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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Food Assistance Programs
There are many programs to help people with their food needs, such as emergency food help, Expedited SNAP (formerly called Food Stamps) and Minnesota Food Assistance.
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If you need food right now, Minnesota Hunger Partners and the Minnesota Food Helpline (1-888-711-1151), a program of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, can help you find a food shelf, food bank or meal. Also check MinnesotaHelp.info for a listing of emergency food resources around the state. Find information on the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Web page.
You may also apply for Expedited SNAP which makes benefits available quickly to households unable to meet their food needs. If you are eligible, benefits will be issued within five working days. Contact your county (PDF) for more information.
Expedited SNAP is available to the following types of households:
You may receive expedited service in Minnesota if you meet the above requirements, even if you received SNAP in another state during the month of application.
Many families are concerned about the rising costs of food. This pamphlet from the USDA (PDF) contains tips on how to stretch food dollars through budgeting, food selection and low-cost recipes.
What is the SNAP program?
SNAP is a county-run federal program that helps Minnesotans with low incomes get the food they need for sound nutrition and well-balanced meals. The program issues electronic SNAP benefits that can help stretch your household food budget. This flier provides more information about the SNAP program (PDF).
How do I get started?
This Screening Tool asks a few questions to help you determine if you may be eligible for SNAP. It is available in Hmong, Russian, Somali and Spanish at your county agency.
Am I eligible?
SNAP eligibility depends on your household’s income. Households with an income at or below 165 percent of the federal poverty guideline that have also received the Domestic Violence Information Brochure (PDF), will not have an asset limit. The brochure is available on this website or at your county office. Just tell your county worker that you have received the brochure. County human services agencies accept client applications, determine eligibility, and determine benefit levels in accordance with state and federal regulations. SNAP is available in all 87 Minnesota counties.
What is the next step?
To apply for SNAP, contact your county human services agency (PDF). You can find your county government’s web site on the state’s Minnesota.gov website. You may also call the SNAP Hotline at (651) 431-4050 in the Twin Cities metro area or 1-800-657-3698 outside the metro area. For TTY service, call the Minnesota Relay at 711 or 1-800-627-3529.
Next, go to Apply MN or print out and complete the Combined Application Form (CAF) (PDF) and have an interview. The CAF is the application counties require you to complete to apply for SNAP and cash assistance. When your benefits begin depends on the date the county receives the first page of the CAF. You can get a CAF from your local county office or from the Minnesota Department of Human Services Web site. If you are not able to go to your county office for an interview, you may request a phone interview.
Where can I shop?
Grocery stores and convenience stores must sell a variety of foods in order to be authorized to accept Minnesota’s Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which is similar to a debit card. Each month, your EBT account is credited with your benefits. During the month, you use your card to purchase food at enrolled grocery stores. Authorized stores will display a poster or sign that reads: “We Accept EBT.” The card may be used at authorized sites for Meals on Wheels and congregate dining. Many farmers markets also accept EBT.
Because Minnesota’s SNAP program is county-administered, it is best to begin by contacting the county office where you live. These links may be helpful:
Or you can call:
Problems with your benefits
Problems with your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, DHS is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call 1(800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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