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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(Food Stamp Program)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly benefits that help eligible low-income households buy the food they need for good health.  For most households, SNAP funds account for only a portion of their food budgets; they must also use their own funds to buy enough food to last throughout the month. Eligible households can receive food assistance through regular SNAP or through the Louisiana Combined Application Project (LaCAP).

For more information on SNAP and other services available through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), call 1-888-LAHELP-U (1-888-524-3578).

SNAP participants may also meet the income eligibility guidelines for nutrition services through the Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC) offered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Learn more about WIC and find out if you qualify.

 

 
Print Budget Sheet

Budget sheets are frequently used by other organizations as proof of SNAP benefits. Print your Budget Sheet by accessing your account in CAFÉ.

Regular SNAP

Qualifying for Regular SNAP

To get benfits through regular SNAP, households must meet certain tests, including resource and income tests.
  • Resources:  Most households are exempt from the resource limit. In addition, individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or households including anyone who receives Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP), or Strategies to Empower People (STEP) Program benefits are exempt from the resource limit.  Households not exempt from the resource limit may have up to $2000 in resources, such as a bank account. Non-exempt households that include at least one household member who is age 60 or older or includes a disabled member may have up to $3250 in resources.

    Households are not exempt from the resource limit if:
    • Any member is disqualified for Intentional Program Violation,
    • Any member of the household is ineligible because of a drug-related felony, or
    • The household is disqualified for failing to comply with work registration requirements.

    The following individuals are not exempt from the resource limit:
    • An ineligible alien,
    • An ineligible student,
    • An individual who is disqualified for failure to comply with work registration requirements,
    • An individual who is disqualified for failure to provide or apply for a social security number, and
    • An individual who is on strike.
  • Income: Households must meet income tests (unless any member is receiving FITAP, KCSP, STEP benefits, or all members are receiving SSI).
    Most households must meet both the gross and net income tests, but a household with a person who is 60 years old or older or a person who is receiving certain types of disability payments only has to meet the net income test.
    Gross income means a household's total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made. Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions. Households, except those noted, that have income over the amounts listed below cannot get SNAP benefits.
Household Size
Maximum Gross Monthly
Eligibility Standard

Maximum Net Monthly
Income Eligibility Standard

Maximum Food
Stamp Allotment
1 $1,245
$   958
$189
2 $1,681 $1,293
$347
3 $2,116
$1,628 $497
4 $2,552 $1,963 $632
5 $2,987
$2,298 $750
6 $3,423
$2,633
$900
7 $3,858 $2,968 $995
8 $4,294 $3,303 $1,137
Each Additional
Member
+436 +335
$142

Other eligibility requirements:
  • Residence - the client must be living in Louisiana.
  • Citizenship - household members can include either US citizens and/or certain aliens with verifiable USCIS documentation.
  • Enumeration - households must provide or apply for Social Security numbers for each member before certification.
  • Work Registration - all able-bodied adults, with specific exceptions, must register for work and accept suitable employment.
See if you may be eligible:

Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool (English and Spanish)
(By clicking here you are NOT completing an application for SNAP benefits; instead, you are completing a pre-screening tool that can be used to help determine if you may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits.  Application for SNAP benefits must be made at your local DCFS office).

Visit the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program online and view the federal requirements for food assistance in several languages.


Louisiana Combined Application Project (LaCAP)

Qualifying for LaCAP

LaCAP is a food assistance program for Louisiana residents who are at least 60 years of age and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It is a simplified version of SNAP. If you are eligible for LaCAP, you will receive a Louisiana Purchase Card and SNAP benefits will be automatically deposited into your account every month. There are four standard allotment amounts in LaCAP. Depending on shelter costs, LaCAP participants will receive $34, $57, $90 or $112. LaCAP cases are certified for 36 months.

You may be eligible for LaCAP if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you:
  • Are age 60 or older,
  • Are not institutionalized or otherwise ineligible for SNAP benefits due to immigration status, an Intentional Program Violation, or drug conviction,
  • Live alone or buy and prepare your food separately or agree to buy and prepare your food separately from the other people who live with you, and
  • Are not living with your spouse or own child who is under 22 years of age.

Applying for LaCAP

Two ways:
After DCFS receives your application,you will be assigned a worker who will determine your eligibility.  DCFS will send you a letter within 30 days of the date we receive your enrollment form to let you know if you are eligible or not. If you are eligible, the letter will also tell you the amount of your benefits and when they will begin.

Other Options

Seniors receiving SSI who need food assistance do not have to use LaCAP.

Food assistance is available through LaCAP or through regular SNAP. If you receive benefits through LaCAP and you want to change to regular SNAP, you can do so at any time.

