SNAP FAQ: What Is the Pennsylvania EBT Card and How Can Residents Apply For Benefits?

Mother and daughter shopping vegetables groceries store.
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The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services administers the state’s SNAP benefits, formerly known as the food stamp program. Eligible low-income households receive their monthly benefits on their Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS card. Keep reading to learn more.

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SNAP recipients can use their Pennsylvania EBT ACCESS card to purchase groceries, snacks and seeds or plants that produce food. Most major grocery store chains and supermarkets accept EBT cards, which work like credit or debit cards at point of sale terminals.

To receive SNAP benefits, the DHS says that your income must be under certain limits. However, SNAP households may receive deductions from their gross income for housing costs, child or dependent care payments and medical expenses higher than $35 for older adults or people with disabilities.

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There are also work requirements. Pennsylvania SNAP recipients who are able-bodied adults without dependents need to fulfill work requirements in order to continue to receive SNAP benefits. Here are the work requirements, according to the DHS:

  1. Work at least 80 hours per month, on average.
  2. Participate in and comply with a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program, a Trade Adjustment Assistance Act program or an approved employment training program for 80 hours or more per month.
  3. Participate in an approved program for 20 hours or more per week.
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If you don’t meet work requirements, you will only receive three months of SNAP benefits during a fixed three-year period.

Pennsylvania residents can apply for SNAP online by using the COMPASS portal, found here, or in-person by filing an application at the county assistance office. Applications can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania DHS website, located here. If you need assistance completing the SNAP application, trained county assistance office staff can help in person.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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