The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps in West Virginia, helps low-income families gain access to healthy foods. The SNAP program is federally funded but operates at the state level by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). Recipients receive an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that contains a monthly allowance. This money must be used only for purchasing foods at participating grocery and convenience stores.
To qualify for SNAP food stamps in West Virginia, there are several eligibility requirements that you must meet. Income and state residency are two of the most important determinants. Once you review the qualifications, you can submit your application and wait to hear back from a program caseworker. To learn more about the program, review the sections below.
Learn About West Virginia Food Stamps Requirements
Food stamps eligibility in WV depends on several factors, including income, assets, residency and legal status. The first thing to consider is residency. To qualify for food stamps, you must be a West Virginia resident and provide proof of address. This can be a utility bill or a mortgage payment. If you do not reside in the state, you cannot receive benefits there.
On that same token, the SNAP eligibility requirements state that you must be a lawful U.S. resident to qualify. If you are an undocumented immigrant, you may not be able to receive benefits. However, children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants may qualify. Other eligible non-citizens can include:
- Victims of sex or drug trafficking.
- Lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
Every year, the Bureau for Children and Families releases monthly income limits for food stamp applicants. To qualify, applicants must have a gross income that falls at or below the listed figures. This requirement is to ensure that the program helps those who could benefit from it the most.
Download our free guide to learn all the requirements for the program.
Food stamp qualifications also include an asset or resource limit for some applicants. This is typically a requirement for families with an elderly person or someone with a disability. The total cash value of these resources cannot be more than a certain amount to meet the WV SNAP eligibility requirements. Resources that can count toward the limit include, but are not limited to:
- Checking and savings bank accounts.
- Retirement funds.
- Prepaid burial plans.
Note: If accepted into the program, you may need to comply with a work requirement. This generally entails actively looking for work or maintaining your employment to continue receiving benefits.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in West Virginia
To apply for food stamps in West Virginia, you must complete the process in person. Currently, there is no way to apply for food stamps online, via mail or by phone. The first step in the process is filling out the application. It requires inputting personal information, such as:
- Your income.
- Your assets.
- Your family circumstances.
- Your medical and housing costs.
In the WV food stamp application, you will also need to provide information on your household members.
Furthermore, when you apply for SNAP in WV, you will likely need to disclose any criminal convictions for yourself and/or a household member, as this may affect your eligibility for the program.
Note: It can take up to 30 days to receive an answer from the program regarding your food stamp application and get benefits. However, you can gain access to benefits within seven days if you can prove that your household is in urgent need of them. This process involves showing documentation of a low monthly gross income and liquid resources when you apply to the program. You must also show that your housing costs are higher than your income.
It is vital that you review your information after completing the SNAP application to check for errors or inconsistencies. If a program caseworker detects wrong or incorrect details, it will likely delay your application process and in turn, your benefits. Once you fill out the application, you must submit it to a DHHR office near you.
Learn About SNAP Benefits in West Virginia
Once you are accepted into the program, you will receive your SNAP benefits on an EBT card. This card, which works just like a debit or gift card, will hold your monthly allowance and can be used to purchase food items.
Every month, usually on the same day, the program will deposit these funds on your card. If you do not use all the funds within a month, they usually roll over to the next month. However, if you go a long period without using your food stamp benefits in West Virginia, your account may be flagged and re-evaluated.
Most grocery and convenience stores accept EBT cards. Keep in mind that you can only buy eligible food items with the card. This includes:
- Dairy and animal products.
- Vegetables and fruits.
Keep in mind that not all foods can be bought using SNAP food benefits. For instance, hot foods, live animals and vitamins are not eligible food items. Because the program strives to provide healthy foods to SNAP recipients, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and tobacco are also prohibited.
For a list of food items you can buy with an EBT card, download our free guide.
When participating in the food stamps program, you must abide by the rules to continue receiving SNAP benefits. It is against the rules to let a non-SNAP recipient use your EBT card to make food purchases. You are also not allowed to exchange your card with someone in exchange for the purchase of non-eligible items.
Furthermore, when receiving WV SNAP benefits, you also agree to report when your income exceeds the limit outlined in the eligibility requirements. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in the suspension of benefits and/or removal from this program.
Note: If you disagree with an action taken against you or feel you have been a victim of discrimination, you can request a formal review of your case.
Name: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families
Phone Number: (304) 558-0684
Address: 350 Capitol Street, Room 730, Charleston, WV 25301
Cabinet Secretary: Billy J. Crouch
Last Updated: February 27, 2023