Apply for Benefits

Contact Us
Contact Us 1-800-692-7462
E-mail Us E-mail Us
Welfare Fraud TipLine

Welfare Fraud TipLine 1-800-932-0582

View hot line data here

  • 17,798 complaints received
  • 4,973 Field Investigations
  • $16,837,332 saved
  • November 1, 2013 - October 31, 2014

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the new name for the Food Stamp program. These benefits are used to buy food and help eligible low-income households in Pennsylvania obtain more nutritious diets by increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. If you are eligible, you will receive a Pennsylvania Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card which is used to make food purchases at grocery stores and supermarkets.SNAP Logo

    How to Apply:

    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

    Application for cash assistance, SNAP and Medical Assistance Benefits (English version)

    Solicitud para recibir beneficios(Solicitud para recibir beneficios)

    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?

    Beginning October 2014:

    Family Size12345678910Each Additional

    Through September 2014:

    Family Size12345678910Each Additional
    Maximum$189$347$497$632$750$900$995$1137 $1279 $1421 +$142 

    The minimum benefit for eligible households is $16.

    More information about the eligibility requirements for SNAP can be found in the SNAP Handbook.

    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.

    Is there a resource/asset limit for SNAP?

    Yes. Most SNAP households are subject to a limit of:

    $5,500.00For any household that does not have an elderly or disabled member
    $9,000.00For any household that has an elderly (age 60 or older) or disabled member

    Assets include, but are not limited to: bank accounts, cash on hand, cars and motorcycles.

    Certain assets do not count in the asset test. Some of the assets that do not count include: one car, income tax refunds, educational savings accounts, pensions, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and the home you own and live in.

    Additional information regarding countable assets and the asset limits are available by viewing chapter 540, in the SNAP policy handbook.

    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.


    How do I check the balance for my SNAP benefits to know how much I have?

    • The best way to know your balance is to keep your last receipt.
    • If you lose your last receipt and need to know your balance, call the recipient hotline, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, at 1-888-EBT-PENN(1-888-328-7366).
    • Information is also available online at

    How can I figure out how to feed my family healthful foods on a lower budget?

    The United States Department of Agriculture provides several resources to help you prepare healthy meals on a low budget:

    Pennsylvania provides additional information about healthy eating through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed).

    The SNAP Recipe Finder helps you create cookbooks and shopping lists. Use it to search for recipes based on total cost or cost per serving.

    What should I do if I need food right away?

    Contact your regional food bank and ask for the nearest food distribution site. For information on food banks in your area visit or contact your local county assistance office.


    General Information About SNAP

    A Blueprint for a Hunger-Free Pennsylvania

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamp) Policy Handbook

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Web site




    The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

    For any other information dealing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues, persons should either contact the USDA SNAP Hotline Number at (800) 221-5689, which is also in Spanish or call the State Information/Hotline Numbers (click the link for a listing of hotline numbers by State); found online at

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.





    Topics Related to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)