Social Security: You Can Apply For SNAP at the Same Time You Apply For SSI

Senior woman takes her granddaughter grocery shopping. stock photo
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If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you may also be eligible for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. To make it even easier, when you apply for SSI, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also allows you to apply for your state’s SNAP to save time.

SNAP provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Benefits are deposited monthly into SNAP accounts linked to EBT cards, which work just like credit or debit cards. Most major grocery store chains and retailers — like Target or Walmart, for example — accept EBT cards to purchase SNAP-eligible items. Eligible items are typically food items that can be prepared at home (or seeds to plant and later provide food), excluding food that is hot when sold or other prepared meals.

SSI provides benefits to those with limited income and resources. SSI is also for certain people who are 65 or older, and those who are blind or have disabilities.

While your SNAP benefit amount depends on your household income and size, the basic monthly SSI payment for 2023 is the same nationwide — $914 for one person or $1,371 for a couple. SNAP and SSI also saw a major cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for fiscal year 2023. The COLA for SNAP kicked in on Oct. 1, 2022 — and will hike the maximum monthly benefit by 12.5% — while the SSI benefit amount increased by 8.7% for the new year.

SSA and USDA Team Up To Provide Better Service

As previously reported by GOBankingRates, the SSA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will partner on a new initiative designed to advance food and nutrition security for seniors and low-income households. This partnership will make it easier for people to get the services they need while reducing administrative burdens for state and local administrators.

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On Dec. 8, the SSA and USDA announced a partnership — one designed to help connect SSI and SNAP benefits and improve efficiency. The SSA will now notify SSI applicants and recipients of their eligibility for SNAP. This means that when a household applies for or receives SSI, the agency will also help them apply for SNAP.

The SSA is also expanding the use of electronic applications and telephonic signatures. This will make it easier for SSI recipients to complete their SNAP application.

If your household is applying for SSI or already receiving SSI, the SSA will:

  • Notify you if your household is eligible for SNAP.
  • Help you complete your SNAP application over the phone. Call 1-800-772-1213, or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Help you complete the application in person if you have a scheduled appointment.
  • Mail you a SNAP application if requested.
  • Send your completed application to your local SNAP office for you.

You also have the option to mail your application to your local SNAP office — or apply online through your state’s benefits portal.

According to the SSA, you can find your local SNAP office (or apply online) by visiting the Food and Nutrition Service’s SNAP State Directory of Resources website. You can also call the SNAP information line at 1-800-221-5689.

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