Youth Justice: SNAP (Food Stamps)

What are food stamps/SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)?

SNAP, or food stamps, provides assistance for low-income people to buy food. Your SNAP benefits are put on an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) ACCESS card, which is like a debit card. 

Who is eligible for SNAP?

Most low-income people are eligible for SNAP.  You might qualify if your income is below these amounts:

Household Size









Income Limit
As of 11/12/2015









If someone in your household is aged 60 or over, or receives disability benefits (like SSD or SSI), the income limit is even higher. 

How do I apply for SNAP?

Apply for SNAP at your local welfare office.  To find that office, you can call the County Assistance Office’s Customer Service Center at (215) 560-7226. You can also apply online at

Do I need to include the people I live with on my SNAP application?

You should list everyone you live with on your SNAP application, but you do not necessarily need to apply for SNAP for them (there is a box you can check that says you are not applying for a person you have listed).  Except for your children and your spouse, you only need to apply for SNAP for people who:

  1. Live with you, and
  2. Purchase and prepare food with you

How much will I get in SNAP benefits?

The amount of SNAP you can receive depends on your income, your expenses (especially your housing costs), and how many people are in your household.

I am over 18 but still live with my parents.  Can I get my own SNAP?

No. If you live with your parents, you are part of their household for SNAP purposes until you turn 22, even if you purchase and prepare your meals separately. Your parents will have to apply for SNAP for all of you until you turn 22 or no longer live with them.

I am 22 or older but still live with my parents.  Can I apply for my own SNAP?

Maybe. After you turn 22, you can get your own SNAP even if you live with your parents as long as you purchase and prepare your own food.

I am under 18. Can I get SNAP?

Maybe. If you live under someone’s “parental supervision,” then that person has to apply for you. If don’t live under parental supervision, then you can apply. If you are married or have children or purchase and prepare food with others, they must be included in your application.

I am a student.  Can I get SNAP?

It depends.  You are eligible if you meet the income requirements AND one of the following applies:

  1. Work at least 20 hours per week
  2. Are enrolled in a work-study program in school, or enrolled in school less than half-time
  3. Have a child, OR
  4. Are disabled

I am an immigrant.  Am I eligible for SNAP?

It depends. You are eligible if you meet the income requirements AND have one of the following immigration statuses (LPR, refugee, asylee, T-visa holder, Cuban entrant), AND one of the following applies:

  1. You have been  in the United States for at least five years;
  2. Are under 18; OR
  3. You are a “humanitarian immigrant”, such as a refugee, asylee, T-visa holder, Cuban or Haitian immigrant, or you were granted withholding of removal.

Is there a time limit for my SNAP benefits?

In early 2016, a new 3-month time limit was placed on people between the ages of 18 and 50, without disabilities, who do not have children living in their home. These people are called ABAWDs, for able-bodied adults without dependents. Although people in Philadelphia will not have this time limit, others in Pennsylvania will. If you work at least 20 hours per week, or if you volunteer at certain community organizations for more than 26 hours per month, you can keep your SNAP benefits for longer than 3 months. Learn more at

Get Help

For questions about SNAP, call Philadelphia’s County Assistance Office (CAO) customer service center: 215-560-7726. You can also get help at Community Legal Services and Philadelphia Legal Assistance.