If you are looking for help on how to apply for food stamps in Hawaii, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will review the step by step process for completing your Hawaii food stamps application, including eligibility and what you need to successfully complete your application. This post will cover the following topics:
- Overview of the Food Stamps Program
- How Much You Could Receive In Food Stamps
- Hawaii Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements
- How to Apply for Food Stamps in Hawaii
- What Happens After You Apply
About Food Stamps Program
The Food Stamps Program also called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers help to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families living in the United States. The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services.
Benefits are distributed by each state’s Division of Human Services Department. The food stamps program is the largest economic assistance program offered by the federal government to fight hunger. In 2016, the government spent $70.9 billion on the Food Stamps Program, helping roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population).
Who Can Apply for Food Stamps
The Food Stamps Program was created to help fight hunger and to improve the nutrition and health of those on a low income. The program helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health. This includes individuals who:
- Are employed but have low income
- Are living on small or fixed income
- Have lost their job
- Are retired or disabled and not able to work
How Much In Food Stamps Will I Receive?
If you are eligible for food stamps, how much you will receive primarily depends on the number of people in your household, your income, and resources. To see if your household size and income may qualify for food stamps, use the table below. The table shows the maximum income amount you can receive each month based on the number of people in your household for 2019.
What Can I Buy with Food Stamps?
Once you’ve been approved for food stamps, you may wonder what you can buy with your food stamp benefits. There are strict requirements about what you can and cannot purchase with food stamps. Generally, you are allowed to buy food you plan to take home and prepare.
You can use your benefits to buy foods such as:
- Breads and cereals
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats, fish, and poultry
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants to grow food
You cannot use your benefits to buy:
- Non Food items (pet foods, paper products, cleaning products, household supplies, grooming items, cosmetics, etc.)
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
- Food that is prepared and can be eaten in store
- Hot, ready-to eat food
- Vitamins and medicines
- Baby food, diapers, and other supplies
Hawaii Food Stamps Program
The Hawaii food stamps program is run by the Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS). The Hawaii DHS Benefit, Employment & Support Services Division (BESSD) is responsible for issuing food stamp benefits to recipients via the Hawaii EBT card.
To find out what you need to successfully apply for food stamps in Hawaii, keep reading our post below.
Hawaii Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements
If you would like to apply for food stamps in Hawaii, you must first meet the eligibility requirements. Of all the requirements, the income limit is the biggest factor that determines whether or not you are approved for benefits. Make sure you review the Hawaii income limit to make sure you are eligible before applying.
If your income does not meet the limit, you will not be eligible for Hawaii food stamp benefits. However, there may be other government or nutrition assistance programs you may be eligible for.
Here is the full list of Hawaii food stamps eligibility requirements:
To receive Hawaii food stamps, you must be a resident of the state of Hawaii.
Only United States citizens and certain categories of lawfully admitted non-citizens can apply for food stamps. If you are a non-citizen, see our detailed article on the topic here.
If your income (based on your household size) is less than or equal to the limit amount listed in the chart below, then you may be eligible for SNAP benefits.
To see if your income is eligible, you must calculate your household’s monthly total gross income AND total net income. Gross income is a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made such as taxes or other withholdings. The total Gross Income Limit for Hawaii in 2019 is shown in the table below:
Net income is a household’s total gross income minus any allowable deductions. To calculate net income you would subtract all allowable deductions from your total gross income. The allowable deductions for food stamps can include:
- Shelter costs
- Household size costs
- Childcare costs
- Medical expenses for the elderly or disabled
- Child support costs
The standard allowable deductions, maximum shelter deductions and maximum asset limit for Hawaii are shown in the tables below:
Once you’ve determined your allowable deductions and have subtracted that from your total gross monthly income, you can now determine if you net monthly income meets the limit. The total Net Income Limit for Hawaii in 2019 is shown in the table below:
What counts as Income?
One commonly asked question among food stamps applicants is, “what counts as income?” Income is considered to be any money you earn from sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support are all counted towards your income (for food stamps purposes).
Please note that:
- If your household’s gross income is below these amounts, it does not ensure that you will be eligible for benefits.
- A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine eligibility and benefit amount.
- The only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to complete an application for Hawaii food stamps.
For a detailed post on how to calculate your monthly gross and net income, including the documents you’ll be required to present to support your food stamps application, check out our 2019 Food Stamps Income Limit article.
Households may have up to $2,250 in countable resources or $3,500 If a household member is age 60 or older, or is disabled. Countable resources includes cash or money in a bank account.
What counts as Resources?
Countable resources are defined as any monetary source that can be available to the household to purchase food. This includes money in a bank account and cash savings. Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Also, most automobiles do not count as accessible resources.
How to Apply for Food Stamps In Hawaii
Here are the four ways you can apply for Hawaii food stamps:
1. Apply Online
2. Apply by Phone
Call the Hawaii Department of Human Services to apply for food stamps over the phone. You can call the Hawaii DHS help hotline at 855-643-1643 to complete an food stamps application over the phone.
3. Apply by Mail or Fax
Download, print and complete the Hawaii Food Stamps Application, then mail or fax it to your local Hawaii DHS office. You can download the Hawaii Food Stamps Application here. You can also call the Hawaii DHS hotline at 855-643-1643 to have an application mailed to you.
Once your application is completed, you can mail it into your local DHS or fax it to 808-586-4890. You can also drop off your completed food stamps application at your local DHS office. To find your local Hawaii DHS office mailing address, visit our Hawaii SNAP Office Location Directory here.
4. Apply in Person
You can apply for Hawaii food stamps in person at a local Department of Human Services office. To find an office near you, click here.
Hawaii DHS Contact Information
For additional questions about the SNAP application process, you can call the Hawaii DHS help hotline at the phone number below:
Help Hotline: 855-643-1643
Fax Number: 808-586-4890
Email: [email protected]
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:45 am – 4:30 pm
You can also access EBT account information and help at www.ebtaccount.jpmorgan.com or by calling the toll-free phone number at 1-888-328-4292.
What Happens After You Apply
After you apply for Hawaii food stamp benefits, you must complete an interview with a case worker at your local DHS office. An interview must be completed in order to receive food assistance benefits.
Your interview interview may be done by phone or in-person at your local DHS agency office. You may submit a request for an in-person or phone interview by emailing the DHS scheduling contact at . Interviews for food assistance are conducted Monday through Friday from 7:45am to 3:00pm.
You may also complete a walk-in interview at your local DHS during the interview hours listed above. You will receive more information regarding your Hawaii food assistance interview once your food stamps application is submitted and processed.
How will I Receive Benefits?
If you are approved Hawaii food assistance, your benefit amount will be deposited to your Hawaii Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, also known as the Hawaii EBT Card on the same day each month.
The Hawaii EBT card is a plastic, debit-like card that can be used at point-of-sale (POS) terminals to purchase eligible food items. Your Hawaii EBT card will be mailed to you and have your name, card number, and the Hawaii EBT logo on it. Your EBT card can be used to buy groceries and other food items at stores that accept food stamps.
How Long Can I Be on Food Stamps?
There are no limits to how long you can get food stamps if you have children/dependents living in your household that are under the age 18 or over the age 50. If you are a single, able-bodied adult receiving food stamps and do not have dependents in your home, you can only receive food stamps for 3 consecutive months in a 36-month period.
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We hope this post about applying for Hawaii food assistance was helpful to you! If you have any additional questions about how to apply for food stamps in Hawaii, please leave those in the comments section below. If you have complaints about your experience applying for the Hawaii SNAP program, we would like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.