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November 22nd

The Ultimate Guide to Pennsylvania Food Stamps & EBT

The Ultimate Guide to Pennsylvania Food Stamps & EBT

We all know the struggles of having low income or being a member of a low earning family. There’s the difficulty of paying for colleges or simple school expenses. There’s the hardship of not having a car or medical insurance. Or worse, there’s hunger due to not having food to eat.

The United States government isn’t blind to the suffering of low-income individuals and families. There are government programs designed to provide necessities to those who are in need. There are educational grants available, short-term financial assistance, unemployment insurance, affordable housing options, and some healthcare, to name a few.

For those who are on the verge of going without food, there’s the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or more commonly referred to as SNAP. This is on top of the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program or WIC Pennsylvania. And if you’re from Pennsylvania, here’s a run-down of the PA SNAP benefits.

What are Pennsylvania food stamps and how can you take advantage?

The Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP also previously known as the Food Stamp program helps families obtain nutritious food for free. The program allows the beneficiaries to procure food from most groceries as well as other retailers of food. Those qualified for the program will get the Access card PA that is loaded with food stamps cash that can be used to pay for food. The card also referred as EBT

The Pennsylvania’s SNAP along with PA WIC help the residents of the state to have access to nutritious food despite having no to low income.

There are eligibility criteria set for the program. Generally, these three factors would determine if one would qualify for the SNAP or not.

  • The number of people in the household
  • Total household earnings
  • Where one resides

Application is relatively simple and the fastest way is to apply online via EBT connect PA.

How much cash assistance will i get in PA SNAP? The maximum benefit one receives depends on the household’s total income and its number of members. Plus, the majority of Pennsylvania households can get food stamps for 12 months and in some cases up to 24 months.

PA food stamps dates vary depending on the beneficiaries ending case number. The EBT balance PA refreshes monthly but the exact date again depends on the ending number of the case number assigned.

Those who would like to know the PA food stamps dates 2020 should visit the
EBT PA login to know the food stamp calendar.

Knowing the food stamps PA balance is important for any household so they can budget their food for the month properly. Fortunately, checking of balance can be done by calling PA food stamp balance phone number at 1 888 328 7366.

One has to make sure that the 16-digit EBT Pennsylvania access card number is on hand as this is needed to know the EBT card balance PA.

So, how can you get food stamp benefits?

Beneficiaries of the PA SNAP will receive the ACCESS card, which is the PA EBT cards. EBT stands for electronic benefits transfer and the EBT Card both has the appearance and functions of a credit or debit card. It is, however, loaded with the food stamps as well as cash benefits in many cases.

Where can I use EBT?Just like a debit or credit card, the EBT Card can be used in EBT stores or retailers that accepts the card.

When are the food stamp payment dates? When can you expect food stamps?

Food stamp dates differ from one beneficiary to another depending on one’s ending case number. For example, those who card number ends in 1 are likely to see a fresh PA EBT balance for food stamps refreshed on the 1st or 2nd day of each month or the first working day of the month. The EBT balance PA for cash would often be refreshed on the second half of the month.

To know, the food stamps PA payment dates 2020, one should check with the SNAP office by calling the PA EBT phone number or by visiting the website to know the EBT calendar.

How to know PA access card balance? Check it out…

Managing one’s financing or in this case the PA food stamp balance is critical so one does not run out of food stamps to use for the month. Thus, it is essential to check EBT balance PA regularly rather than be shocked that there’s nothing left for the remaining weeks or days until the EBT cash benefits dates are refreshed.

To know the foodstamp balance PA of your card simply call the PA EBT number. One should have the PA access card number on hand ask this is information is required. One cannot get the EBT PA balance remaining without providing the 16-digit number.

To manage PA food stamp dates and balances, one should open an account in mycompass PA, a mobile app often used by those who have applied for human service programs and benefits including SNAP and WIC in PA.

What can you purchase things with EBT?

PA food stamps beneficiaries can use their food stamps to procure grocery items, plants or seed that produces food, and snacks. Food stamps can’t be used to purchase sin products like alcohol and tobacco, live animals, prepared food, vitamins and supplements, and any non-food grocery items.

Aside from food, the Pennsylvania EBT card can be used for free admission or discounted entrance fees to theme parks, museums, aquariums, zoos, and other venues.

Do food stamps roll over in PA? Don’t skip this section!

What happens to the unused balance left after PA food stamp payment dates have refreshed? Will the remaining access card balance roll over to the next month?

The answer is yes to both questions as the remaining food stamp balance can be carried over to the succeeding month. However, those who have not used any of their PA access card balance for one whole year, won’t be able to avail of their Access EBT anymore.

Beneficiaries can also call the EBT balance PA phone number for any questions on rolled over balance or forfeited food stamps.

Am I qualified or not? PA EBT eligibility requirements

The concept of PA Access card is fairly easy to grasp but eligibility criteria can be quite complicated. More so since policies of the program also change over time and rules vary from one state to another. For example, food stamps PA program may be different from the say EBT policies of Virginia.

