How To Apply For Food Stamps In Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania Access Card, then the information below shows you how to apply for food stamps in Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or concerns about the Pennsylvania SNAP program or the EBT application process, please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for assistance.

How to Apply For Pennsylvania Food Stamps
There are a couple of different ways to apply for SNAP, please choose the option that suits you. If you do not know if you are eligible, you may still apply. You can apply for or renew your SNAP benefits online by using COMPASS. COMPASS is the name of the website where you can apply for the SNAP program and many other services that can help you make ends meet. Or, you can file an application at your local county assistance office. Download an Application for SNAP benefits from the Web and return it to your local county assistance office.

If you need help completing the application form or need more information about benefits, trained county assistance office staff can help you. The following persons may apply:

  • The head of the household;
  • The spouse of the head of household;
  • Any other responsible household member; or
  • A designated authorized representative, who can be a friend, relative, neighbor, or anyone else the applicant trusts to go food shopping and use his/her SNAP benefits.

What are the minimum and maximum monthly benefit amounts?

Family Size Maximum
1 $194
2 $357
3 $511
4 $649
5 $771
6 $925
7 $1022
8 $1169
9 $1315
10 $1461
Each additional member +$146

How do SNAP benefits Work?
SNAP benefits are placed in an "electronic" account that only the recipient can use. This system is called Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT. The eligible household receives a plastic card, the Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS Card. This card allows withdrawals for food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets. The store simply uses the EBT ACCESS card to "electronically" subtract purchases from the SNAP account. The eligible household can only spend the amount that is in the account. This is not a credit card.

What are the income eligibility requirements?
To get SNAP benefits, your income has to be under certain limits. SNAP households may receive deductions from their gross income for things like housing costs, child or dependent care payments, and medical expenses over $35 for elderly or disabled people.

Questions Regarding SNAP Benefits
If you have questions about SNAP you may call the Department of Human Services Helpline toll-free at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 TDD number for individuals with hearing impairments) or your local county assistance office.

Apply for Pennsylvania SNAP Benefits
For your convenience, there are now three different ways to apply for or renew your benefits. You may choose to do so online, with a paper application, or in person.

  • Online - using the COMPASS website
  • In Person - Visit your local county assistance office and apply in person
  • Paper Application - Download the paper application (English Version or Version Espanola and mail it to your local county assistance office

You can also check your eligibility before submitting your application using the online COMPASS website.

Not sure where to start?
If you or someone you care for is in need of long-term services and supports but are unsure of where to start when searching for benefits, try the Information Referral Tool. A short questionnaire will point you toward assistance based on individual needs.

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