Food stamps in Mississippi are available for low-income families and individuals. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to provide monthly funds to help with the cost of groceries. SNAP is not meant to cover the total cost of monthly groceries, nor does it cover the cost of cooked meals, hot foods or general household items. However, it does play an important role in helping low-income Mississippi families put food on the table.
The SNAP program is funded at the national level and administered at the state level. In Mississippi, the program is administered by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS).
Not all residents qualify for SNAP. Individuals must apply for SNAP food stamps to determine if they meet the state eligibility requirements. The sections below cover eligibility standards, how to apply and how much an applicant can receive in benefits. Download our free guide for information on how to apply for food stamps in Mississippi.
Learn About Mississippi Food Stamps Requirements
The Mississippi food stamps eligibility guidelines take into account a household’s makeup, total income, assets, savings, expenses and work history. Low-income or unemployed individuals may qualify for benefits. Individuals who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or other forms of assistance will qualify for SNAP as well. Elderly and disabled applicants can sometimes qualify for benefits even if they exceed the SNAP income guidelines.
The Mississippi Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) allows residents to pre-screen their applications to determine if they meet the SNAP eligibility requirements. The pre-screen will ask about household members, sources of income, expenses and more.
Keep in mind that the pre-screen tool is not an application. You may be rejected by the state after passing the pre-screening, or you may qualify for benefits even if the pre-screening says you do not. Therefore, you should always submit an application to be sure about whether or not you meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines.
When you fill out an application, you will need to provide several documents to verify your food stamp qualifications. This includes bank statements, rent and utility expenses, pay stubs and more. You must also bring medical documentation for any medical conditions you or a household member has.
In July 2019, the state legislature voted to remove felony drug convictions from the list of factors that could make someone ineligible for food stamps. Therefore, applicants with a felony drug conviction may be able to apply for and receive SNAP benefits.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Mississippi
Mississippi residents can apply for food stamps online through the Access Mississippi portal. There are no by-mail or in-person applications. However, the Access Mississippi portal allows individuals to apply for several government programs, including Medicaid, TANF and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
To submit a food stamp application, visit the Access Mississippi website and provide your contact information, income, benefits, anticipated income and savings. You should also provide the cost of your electricity, gas, phone service, water, rent or mortgage and any child care or excess medical expenses you may have.
You must include information about all household members on your food stamp application, including:
- Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
- Birth certificates (if applicable).
- Savings information.
Note: For information on the documents you will need when applying for food stamps, review our free SNAP guide.
Keep in mind that your household includes anyone you share the cost of groceries and meals with. If you have a roommate that you share groceries and meals with, the roommate must be included in your household. However, if you have a roommate and do not share meals or groceries, you should indicate it on your application.
One of the final steps in applying for SNAP is uploading documents to verify your financial background and monthly expenses. Along with providing these documents, you must also grant the state permission to contact former employers and landlords in order to verify the information on your application.
Once you submit your MS food stamp application, the state will begin to confirm your information to determine if you are eligible. You may be required to schedule an in-person interview to address any issues or finalize your application before you receive a decision.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Mississippi
Once you are approved for SNAP benefits, you should begin receiving a monthly payout. The amount you receive depends on your monthly household income. Your payment is issued on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card.
In general, you are expected to spend about 30 percent of your monthly income on food. You can approximate how much you will earn by taking your monthly gross income, subtracting allowable deductions, calculating 30 percent of the remaining income and subtracting the total from the maximum allowable federal benefit.
However, there are restrictions on what you can use your food stamp benefits on. For instance, you can use food stamps to purchase fresh or canned vegetables, meat and grains. You cannot use it to purchase pet food or other household items you may find in a grocery store, such as soap or shampoo. Additionally, you generally cannot use it to purchase hot meals or prepared food.
Mississippi also has a Fresh Savings program that allows SNAP recipients to access additional sales at certain retail stores and farmers’ markets. For example, if a shopper spends $20 on SNAP-eligible food, he or she can receive an additional $20 worth of SNAP-eligible food for free. This can help food stamp recipients stretch their SNAP food benefits.
If your household monthly income is less than $150 and you have less than $100 in cash and savings, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits within a week. You may also qualify for immediate benefits if your mortgage or rent payments exceed your monthly income.
Name: Mississippi Department of Human Services
Phone Number: 800-877-7882
Address: 200 South Lamar Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201
Director: Christopher Freeze