Likewise, eligibility requirements from the WIC program PA also vary from the food stamp PA program.

The state needs to know the following when households apply for food stamps PA:

Household Size- This is the number of people the applicant lives with and shares food with.

Household Income- This is the total income of the entire household. Household income refers to earned income and unearned income. Earned income refers to the money household members make from their employment while unearned income pertains to funds from Social Security, cash grants, child support, and unemployment income, to name a few.

The member of the household that you will declare are those individuals who you make food with and live with. However, sometimes, the individuals living in one’s home may not be counted as such. For example, adult children or tenants could be living in the same house but they procure and make their own food.

Kids under the age of 22 will be counted as a member of the household even if they are capable of making and buying their own food. On the other hand, disabled people and the elderly or those aged 60 and above are considered as household members if the applicant makes or buys food for them.

What are the criteria for the disabled? If you’re disabled, be sure to read this section!

The food assistance PA guidelines say that an individual is considered as a disabled if he or she meets or is any of the following:

Recipient of federal disability or blindness payments from the Social Security Act, Supplemental Security Income, or Social Security disability or blindness payments

  • Recipient of State disability or blindness payments according to SSI rules
  • Recipient of disability retirement benefit from a government agency due to a permanent disability
  • Recipient of annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act and qualified for Medicare
  • A veteran who is either permanently homebound, totally disabled or requires regular attendance or aid
  • A surviving spouse or a child of a veteran who is already determined to be permanently disabled and receives VA benefits

One can call the Food stamps PA phone number for clarifications on the definition of disability and its use in the EBT program.

Income guidelines for cash assistance in PA: Check eligibility

Just how much can beneficiaries receive in PA food stamps? The answer depends on the size as well as the net monthly income of the household. This is because there are PA welfare income guidelines when it comes to the SNAP.

For example, for October 1, 2019, to PA EBT card payment dates 2020 September 30, a household size of two with a monthly net income of as much as $1040 will get a monthly maximum benefit of $194. Likewise, a household size of eight with a monthly net income of up to $3620 can receive the maximum benefit of $1,164.

Those with more than eight household members can receive an additional $146 per person in excess of the eight members according to SNAP benefits PA schedule 2020. Households that have elderly members or disabled individuals can still qualify for food stamps even if they have reached the income limit for food stamps in PA.

Can I get food stamps if I have a job? Here’s the truth…

One of the most commonly asked questions about SNAP benefits PA is whether an employed person can still qualify for food stamps. The answer is yes as long as the employed individual is neither reducing his or her number of working hours nor leaving his or her job.

There are also requirements for those receiving food assistance PA but are unemployed.

The following are the work requirements to qualify for access EBT PA for those who are jobless:

  • Must take a job if offered
  • Should participate in training and employment programs as assigned by the state
  • Register for work

Failure to follow the above requirements can lead to the disqualification of the beneficiaries’ enrolment to the program.

The disabled individuals, elderly, those living with a child under the age of 18 and pregnant women do not have to be employed to avail of the SNAP.

Individuals from ages 18 to 49 who neither have any disabilities nor kids are referred to as an Abled-Bodied Adult Without Dependents or ABAWD in short.

The ABAWD is only allowed to avail of PA EBT for three months every three years unless they are employed for a minimum of 80 hours per month. Although, some parts of Pennsylvania does not have ABAWD requirements yet. Similarly, other states may have a different take on ABAWD and their benefits. For example, the food stamps Philadelphia program may have different rules on ABAWD from Pennsylvania.

ABAWD are also required to either participate or work in work programs for a minimum of 20 hours weeks if they want to continue receiving EBT Access benefits.

What about convicted drug felons? Can you still get food stamps?

Convicted drug felons are still qualified for food stamps as they are not disqualified from the Pennsylvania access card program despite their drug felony.

Can students get food stamps? The answer may surprise you…

Students can qualify for food stamps if they meet any of the following conditions:

  • Employed for at least 20 hours per week
  • Enrolled in school for less than half time
  • A beneficiary of either state or federal work-study financial assistance programs
  • A beneficiary of the cash assistance, particularly TANF
  • Enrolled in an educational course that waives the high school diploma requirements

Can the homeless receive food stamps? There’s great news…

The homeless are qualified for the program as one does not have to provide an address to be eligible. Those living in shelters that provide free meals or get their meals from food banks can still enroll in SNAP.

Can I qualify for food stamps if I’m not a US citizen? Surprisingly…

Generally, SNAP is for U.S citizens. However, some non-US citizens who live in the US can still apply if the applicant or members of his or her family meet any of the following eligibility guidelines for legal immigrants. These are as follows:

  • Has lived in the US legally for a minimum of five years
  • A recipient of disability-related benefits or assistance programs regardless of when they entered the US
  • Children 18 years and below regardless when the child entered the US.

Non-US citizens should also meet other SNAP Pennsylvania eligibility requirements like resource limits and income.