You may qualify for more benefits through regular SNAP if you:
  • Pay more than $35 per month in out-of-pocket medical expenses, or
  • Pay more than $491 per month for shelter costs.
LaCAP Program Information and Rights and Responsibilities

Applying for SNAP Benefits

How and Where to Apply

Step One:
Step Two:
Step Three (for downloaded applications filled out by hand only):
  • Mail the application to or drop it off at your DCFS parish office. (Applications are also available there to fill out).
Step Four:
  • After receiving your application, a DCFS employee will call you to conduct an interview over the phone, saving you time. Please provide a valid telephone number for contact purposes, or
  • If a face-to-face interview is requested, you may schedule an appointment with any DCFS parish office.
Questions?

*Households composed entirely of people who are applying for or receiving SSI may apply for SNAP benefits through regular SNAP at the Social Security Administration office unless they already have a SNAP application pending.

Regular SNAP Benefits Amounts

Benefit amounts are based on the Thrifty Food Plan amounts established by the USDA-Food and Nutrition Service. The Thrifty Food Plan is a current estimate of the actual costs for providing a household with nutritious but inexpensive meals.

Further, benefits depend on both the number of persons in the household and the net monthly income amount remaining after all allowable deductions have been subtracted. 

Income deductions allowed in the regular SNAP budget are subtracted from both earned and unearned income. The deductions are:

  • Earned Income Deduction - 20% of gross earnings
  • Standard Deduction - $152 for 1 to 3 household members;$163 for 4 household members; $191 for 5 household members and $219 for 6 or more household members.
  • Medical Deduction - allowable medical expenses incurred by elderly or disabled household members in excess of $35 per household.
  • Dependent Care Deduction - payments for the care of a child or other dependent which are necessary for a household member to work, look for work or attend school or training.
  • Child Support Deduction - allowable for payments of legally obligated child support.
  • Shelter Deduction - allowable shelter costs (rent or mortgage, property taxes, insurance on the structure and utility expenses) in excess of 50% of household income remaining after all other deductions. For households with an elderly or disabled member, there is no limit on the shelter deduction; for all other households the shelter deduction cannot exceed $478.  


How are My Benefits Issued? 

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is a method of delivering governmental benefits to recipients electronically.  Louisiana uses magnetic stripe card technology.  The card, which is referred to as the Louisiana Purchase Card enables recipients to access benefits at Point-of-Sale (POS) machines. 

SNAP benefits are posted to the recipients account during the first fourteen days of the month.  Recipient benefits are accessible by 5:00 a.m. the morning after they are posted.  Benefits are posted on the same date every month regardless of the day of the week.  Holidays and weekends do not affect the date of benefit availability.  In emergency situations, benefits are available immediately.

Benefits are secure and accessible only to persons authorized by the recipient.  The Personal Identification Number (PIN) is selected by the recipient and must be correctly entered in order to successfully complete all electronic transactions.  As purchases are made at grocery store checkout lanes, recipient accounts are debited and the recipient is given a receipt which provides the remaining account balance.


Eligible Food Items

Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:
  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:
    • breads and cereals;
    • fruits and vegetables;
    • meats, fish and poultry; and
    • dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:
  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
    • pet foods;
    • soaps, paper products; and
    • household supplies.
  • Vitamins and medicines;
  • Food that will be eaten in the store;
  • Hot foods.
In general, food products that contain alcohol or tobacco, items that are not intended for human consumption (e.g. paper products, pet foods, etc.), vitamins and supplements, and foods sold hot at the point-of-sale, are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.
 

Your Rights Regarding SNAP

Your have the right to:

  • Receive an application when you ask for it.
  • Turn in your application the same day you receive it.
  • Receive your SNAP benefits(or be notified that you are not eligible for the program) within 30 days after you turn in your application.
  • Receive SNAP benefits within 4 days if you are eligible and have little or no money.
  • Have a fair hearing if you disagree with any action taken on your case.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender, identify, religion, reprisal and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.uswda.gov/complaint_filing_customer.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

For any other information dealing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues, persons should either contact the USDA SNAP Hotline Number at (800) 221-5689, which is also in Spanish, or call the State Information/Hotline Numbers found online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/contact_info/hotlines.htm.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



SNAP Historical Information

This program was established by Congress in 1964 by PL 88-55 which was superseded by the Food Stamp Act of 1977 and subsequent amendments to the Act.  It is administered at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Food and Nutrition Service and at the state level by the Department of Children & Family Services.

Besides certification and issuance activities, the Food Security Act of 1985 mandated that employment and training services be provided for SNAP recipients who are mandatory work registrants.  The employment and training activities, known as the Louisiana Job Employment Training (LaJET) Program, are accomplished through the cooperative efforts of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the DCFS parish offices, (in parishes where available) local governing authorities in the State and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, which was signed into law on August 22, 1996, implemented many changes in SNAP, including a limit on the number of months certain persons can receive SNAP benefits without working.

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