The Minnesota food stamps program is intended to help supplement the cost of groceries for low-income residents and their families. Those enrolled in the program receive funds on a monthly basis that may be spent on approved food items. However, food stamps typically cannot be used for purchasing ready-made meals or household necessities outside of groceries.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program that operates at the state level. In Minnesota, the program is administered by the state Department of Human Services (DHS). Thus, residents must apply directly through the Minnesota SNAP program in order to receive these benefits. The sections below go over the program’s eligibility requirements, how to submit an application and what products beneficiaries can spend their benefits on.
Learn About Minnesota Food Stamps Requirements
The Minnesota food stamps program has certain eligibility requirements in place to determine who can receive benefits from SNAP. In order to qualify for these benefits, you must meet the food stamps eligibility requirements, which include an assessment of your household makeup, income, assets and more.
Most applicants need to meet the general income requirement of no more than 100 or 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but some households may still qualify with an income of 200 percent of the FPL if they have at least one household member who is elderly or disabled.
The maximum monthly gross income that a single person can earn and meet the SNAP income guidelines in Minnesota is $1,396. However, a single senior applicant may still qualify with a monthly gross income of up to $2,265. Download our free guide to learn more about food stamp qualifications.
Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income, general assistance or Minnesota Supplemental Aid may qualify for stamps. The same is true for those who get Transition Year Child Care or sliding fee child care assistance from the state. Minnesota residents enrolled in the diversionary work program may also qualify.
Residents who are 60 years of age or older or have a disability may still meet SNAP eligibility guidelines even if they exceed the income requirements. This is because some medical expenses can be deducted from an applicant’s monthly income. Other costs that can be deducted from the food stamp income guidelines include:
- Dependent care needs
- Legally owed child support payments
- Excess shelter costs, including household costs that total more than half of a household’s monthly income
SNAP eligibility guidelines state that applicants who have earned a drug felony in the past 10 years are subject to random drug testing. Individuals found positive for substances once will have their benefits reduced. Those who test positive twice are permanently disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits. Individuals found guilty of trading benefits for controlled substances, ammunition, firearms or explosives also risk being permanently barred from the program.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Minnesota
Minnesota residents can apply for food stamps by mail, in person or online, depending on their preferences. Typically, the easiest way to receive benefits is to apply for food stamps online. In order to do so, residents must visit the official state online portal to submit their applications, which requires creating an account. Keep in mind that this same account is used for TANF, child care and emergency assistance in Minnesota.
In addition, residents may also submit a physical food stamp application form by mail or in person. However, be mindful that there is one form for individuals who are younger than 60 years of age, and a separate SNAP application form for individuals who are 60 years of age and older.
To apply for SNAP, individuals must prove their identity with a state-issued photo ID, the Social Security numbers (SSNs) of all household members, proof of state residency, proof of all income and assets, housing costs and medical costs. Those with child support and excess housing costs should also provide proof of their additional payments. Moreover, all household members must be U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.
The SNAP application asks detailed questions about household finances. It is important to answer the form completely and accurately. For instance, the form asks who in the household contributes to and uses groceries.
In the event that an applicant has a roommate who is not sharing groceries, that roommate does not need to be included in the income calculations. However, if an applicant indicates that he or she shares the cost of groceries or meals with his or her roommate, the roommate’s income and assets must be included on the form.
Learn About SNAP Benefits in Minnesota
The maximum food stamp allotment a household can receive is set at the federal level. However, states have discretion in how to allocate funding, so individuals in some states may receive much more or less than individuals in another state.
A household of three can get up to $658 a month in SNAP benefits to help cover the cost of groceries. However, the precise amount a family receives depends on their total combined household income and Minnesota state policies.
Overall, SNAP expects households to spend 30 percent of their income on food. Individuals who cannot afford to spend that much on food will receive more than households that can. The federal government offers details on how to calculate one’s expected SNAP benefits.
In general, after deducting all allowed expenses, an individual should subtract 30 percent of their remaining net income from the total benefit allowed for his or her household size to anticipate what they will receive. Deductible expenses include a flat rate per household member as well as certain medical or care costs, childcare costs and child support payments.
On the other hand, SNAP benefit allocations are ultimately decided by the Minnesota DHS. Therefore, the best way to find out how much assistance a household is eligible for is to submit an application. You can learn more about how to apply and what benefits you can receive by downloading our free guide for food stamps.
As a side benefit, individuals who receive SNAP benefits also qualify for a telephone service discount. Applicants can use the Lifeline and/or Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) to obtain phone services at low or no cost. This can help individuals who are seeking a job or need a phone number to receive important services.
Name: Human Services & Public Health Department
Phone Number: (612) 431-2000
Address: P.O. Box 64990, St. Paul, MN 55164-0990
Commissioner: Jodi Wentland
Last Updated: September 29, 2022