order to receive benefits. A resource includes assets such as your bank account, cash or savings bonds, among other similar things. In most cases, your house or car will not be counted as a resource, but certain exceptions may apply.
Moreover, your SNAP eligibility in Maine is also based on your legal presence in the U.S. As a general rule, SNAP assistance is only available to U.S. citizens and certain legal residents.
Furthermore, the SNAP program has a variety of work requirements that apply to able-bodied adults who are between 18 and 59 years of age. Applicants within this age range may need to maintain certain employment criteria, such as working a minimum number of hours per week or accepting any reasonable job offers. SNAP participants may also meet this requirement by enrolling in job training to prepare for work. This part of the process is referred to as registering for work.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Maine
A Maine food stamp application must be submitted to the DHHS Office for Family Independence if you wish to receive benefits in the state. If you wish, you also have the option to apply for food stamps online using the DHHS website. Through this method, you must create an account or sign into an existing account.
If you prefer, you may also apply for food stamps in Maine using a paper application. This physical form can be printed out from the official state portal or picked up from a branch office in person. Regardless of whether you apply online or using this paper form, you must enter the same basic information. This includes:
- Your name, date of birth and Social Security Number (SSN)
- The name, date of birth and SSN of each household member
- Your current address and contact information
- Employment and/or disability information, if applicable
- Details regarding your income and resources
- Information on any other government programs that you benefit from
When listing your income, note that certain types of expenses and bills may be deducted if you meet the requirements. For example, you may be able to deduct a certain amount of medical expenses if you have a disability.
After you apply for food stamps, you will need to provide documents that verify your information. For example, copies of your pay stubs, bank statements and identity documents may be required. Depending on your application method, you may be able to include these documents with your form or provide them at a later date.
In any case, you must undergo an interview after you apply for SNAP so that the DHHS can verify all of the information on your form. Interviews may be conducted in person or over the phone. Download our free guide to learn more about the interview and application process.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Maine
If approved, you will typically begin receiving SNAP benefits within one month of your application date. However, benefits may start sooner if you are facing circumstances deemed urgent. In any case, food stamp benefits will be loaded onto an EBT card that you will receive after your application is accepted. Generally, this card looks and works just like a debit card. On the other hand, be mindful that you are not allowed to use it for unapproved purchases or to withdraw cash from your balance.
SNAP food benefits in Maine can be used at various grocery stores, superstores, convenience stores and farmers’ markets. However, note that not all locations will accept these benefits. You can generally check if a retailer takes food stamps by looking for the appropriate logo by the store’s entrance.
Food stamps are meant to supplement your family’s grocery budget, not cover the entire cost of your food for the month. As such, most households use their benefits along with personal funds to afford all of their groceries. Generally, SNAP benefits can be used to buy a wide variety of food items, including:
- Meat and dairy
- Fish and seafood
- Cereal and bread
- Fresh, frozen or canned produce
- Most snacks and drinks
- Plants and seeds
You cannot use Maine food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco, non-food items or household products. For example, cookware, paper products or pet food cannot be purchased with your benefits. Download our free guide to learn more about benefits.
Name: Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Family Independence
Phone Number: 207-624-4168
Address: 11 State House Station 19 Union Street, Augusta, ME 04333
Director: Anthony Pelotte