What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly called Food Stamps) helps eligible low-income households buy food.
How do I apply for SNAP benefits?
- Applying online
- By telephone: 1-888-LAHELPU (1-888-524-3578)
- Visiting a local DCFS Office or DCFS Community Partner in your area
- Mailing a paper application to:
DCFS Economic Stability
P.O. Box 260031
Baton Rouge, LA 70826
- Faxing a paper application to DCFS at: (225) 663-3164
Who is considered a Student for SNAP purposes?
A student enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education (IHE).
Can I receive SNAP as a student?
Low-income college and university students may qualify for SNAP if they meet certain eligibility conditions.
What are the student eligibility conditions?
To be eligible to receive SNAP benefits, a student enrolled in an IHE must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Under age 18 and over age 49,
- Have a temporary or permanent disability,
- Caring for a child under the age of 12,
- Receiving Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) benefits,
- Placed in an IHE through employment and/or training programs,
- Employed and paid for at least 80 hours per month, or 20 hours per week,
- Participating in an on-the-job training program, or
- Participating in a state or federally funded work-study program.
What type of documentation must be provided to verify student eligibility?
One of the following can be provided as verification:
- FAFSA Student Aid Report
- If you need any assistance obtaining your Student Aid Report, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
- Official award letter from the college/university showing eligibility for work-study
- You can verify if you are eligible for work-study by contacting your school’s financial aid office.
I have a student meal plan, am I still eligible for SNAP?
If your meal plan covers more than half of your meals per week, you are not eligible for SNAP, even if you meet any of the student eligibility conditions. You are considered a resident of an institution and residents of institutions are not eligible for SNAP.
This includes students living on or off campus who buy a meal plan from the institution when the amount of the purchased meal plan equals more than half of their meals. It does not matter if the purchase of the meal plan is required or by choice.
What makes a student ineligible for SNAP?
A student who does not meet any of the student eligibility conditions is ineligible for SNAP participation.
If I live with roommates or family, does that make me ineligible for SNAP?
No. If you live with relatives or non-related individuals, you may need to sign a statement indicating that you purchase and prepare food separately. This will be explained in more detail during the SNAP application process.
I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I eligible?
It depends on your immigration status. Certain lawfully-present non-citizens may be eligible. Find a complete list of the types of non-citizens that are eligible to apply here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility/citizen/non-citizen-policy.
How do I receive the benefits?
If you’re approved, you will be issued an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card in your name, which looks like a debit card. The card can then be used to purchase groceries at participating retailers.
How much will I receive if I qualify?
The exact amount of SNAP benefits you might receive is determined by your net monthly income, expenses, and other factors.
Will participating in SNAP affect my tax returns?
No. SNAP benefits are not taxable income.
Will participating in SNAP affect my employment? Can future employers see I used SNAP?
No. A past record of having received SNAP or any other government assistance isn’t publicly available information. Current and future employers can’t get this information without your written consent.
Will participating in SNAP affect my credit score?
No. By law, credit reporting agencies can’t include whether or not you have received any government assistance.
If I use SNAP benefits, will I be taking away benefits from other people that may need them too?
No. Using SNAP doesn’t impact someone else’s ability to use SNAP. Similar to Medicare, SNAP is an entitlement program, which means that anyone who qualifies can receive benefits.
Will this impact my ability to use other benefits I need, like unemployment insurance?