Food Stamps (SNAP Food Benefits)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal nutrition program. Known previously as “food stamps,” SNAP benefits can help you stretch your food budget if you have a low income.

Learn About the Types of Food You Can Buy With SNAP Benefits

If you’re eligible, you can purchase food using benefits that are issued to you monthly. You can use your SNAP benefits to buy a variety of foods for your household, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products

Breads and cerealsSee the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) list of foods and products you can buy using SNAP benefits.

Find Out If You Are Eligible for SNAP

To determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits, you must meet certain requirements. States have income limits for SNAP recipients. They can also factor in your resources, such as money in the bank, to decide if you qualify for SNAP.  

Apply for SNAP Benefits

Use the online map to apply for SNAP and to find your state and local offices and phone numbers. You may also apply in person at your state or local office.

How Your SNAP Benefits Work

Your state will issue benefits each month on a plastic electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. Much like a credit or debit card, you can use your EBT card to buy eligible food items. You must buy them from:

Authorized SNAP grocery stores

Participating farmers markets

Some states have websites set up for managing your benefits. If your state doesn’t have an EBT management website, you can contact your state SNAP office to check your benefits.

File a Complaint About SNAP

Whether you currently receive SNAP benefits or you’re in the process of applying, you can file a complaint using these resources:

Contact your local field office to request a hearing if you have questions about your benefit amount.

File a complaint online or by phone about a SNAP retailer. You will need to give the name and the location of the store. You may remain anonymous if you choose.

Contact your state’s SNAP fraud hotline or website if you suspect fraud or abuse of the SNAP program.

Learn how to file a complaint if you believe you have experienced discrimination in the SNAP program because of:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Religious creed
  • National origin
  • English proficiency
  • Political beliefs

SNAP Information For Retailers

Learn how to work with SNAP if you are a retailer or if you operate a farmers market.

Welfare or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally funded, state-run benefits program. Also known as welfare, TANF helps families achieve independence after experiencing temporary difficulties.

Learn About TANF

Recipients may qualify for help with:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Home energy
  • Child care

Job trainingEach state runs its TANF program differently and has a different name.Some tribal groups operate their own TANF programs.

Find Out If You’re Eligible for TANF

Each state or tribal territory has its own rules for who is eligible for financial help, services, or other benefits.
You must be a resident of the state where you are applying.

Apply for TANF

Contact your nearest TANF office to sign-up for benefits.

Report TANF Fraud

If you suspect possible welfare fraud, contact:

Your local TANF office 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline

Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Medicaid is a federal and state health insurance program for people with a low income.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers health coverage to children. To be eligible, the child’s family must have an income that is:

  • Too high to qualify for Medicaid
  • Too low to afford private coverage

Medicaid and CHIP program names are different in each state.

Learn About Medicaid

What help is available through Medicaid?Medicaid provides free or low-cost medical benefits to eligible:

  • Adults with a low income
  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are age 65 or over

People with disabilitiesAm I eligible for Medicaid?Check with your state’s Medicaid office to see if you or your family members are eligible for benefits. In general, it depends on at least one or a combination of:

  • Age
  • Income level
  • Number of people in your family
  • If you are pregnant or have a disability

How do I apply for Medicaid?

There are two ways to apply for Medicaid:

Contact your state Medicaid agency. You must be a resident of the state where you are applying for benefits.

Fill out an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Learn About the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

If your income is too high for Medicaid, your child may still qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It covers medical and dental care for uninsured children and teens up to age 19.

Is my child eligible for CHIP?

CHIP qualifications are different in every state. In most cases, they depend on income.

How do I apply for CHIP benefits?

You have two ways to apply for CHIP:

Find a program by state, or call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

Fill out an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

What else do I need to know about CHIP?

You can apply for and enroll in Medicaid or CHIP anytime during the year.

Learn how to use your Medicaid or CHIP coverage.

Like Medicaid and CHIP, the Basic Health Program (BHP) offers affordable, continuous coverage. It’s an optional program that your state may offer.   It’s available to people with incomes that shift above and below Medicaid or CHIP levels.

Get information on other common types of health insurance, such as Medicare, and find help paying for medical bills.

File a Complaint About Medicaid or CHIP

If you have a problem with Medicaid or CHIP services, you can file a complaint. These programs are managed by each state rather than the federal government. Contact your state’s Medicaid program to report your issue.

MI Asian Staff
Author: MI Asian Staff