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LAW Home > Legal Topics > Government Aid and Services > Food - Hunger/Nutrition > Food Stamps/SNAP

SNAP—Am I Eligible?


Click here to apply for food stamps

The food stamp program is also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP benefits come on an electronic benefits card (EBT) that works like a debit card. SNAP can be used to buy groceries, but not other items like soap or paper products. Many families qualify for the program, even if they work, own a home, or own a car. The following information can help you figure out if you might qualify for the program.

Aren’t food stamps/SNAP just for people on welfare?

No. Most people who are eligible for food stamps/SNAP are not receiving WorkFirst NJ (WFNJ) welfare benefits.

Can I get food stamps/SNAP if I work?

Yes. If you are working, and your total household income is below 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL), you might qualify for food stamps/SNAP, depending on your expenses.

How do I know if I can get food stamps/SNAP?

Households must first meet an income test. For most, this means a gross income of less than 185% of the FPL. (See chart below.) Gross income means all income before taxes. Some things aren’t counted, like certain retirement accounts and any child support payments paid to someone else. If you meet this gross income test, the SNAP agency will then take into account some of your expenses, such as housing costs and child care costs, and look at how much money you have left for food. If your income is less than the net income listed on the chart below, you should be found eligible for SNAP.

There are some situations where the 185% gross income threshold does not apply. For example, a household with someone over age 60 or a person who is receiving certain types of federal disability payments, may be eligible for food stamps/SNAP even if their income is above 185% FPL, if they have high housing costs or medical expenses. Also, if the agency finds that you previously committed an intentional program violation, such as failing to meet the work requirement, they will change the gross income requirement to 130% FPL, rather than 185%.

The chart below can help you figure out if you meet the income requirements for the Food Stamp/SNAP Program.

Household Income Limits for Food Stamps/SNAP

People in

Gross Monthly Income Limits at 130% of the FPL **

Gross Monthly income at 185% of the FPL *

Net Monthly Income Limits (100% FPL) ***

































Each additional person




  * This is the level applied to most households.
 ** This level is applied when a household has committed a prior intentional program violation.
*** This limit applies after taking certain expenses (deductions) into account.

Once I meet the gross income test, how do they determine my net income?

If you meet the gross income test, the agency will then factor in your expenses to determine how much money you have available for food. The following deductions will apply:

  • A 20 percent deduction from earned income.
  • A “standard” deduction (between $193 and $258 per month, depending on your household size).
  • A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education—for children or other dependents.
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 per month, if they are not paid by insurance or someone else.
  • Excess shelter costs that are more than half of the household’s income after the other deductions. Allowable costs include the cost of fuel used to heat and cook, electricity, water, the basic fee for one telephone, rent or mortgage payments, and taxes on the home. (Most households will get a set deduction for utilities of $730 per month if they pay for heating and cooling costs.) The total shelter deduction cannot exceed $624 per month, unless the household members are elderly or disabled.

If I qualify for food stamps/SNAP, how much will I receive?

Benefits for all households are adjusted each October. Not all eligible households receive the maximum. As of March 2023, all eligible households receive at least $95 per month in benefits.

People in Household

Maximum Monthly Food Stamp/SNAP Allotment

















Each additional person


NJ minimum monthly benefit for eligible households: $95

How do I apply for food stamps/SNAP?

You can apply online at If you can’t apply online, you can call the county SNAP agency and ask them to mail you an application, or complete it by phone. You can also apply in person at the County SNAP office. The food stamp/SNAP office must give you an application on the same day that you ask for one. If you submit a paper application, the office must accept the form on the same day you turn it in, even if they cannot interview you on that day. You can also get help completing an application from a SNAP Navigator. A list of SNAP navigators is available on the state SNAP website here.

Whether you complete the application online, or fill out a paper application, try and complete as much information as you can. If you are unsure of how to answer, or do not have all the information needed, you can still file an information, as long as you complete the first page and sign the application. (If you are completing the application online, you will “sign” the application by verifying the information and submitting. Fill in your name, address, telephone number, and as much other information as possible on the form. An agency worker will go over the application with you and help fill in anything that you could not answer.

Do I have to go the welfare office for an interview?

Not necessarily. For most households, interviews are temporarily waived. If your application is incomplete or more information is needed, you may receive a telephone call and have an interview over the phone. If you need to meet with a worker in person as an accommodation for a disability, you can ask for that. During the interview, a food stamp/SNAP worker will explain the program rules and help you complete any parts of the application that you have not filled out. The worker will also ask you for proof of certain information you have given. If you have trouble getting papers (documents) or information you need, the worker may be able to help you. If the papers are not easy to get, you may give the name of someone, such as your employer, who can confirm your statements. You can submit documents at the SNAP office, by mail, or by uploading them using the online application website. If you submit them in person, ask for a receipt with a list of the documents submitted. If you submit by mail, make a copy for yourself (or take a picture with your phone) and write down the date that the documents were mailed.

How long does it take to receive food stamps/SNAP?

If you qualify for food stamps/SNAP, you should get them no later than 30 days from the date the office got your application.

