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 Office of Family Support, call 1-888-LAHELPU (1-888-524-3578).
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 $3000 in resources.
Households are not exempt from the resource limit if:
o Any member is disqualified for Intentional Program Violation,
o Any member of the household is ineligible because of a drug-related felony, or
o The household is disqualified for failing to comply with work registration requirements.
The following individuals are not exempt from the resource limit:
o An ineligible alien,
o An ineligible student,
o An individual who is disqualified for failure to comply with work registration requirements,
o An individual who is disqualified for failure to provide or apply for a social security number, and
o 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.
Maximum Gross Monthly
Maximum Net Monthly
Income Eligibility Standard
2 $1,579 $1,215
4 $2,389 $1,838 $668
7 $3,605 $2,773 $1,052
8 $4,010 $3,085 $1,202
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 OFS 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 $55, $65, $98 or $137. 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
* Fill out the application (LaCAP Enrollment form1A) and return it to any OFS Family Assistance parish office.
* Call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) for assistance.
After OFS receives your application,you will be assigned a worker who will determine your eligibility. OFS 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.
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
* Fill out an Application online.
* You can also apply for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP) with this application.
* You can also download an application, fill it out by hand and mail it to your local OFS office.
o Application for Assistance (English)
o Solicutud de Asistencia (Spanish)
* Gather the documents you will need to verify the information in your application. This graph explains what must be verfified and examples of proof.
Step Three (for downloaded applications filled out by hand only):
* Mail the application to or drop it off at your parish OFS office. (Applications are also available there to fill out).
* After receiving your application, a DSS 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 OFS Family Assistance parish office.
* Call 1-888-LA-HELP-U
*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 - $141 for 1 to 3 household members;$153 for 4 household members; $179 for 5 household members and $205 for 6 or more household members.
* Medical Deduction - allowable medical expenses incurred by elderly or disabled household members in excess of $35 per househol.
* 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 $459.
How are My Benefits Issued?
Check the Balance on your Louisiana Purchase
Card (EBT Account) at JPMorgan Chase.
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:
o breads and cereals;
o fruits and vegetables;
o meats, fish and poultry; and
o dairy products.
* Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.
Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:
* Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
* Any nonfood items, such as:
o pet foods;
o soaps, paper products; and
o 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.
Full list of eligible items.
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.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against by SNAP because of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability or for religious or political beliefs, write immediately to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or request a Food Stamp Discrimination Form from your parish office.
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 - Office of Family Support.
Besides certification and issuance activities, the Food Security Act of 1985 mandated that employment and training services be provided for food stamp 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 OFS Family Assistance 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.
* American Public Human Services Association
* Food and Nutrition Services
* Weatherization Assistance Program
* Food Stamp Program
* Federal Regulations for Food Stamps