How To Apply For Food Stamps In Georgia

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program that offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. The program is run by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you live in this state and need to apply for a Georgia Peach Card, then the information below shows you how to apply for food stamps in Georgia. If you have additional questions or concerns about the Georgia SNAP program or the EBT application process, please contact the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services for assistance.

Who can apply for food stamp benefits in Georgia?
Anyone may apply for food stamp benefits. The program helps households that have limited income and resources. This includes households experiencing temporary crisis as well as households whose income is at or below the poverty level.

Where do they apply?
Each county has a Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) office. This department takes applications for food stamp benefits. Look under the county government section of your telephone book or go to the website of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) at www.dfcs.dhr.georgia.gov/locations to find the address and telephone number of your local department.

When can you apply?
All Department of Family and Children Services offices are open Monday through Friday, except weekends and holidays. Office hours are usually from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Call your local county department for the office hours in your area. Online applications are available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm via the Georgia COMPASS website at: www.compass.ga.gov.

What is an authorized representative?
An authorized representative is a person your household allows to apply for, to obtain and/or to use food stamp benefits on behalf of your household because you are unable to do so.

How do you apply for benefits?
To apply for benefits, the head of household, a household member, or authorized person representing the household may complete an application for assistance. An application can be received from your local County Department of Family and Children Services or from the DHS website. You can go to the office to apply, call the office to request that an application be mailed to your home address, or have someone get a form for you. You may copy the blank application found on the website at: www.dfcs.dhr.georgia.gov/foodstamps. Complete the form and mail or fax or take it to your local county office.

How do I apply for benefits online?
You may also apply for food stamps online via the COMPASS website at www.compass.ga.gov. COMPASS allows individuals to apply for food stamps online. Applicants who create an account online may check the status of their application and may also check their eligibility for other DHS programs via the COMPASS Pre-screening Tool. Additionally, COMPASS allows food stamp recipients to report changes in household circumstances and torenew their benefits online.

When is an application considered filed?
An application is considered filed when the application has the name of the head of household, address, date and signature of the head of household or another household member and is received by the local county department. The application may be filed in person, by mail or fax or online to the Department of Family and Children Services. An application should be filed at your local county Department of Family and Children Services, but any Department of Family and Children Services can accept your application. You should try to complete the entire application. It is very important that you give your telephone number and/or address so that DFCS is able to reach you by phone.

What happens once the application is filed?
You or a member of your household (or someone authorized to make application for your household) must be interviewed by a staff person from DFCS. The individual who is interviewed must know about your household situation. A phone interview is required. For elderly/disabled individuals or individuals experiencing problems coming to the office, the interview may be completed by telephone, a pre-arranged home visit, or an office visit. Contact your local department to find out about interviews.

What happens in the interview?
The caseworker will ask you questions about your household's income, resources, rent or mortgage, and utility costs. Certain households may also be asked about medical expenses, childcare and child support expenses. Proof of your household situation is necessary, so if you have the following information, you may bring it with you:

  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your citizenship such as birth certificate, U.S. passport, hospital record, etc.
  • Immigration papers for persons applying for benefits, who are not U.S. citizens
  • Social security numbers for persons applying for benefits
  • Proof of income for each household member
  • Last month's rent receipt or mortgage payment book
  • Medical bills for persons age 60 and older and/or disabled
  • Childcare receipts for children whose parents are working, in school, or in training
  • Additional information and proof may be required depending upon your situation.

If you do not have all the information when you first apply, you are given 10 days from the date of the interview to provide the required proof. The interview is an official and confidential discussion of the households circumstances. The interviewer must not simply gather and review information but must explore and resolve unclear or incomplete information.

If an individual in your household does not want to give us a social security number or information about immigration status or citizenship, the individual will not be eligible for food stamp benefits. Other household members may still be eligible for benefits. An individual is not reported to the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, for choosing not to give a social security number.

You may be eligible for food stamps benefits if:

  • You are a citizen of the United States or have a certain legal alien status
  • You provide all of the required documents as proof of the household's situation
  • You and/or other household members comply with work requirements
  • The household's monthly income does not exceed the income limits
  • Rent, mortgage, utilities or medical etc are considered in the eligibility determination process

How long does it take to get benefits?
The application must be processed and benefits available within 30 days from the date the application is filed. If your household has little or no income and meets specific criteria, the application must be processed and benefits available within 7 days. A notice is sent to each household stating whether the household is eligible for food stamp benefits. If eligible, the notice states the amount of benefits the household will receive and how long the household will receive benefits before having to reapply.

How much will you receive?
The amount of benefits your household receives depends upon the number of individuals in your food stamp household, the amount of household income and the amount of the deductions used in the budgeting process. The date of application affects the amount of benefits received by the household in the first month. As long as your household remains eligible, benefits are provided each month. Benefits remaining in your EBT account can be obtained until they are used up even if your food stamp case closes.

What can you do if you think the decision on your case in unfair?
You have the right to a fair hearing if you believe that the decision made on your case is not fair. You can request a fair hearing by writing or calling your local county; department. You should contact your local county department within 10 days of receiving your notice of eligibility, if you want to request a fair hearing.

How are food stamp benefits issued to you?
Benefits are issued using an electric benefit transfer (EBT) card and Personal Identification Number (PIN). If you are eligible for benefits and have never received as the head of a household, an EBT card will be mailed. The household uses the EBT card in authorized stores to purchase food. When the total amount of the food benefit purchase is determined at the check out counter, you swipe your EBT card through a point of sale device and enter your PIN number. The amount of the purchase is deducted from your total monthly allotment.

When are benefits available to the household?
Benefits are credited to the EBT account from the 5th through the 23rd of each month. To access your benefits, you need your EBT card and PIN. If your EBT card is lost or stolen or you forget your PIN, call the EBT customer service help line at 1-888-421-3281. Your lost or stolen card will be cancelled. A new EBT card and/or PIN will be issued to your household. To obtain information on-line about your EBT account, log on to: www.ebt.acs-inc.com. Using your card number and Personal Identification Number (PIN), you can:

  • Check your current account balance
  • Review your transaction history
  • Change your PIN
  • Contact Customer Service

You must have your card number ready to access your information. Remember to keep your EBT card and PIN in a safe place. If someone gets your EBT card and PIN, that individual is able to obtain your benefits. Benefits taken from your EBT account are not replaced by DFCS.

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