If you are struggling to afford groceries, then you should apply for the Missouri food stamps program. Commonly referred to as food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides low-income families and individuals with monthly benefits for purchasing nutritious foods.
The SNAP program widely consists of households with children, seniors and people with disabilities. However, any applicant whose income is lower than the poverty level may qualify for food stamps. Moreover, applicants may be required to meet additional qualifications, such as residency and citizenship criteria.
The process to apply for food stamps is fairly straightforward, and the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) allows you to apply through several different methods. Once you are deemed eligible for the program, you can start receiving benefits right away. To learn more about eligibility requirements, the application process and how much in total benefits you can receive, continue reading below.
Learn About Missouri Food Stamps Requirements
In order to receive SNAP assistance in Missouri, you must first meet the food stamps eligibility requirements, which include:
- U.S. citizenship or residency
- Income limits
- Employment requirements
As a general rule, the SNAP program does not accept undocumented non-citizens into the program. In order to be a non-citizen who qualifies for SNAP, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be younger than 18 years of age
- Receive disability benefits
- Have lived in the U.S. for at least five years
Furthermore, all U.S. citizens and legal residents need to meet SNAP income guidelines. Overall, the federal nutrition program sets income limits every year according to the cost of living. As such, applicants cannot have an income that exceeds 130 percent of the federal poverty level.
The Missouri food stamps program takes into account the household’s combined gross income, as well as its net income after certain deductions have been made. This includes taxes and any allowable deductions, such as:
- Dependent care
- Housing costs
- Medical expenses
When calculating your gross and net income, SNAP also includes your resources or assets. In total, you cannot have more than $2,500 in countable resources. However, this total comes up to $3,750 if one of your household members is a senior or has a disability.
Furthermore, in order to qualify and maintain your SNAP eligibility, you must meet certain employment requirements. For instance, you will be required to work at least 80 hours a month or participate in a work program if you are unemployed. If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents who does not meet these requirements, then you will only qualify to receive benefits for three months within a three-year period.
The only instance when you will be exempt from work requirements is if you are pregnant, a minor, a senior or have a physical or mental disability. Download our free guide today to learn more about food stamp requirements.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Missouri
Depending on your preference, you are able to apply for food stamps in Missouri online, by mail or in person. However, you will first need the appropriate information and verifying documentation in order to apply.
For one, you will need to provide personal identifying information and the Social Security numbers (SSNs) of all household members for whom you are applying. Moreover, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide proof of identity, residency, income and immigration status.
Generally, you can complete the food stamp application online through the state’s official online portal. However, you may need to complete the pre-eligibility assessment before you can access the online application. In it, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your household composition and your income. At the end of the assessment, the results will determine whether or not you meet the SNAP eligibility requirements.
If you prefer to submit your application by mail, you can request a form by reaching out to the FSD. You may also download and print a form online. Then, you must mail the application along with your documentation to your local FSD office.
You can also apply for food stamps by submitting your application in person. In fact, this is the best way to get your application and interview in with just one visit. During your interview, you can expect an FSD staff member to discuss:
- SNAP eligibility requirements.
- Your rights and responsibilities as a potential benefits recipient.
- Your current financial situation.
For the interview, you should bring your verification documents as well as certain additional documentation verifying your income. However, be mindful that you can typically mail in or drop off any additional documents that you do not have in hand.
If you are deemed eligible for the SNAP program, you will receive benefits for as long as your certification period allows. In general, you will not need to apply for food stamps again, but you will need to recertify your eligibility status when your certification period ends.
Learn About SNAP Benefits in Missouri
After applying for the program, you can expect to receive SNAP benefits in 30 days from the date of the application. If you are going through extreme financial hardship, then you may be eligible to receive benefits in seven days.
You will receive food stamp benefits on the same day every month until the end of your certification period. However, the total amount of benefits you may receive will depend on your household’s size, composition and combined income. Generally, the larger your household is, the more benefits you are likely to receive.
The Missouri food stamps program establishes maximum benefit allotments for every household size on an annual basis. As a general rule, the amount of benefits you can receive decreases the more money you make. SNAP food benefits allow you to afford a variety of nutritious foods to help you achieve a balanced diet, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Bread and cereals
- Dairy products
On the other hand, you are not limited to these “staple foods.” The program allows you to purchase a variety of “accessory food” items, such as chips, ice cream, cookies and donuts. You can also purchase cooking and baking ingredients using SNAP benefits. Download our free guide to find out what foods you can buy with food stamps.
Name: Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division
Phone Number: (855) 373-4636
Address: P.O. Box 2320, Jefferson City, MO 65102-2320
Director: Robert J. Knodell
Last Updated: September 29, 2022