If your household has little or no money and needs help right away, you may be eligible for expedited food stamps/SNAP. This means that the food stamp/SNAP office must give you food stamps/SNAP within seven days of the date you apply.

The food stamp/SNAP office will usually not interview you on the same day that you turn in the application. After you have turned in your application, the food stamp/SNAP office will give you a date for an interview. They will contact you by telephone or mail with an interview time and date. If you can’t make the interview, contact the food stamp/SNAP worker right away.

How will I know if I am eligible for food stamps/SNAP?

After your interview, the food stamp/SNAP office will send you a notice. If you do not qualify for food stamps/SNAP, the notice will explain why. If you do qualify, the notice will explain how much your food stamp/SNAP benefit will be. It will also tell you how long you can get food stamps/SNAP before you must reapply.

If you think that your application has been wrongly denied or that you have not received the correct amount of food stamps/SNAP, you should tell the office. If they do not agree, you can ask for a fair hearing to challenge the decision. Contact your local Legal Services office or the LSNJLAWSM Hotline, online at, or by calling 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529) for more information.

Will I get stamps or coupons? How do I use food stamps/SNAP?

People who receive food stamps/SNAP don’t receive coupons anymore. Instead, the amount of the food stamps/SNAP is placed in an account. Recipients receive a plastic electronic benefits (EBT) card, similar to an ATM card or a debit card. The card can be used at grocery stores and other places where EBT/SNAP is accepted. The cost of the food is automatically deducted from the household’s food stamp/SNAP account. Keep your card secure and be aware of your surroundings when you use the card.

I am working and my income changes every month. Do I have to go back to the food stamp/SNAP office each month?

Probably not. If you are working when you apply for food stamps/SNAP, you only have to report changes in earned income every six months, unless your income goes above the gross monthly income limit for your household size (see the Household Income Limits for Food Stamps/SNAP chart.) If your income goes above the gross monthly income limit, then you must report this change within 10 days. If you stop working, or start receiving income other than earnings, you will need to report that as well. If your income goes down, however, you can ask the food stamp/SNAP office to readjust your food stamps/SNAP to reflect the loss of income.

Every six months you will receive an interim report form by mail that you need to complete and send back by mail. It is very important that you complete that form and send it back as soon as possible after you receive it, so that your benefits continue. Keep a copy of the form and make a note of the day you returned it. If you have any questions about it, contact your caseworker.

Where can I apply?

You must apply online or in the county where you live. Each county has at least one food stamp/SNAP office. The county offices are listed below. You can apply in person at the food stamp/SNAP office, or you can call or write for an application. You can also ask someone else to get an application for you. Some food stamp/SNAP offices are open early in the morning or in the evening. After you submit the application, you (or your authorized representative) will need to go to the food stamp/SNAP office for an interview, unless it would be a hardship for you to go to the office. If it would be a hardship, the food stamp/SNAP office can arrange for an interview in your home or at another location.

New Jersey Food Stamp/SNAP Offices




Atlantic County Department of Family & Community Development
1333 Atlantic Ave.
Atlantic City NJ 08401



Bergen County Board of Social Services
218 Rte. 17 North
Rochelle Park NJ 07662-3300



Burlington County Board of Social Services
Human Services Facility
795 Woodlane Rd.
Mount Holly NJ 08060-3316



Camden County Board of Social Services
101 Woodcrest Road, Suite 161
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003



Cape May County Board of Social Services
Social Services Bldg.
4005 Rte. 9 South
Rio Grande NJ 08242-1911



Cumberland County Board of Social Services
275 N. Delsea Dr.
Vineland NJ 08360



Essex County Department of Citizen Services
18 Rector St., 1st Fl.
Newark NJ 07102



Gloucester County Board of Social Services
400 Hollydell Dr.
Sewell NJ 08080



Hudson County Division of Social Services
John F. Kennedy Office Bldg.
2 Enos Place
Jersey City NJ 07306



Hunterdon County Division of Social Services
Community Services Center
6 Gauntt Place
Flemington NJ 08822  



Middlesex County Board of Social Services
New Brunswick
PO Box 509
181 How Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08903



Monmouth County Division of Social Services
3000 Kozloski Rd., PO Box 3000
Freehold NJ 07728



Morris County Division of Employment & Temporary Assistance Services
340 W. Hanover Ave.
Morris, NJ 07963

Dover Office:  Late hours — 4:30-6:30 PM
8 South Morris St.,
Dover NJ, 07801



Ocean County Board of Social Services
1027 Hooper Ave. North, PO Box 547
Toms River NJ 08754-0547



Passaic County Board of Social Services
80 Hamilton St.
Paterson NJ 07505-2057



Salem County Board of Social Services
147 S. Virginia Ave.
Penns Grove NJ 08069



Somerset County Board of Social Services
73 E. High St., PO Box 936
Somerville NJ 08876



Sussex County Division of Social Services
83 Spring St., PO Box 218
Newton NJ 07860-0218 



Union County Division of Social Services
342 Westminster Ave.
Elizabeth NJ 07208-3290



Warren County Welfare Board
Court House Annex
501 Second St., Box 3000
Belvidere NJ 07823-3000
Clients must be screened by phone first.