Updated October 2019
WHAT IS SNAP?
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is the name of the Food Stamps Program. SNAP provides food assistance dollars to low-income households. SNAP benefits are distributed monthly on an EBT card (similar to a debit card) and can be used to purchase groceries. The amount of SNAP benefits a South Carolina household can receive is based on its income and expenses
CAN I GET SNAP?
You may be eligible for SNAP benefits if:
- You buy and prepare food for yourself and your family.
- You do not have to have your own address.
- You can share a living space with someone else or even be homeless
- Your gross household income is less than 130% of the Federal Poverty Line. Click here for more information on the 2019 FPL.
WHERE DO I GET SNAP?
There are many ways to apply for SNAP benefits:
- Apply online at the DSS website.
- Print a paper application from the DSS website and submit it via mail or fax. Keep a copy for your records and be able to provide proof of when you submitted the application, such as a certified mail receipt or fax confirmation.
- Apply in person at your county DSS office.
- Contact SC Thrive for assistance with completing a SNAP application.
WHAT DOCUMENTATION WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE WITH MY SNAP APPLICATION?
To support your SNAP application, you will need to provide documentation of the identity of those living in your SNAP household, the household income, and expenses. Examples of documents that can support your application include:
- Proof of your identity and the identity of others in your SNAP household
- Driver’s license
- Social security card
- Birth certificate
- Proof of all income received by the SNAP household
- Pay stubs
- Child support received
- Proof of all expenses incurred by the SNAP household
- Rent receipts or mortgage statements
- Utility bills
- Childcare expenses
- Child support paid
- Medical expenses (Note: only applies if a household member is older than 60 or experiencing a disability
Depending on your circumstances, DSS may ask you for other documents or information to support your SNAP application. It is important to be responsive to DSS’ requests so that your application is processed correctly. If you need help gathering the requested documentation to complete your application, DSS is supposed to help you do so.
How LONG SHOULD IT TAKE FOR DSS TO PROCESS A SNAP APPLICATION?
Under federal law, DSS has thirty (30) days to process your SNAP application, beginning on the date the application is submitted. If you are eligible for SNAP, you should have your EBT card and your first SNAP benefit within thirty days.
WHAT IF I NEED FOOD RIGHT AWAY?
DSS must process SNAP applications more quickly if the household is experiencing the following circumstances:
- If the household has less than $150 in gross monthly income and less than $100 in liquid resources*
- If the household’s combined monthly gross income and liquid resources is less than the household’s monthly rent or mortgage plus utilities. This is often the case when a household member loses his or her job.
- Migrant or seasonal farm worker households with little income and less than $100 in liquid resources
If these circumstances apply to your household, DSS must process your application and provide you with SNAP benefits within seven (7) calendar days of your SNAP application.
DO I NEED TO WORK TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SNAP?
Under federal law, able-bodied adults without children are limited to three months of SNAP benefits within a three-year period, unless they are working, volunteering, or in a workfare program such as SNAP Employment and Training.
HOW ARE SNAP BENEFITS DELIVERED?
SNAP benefits are delivered through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). You will be provided an EBT card when you are approved for SNAP. DSS deposit your SNAP benefits directly to your EBT card once a month. You can then use your EBT card to buy groceries at any retail store that accepts SNAP.
Please note that SNAP benefits do not expire; if you do not use your monthly benefit, it will carry over on your EBT card.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS IF I disagree with a DSS decision about my snap case?
If you apply for SNAP and DSS turns you down, or if you disagree with any other decision that DSS makes about your SNAP case (like a reduction or termination of benefits) you have the right to a Fair Hearing. You must request a Fair Hearing within ninety (90) days of a DSS decision.
SC Appleseed is in the process of updating our SNAP Fair Hearing Manual.
This brochure was produced by the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. This brochure is for information only. If you think you need legal assistance, you may want to contact your local legal services program by calling Legal Assistance Telephone Intake Service for a referral at 744-9430 in Columbia or toll free at (888) 346-5592 from other places in the state. SC Appleseed fights for low income South Carolinians to overcome social, economic and legal injustice.
To find out more about SC Appleseed, go to: www.scjustice.org
Copyright retained by South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center.
For permission to reproduce this brochure contact
P.O. Box 7187
Columbia, SC 29202