How to Apply for Food Stamps in Missouri
To apply for food stamps in Missouri, you have to meet the eligibility requirements established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The food stamps program (SNAP) is managed in the state by the Department of Social Services. If you are in the process of applying for benefits, we will walk you through what you need to know to successfully apply for SNAP Benefits.
The article will cover the eligibility requirements, including income limit, resources test, residency requirements, how much you will receive in food stamps if approved for benefits.
This post will cover:
Overview of the Food Stamps Program
How Much You Could Receive In Food Stamps
Missouri Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Missouri
What Happens After You Apply
About Food Stamps Program
The SNAP Benefits program, also known as food stamps offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible individuals and families.
The program is aimed at those who work for low wages, have low income or no income. You may not be denied food stamps benefits solely because you were denied from other state of federal programs.
The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The states are responsible for distributing benefits at the local level.
The food stamps program is the largest economic assistance program offered by the federal government to fight hunger and provide nutrition assistance.
In 2016, the government spent $70.9 billion on the 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 stop hunger and to improve nutrition and health of those on low income.
The program helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health. This includes individuals who:
- Have a job but have low income
- Are living on a 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?
The amount of food stamps benefits you will receive if approved is based on your household size and countable income after all deductions are applied.
Keep in mind that households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration.
The table below shows the maximum amount you could receive depending on the number of people in your household.
What Can I Buy with Food Stamps?
There are strict requirements about what you can and cannot purchase with food stamps.
Generally, food stamps benefits may only be used to purchase food for human consumption and seeds/plants to grow food at home.
Food Stamp benefits cannot be used for: household items, grooming products, tobacco, alcohol products, pet food, etc. Here are the allowed food items:
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 for your family to eat.
You cannot use your benefits to buy:
- Non Food items (pet foods, paper products, soaps,
- household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.).
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco.
- Food that will be eaten in the store.
- Hot foods (food cooked and served hot at the store).
- Vitamins and medicines.
Missouri Food Stamps Program
The food stamps program in Missouri is run by the Department of Social Services (DSS).
We are going to describe in detail what you need to successfully apply for food stamps in Missouri.
Missouri Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible, you must be a resident of Missouri and meet low-income eligibility requirements.
Of all the requirements, the income limit is the biggest factor that determines whether you are approved for benefits.
Make sure you review the income limit to be sure you are eligible before applying. If you determine that you are not eligible, there may be other nutrition assistance program you may be eligible for.
To apply for food stamps in Missouri, you must be a resident of the state of Missouri.
Only United States Citizens and certain categories of lawfully admitted non-citizens can apply for food stamps. See our detailed article on the topic here.
If your income (based on your family size) is less than or equal to the amounts in the charts below, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits.
Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made such as taxes or other withholdings.
Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.
- If your household’s gross income is below these amounts, it does not ensure that you will be eligible for a benefit.
- 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 apply.
For a detailed post on how to calculate your gross and net income, and documents you will be required to resent to support your food stamps application, click here.
What Counts As Income?
Cash income from all 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.
Households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration, including higher asset limit, are exempted from the gross income test, and are allowed and more excess shelter/utility cost deduction, and medical expenses over $35 per month.
Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.
What Counts as Resources?
Resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts.
Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count.
How to Apply for Food Stamps In Missouri
There are four ways in which you can apply for food stamps in Missouri:
1. Apply Online
You can apply for food stamps in Missouri online at the myDSS website as shown above.
2. Apply Over the Phone
3. Print Out the Application and Mail/Fax it In.
4. Apply in Person
You can also apply in person at a local Family Support Division (FSD) Office. To find a location near you, click here.
Documents You Need to Apply
Here are the documents you will need as proof when you apply for food stamps in Missouri:
- Missouri Driver’s license,
- Driver’s license (any state)
- Picture ID card
- Voter registration card
- Letter from your landlord
- Rent or mortgage receipt
- Phone, water, or other utility bill
- pay stub or employer statement
- Any retirement pension received, including veteran’s benefits or
armed forces allotment – A letter showing current benefit amount.
- short term or long term disability insurance – A statement from the insurance company or Social Security Administration.
- Birth certificate
- Military service records
- US Passport
- Naturalization Certificate
- Permanent resident card/Green card
What Happens After You Apply
After you apply for food stamps in Missouri, you must complete an interview with a representative of the Department of Social Services (DSS).
You will have to attend a face-to-face interview. During the interview, and you will be required to provide verification of your income and expenses.
If you are elderly or physically unable to travel to the DSS office for the interview, you can apply for a waiver, which is granted on a case by case basis based on hardship.
If your waiver request is granted, the face-to-face interview will be replaced with a phone interview.
If your application is approved, you will start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submit your application.
Do You Need Benefits Sooner?
In some emergency cases, you can get Food Stamp benefits in seven days or less.
If your household does not qualify for seven-day processing (expedited service), a decision about your eligibility will be made within 30 days of your application date.
How will I Receive Benefits?
If you are approved for Missouri food stamps, your monthly benefit will be deposited monthly on an electronic benefits card (EBT Card).
It is a plastic debit card with your name and card number on it as shown above.
Your EBT Card can be used to buy groceries at stores that accept food stamps.
Be sure to check the balance on your Missouri EBT Card before you shop with your benefits.
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 or are under age 18 or over age 50.
However, If you are a single, able-bodied adult without dependents in your home, you can only receive food stamps for 3 months in a 36-month period.
Missouri Food Stamps Work Requirements
If you Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) – meaning you are an individual age 18 through 49 who do not live with a child under 18 and who is fit for work – then you must comply with the work requirements to continue to receive food stamps.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) limits the receipt of Food Stamp benefits to any three months in a 36 month period for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who are:
- not working or volunteering (80 hours or more per calendar month), and/or
- participating in and complying with the requirements of a qualified training program or with employment and training known as Skillup for 80 hours or more per calendar month.
To receive Food Stamp benefits for more than three months in a 36 month period, all ABAWDs age 18 through 49 must comply with a training/work requirement.
Any month the ABAWD is not complying with a training/work requirement and receives a full month Food Stamp benefits is considered a non-work month and counts toward the three-month limit.
What If My Food Stamps Application Is Denied?
If your application for SNAP/Food stamps benefits is denied, there are other resources that you may qualify for. Here is a list:
Food Banks – There are many food banks in the state of Missouri that work to provide hunger relief to every county in the state and the city of St. Louis.
WIC Program – This is a program aimed at mothers and expecting mothers. It is a special supplemental nutrition program which provides services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to their 5th birthday based on nutritional risk and income eligibility. Call 800-392-8209 for more information.
Feeding America Backpack Program – This program helps children get nutritious and easy to prepare food so they have enough to eat on the weekends. To learn more, go to feedingmissouri.org
If you meet the eligibility for food stamps in Missouri, you can start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submitted your application to the Department of Social Services.
Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents must meet the work requirements to receive benefits unless exempted.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing you the information you need to apply for food stamps in Missouri.
If you have any specific questions about the application process that have not been addressed in this post or if you would like to share your experience applying for food stamps in Missouri, please let us know in the comments section below.