SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)


SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a county-administered, federal program that assists people and families with low incomes to purchase food and better meet their nutritional needs.

The program is not intended to supply all of a person's or family's food needs. Instead, it is a supplement to help them achieve or maintain their independence.

Amount & Eligibility for Benefits

SNAP eligibility depends on the household's level of income, family size, shelter and utility costs. Households must have income at or below 130% of the federal poverty guideline.

There is no gross income test for elderly or disabled households. Monthly benefit levels are based on income, number of certified (eating Units) in the household and any shelter or utility expenses paid/verified.

If everyone in a household qualifies for General Assistance (GA) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they would also qualify for SNAP. Households exiting the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) may still qualify for continued food assistance from the SNAP Program.

How to Apply

You will need to complete a Combined Application Form (CAF) and interview. Benefits are determined based on the date the first page of the CAF is received at the county office.

You can get a CAF from the Chisago County Center City Office by calling 651-213-5600, or North Branch Office by calling 651-213-5200.

If you are not able to go to your county office for an interview due to hardship, you can request a phone interview. You may also call the SNAP Hotline at 651-296-1835 in the Twin Cities metro area, or 800-657-3698 outside the metro area. For TTY service, call the Minnesota Relay at 711 or 800-627-3529.

You can apply for benefits online on the State of MN Website.

If you need assistance with your SNAP application, call Second Harvest Heartland SNAP outreach staff at 651-387-1606. They are available for one-on-one eligibility screening and application assistance.

How Benefits Are Received

Most food benefits are distributed through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), which is similar to a debit card. Each month, recipients' EBT accounts are credited with their benefits. During the month, recipients use their cards to purchase food at enrolled grocery stores. The EBT card is then swiped through a point-of-sale terminal and the purchases are deducted from the account balance.

The recipient may authorize an additional person to use the EBT card. SNAP benefits can be used to buy food, or plants and seeds to grow food for you or your family. They can also be used at authorized sites for Meals on Wheels and Congregate Dining.

Helpful Resources