In cases where some members of the household are disqualified for SNAP, then the EBT PA office is required to determine the eligibility for SNAP for the other qualified household members. Those who are non-US citizens but are in need of food assistance can call the PA EBT customer service to check their eligibility.

Can I still qualify for SNAP benefits if the household owns a car? (Most people think you can’t, but…)

As mentioned, whether one gets to receive SNAP benefits depends partly on the household’s income and resources. Households with vehicles should expect the state to count the vehicle among the household’s resources.

There are, however, some exceptions where the vehicles are not counted as a household asset. These exemptions include:

  • If the vehicle produces income at par with its fair market value annually
  • Required for long travels for work outside than the daily commute
  • If the vehicle is for income-earning purposes such as a truck, delivery vehicle or taxi
  • If used as the family’s home
  • Required for the transportation of a physically disabled member of the household
  • If the resale value would be less than $1500
  • Required in carrying the majority of the household’s water or fuel

How many resources can a household have to qualify for the program? The cut-off might surprise you!

Households can have $2250 in countable resources like money in bank and cash or $3500 countable resources if there’s at least one member of the household that’s either disabled or 60 years or above.

Some resources, however, do not count as resources when determining whether one is eligible for SNAP or not. These are the following:

  • House and lot
  • Resources of individuals who get Supplemental Security Income
  • Resources of individuals who get Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or more popularly known as welfare
  • The majority of pension and retirement plans

Calling the food stamps PA number can also help those asking about eligibility requirements from the program.

How to apply for food stamps in PA? Here’s the easiest way…

The most convenient way to apply for the program is online via the connect EBT PA. However, those who would like to apply in person can do so by calling the PA access card phone number for the application process or the local offices in their county.

  • Applicants should prepare the following:
  • Records indicating the number of people in the household
  • Records indicating the household address
  • Records indicating household expenses
  • Records indicating the medical costs
  • Receipts of Social Security
  • Proof of age of household members
  • Proof of resources or income

Which household member can apply? Can I?

Basically, any member of the household can apply for the Pennsylvania EBT. These would include the head of the house, his or her spouse, and any responsible member of the household. Designated and authorized representatives like a relative, friend or neighbor can apply, go food shopping for the household and check food stamp balance PA.

What happens after applying for SNAP? How long do I have to wait? Check your SNAP status…

Normally, the local or a State agency will process the application and inform the applicant of the results within SNAP calendar of 30 days from the time of application submission.

Within those 30 days, applicants will have to finish an eligibility interview and submit proof of the information provided. The interview is normally done either in person or via the phone. One can also call the PA EBT customer service number to inquire about the interview schedule.

Sometimes, applications are processed within seven days if the applicant can meet the additional requirements. For example, a household that only has less than $100 in cash and merely receives $150 gross income monthly could have their applications processed in less than the standard PA EBT schedule of approval.

Is there discrimination in the approval and administration of SNAP? Well…

Ideally, SNAP benefits are open to qualified households regardless of their sex, race, religious creed, political beliefs or national origin. After all, the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA disallows any discrimination in all the programs on the basis of disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, family and marital status, among others.

Those who suspect that they are or were being discriminated during the application process for EBT Pennsylvania can file their complaints by writing to the USDA director.

Likewise, if one suspects fraudulent movements in their card should call the Access card customer service number.

Can an applicant appeal the decision? Know your rights!

Those who disagree with the denial of the application can ask for a fair hearing within 90 days from the time the EBT Pennsylvania office made the decision the applicant disagrees with. The fair hearing will be conducted by an official who is mandated by law to review the case facts in both an objective and fair manner.

Requesting for a hearing can be done either in writing, by calling the PA food stamp balance phone number, or in-person at the SNAP office in the county.

Do I have to renew enrolment in EBT food stamps PA? Short answer? Yes…

SNAP is not a continuous program that lasts for many years. This means that beneficiaries of Pennsylvania food stamps will have to reapply before their certification period ends.

The certification period or PA food stamp schedule refers to the duration that the beneficiary receives food stamps.

For most EBT card PA, the certification period is 24 months if the household includes an elderly or disabled member. In the absence of either disabled or elderly household members, then the period is for one year or 12 months.

Beneficiaries will get a letter via email reminding them to reapply for the program based on their PA food stamps schedule start date. One can renew the benefits via EBT PA login.

Those who prefer to renew in person can do so by calling either the local office such as the Perry county food stamp office if you’re from the area. One can all call the caseworker or the EBT customer service PA hotline.

How soon can I get my food stamps? I need food stamps now!

The food stamp payment dates PA is usually the first 10 working days of the month, based on the applicants’ case record number.
What and how to report household changes? Don’t skip this section!

Beneficiaries who have had household changes should report these to the office as they affect PA cash assistance income limits. The following circumstances should be reported:

  • Financial changes such as savings, child support or income
  • Any movements in the composition of the household
  • Changes at work including those of the household members

Households benefiting from the PA access card should inform about changes within 10 days from when the change happened. The caseworker will then figure out which rules to apply for the household and PA food stamps dates adjustments as needed.

Reporting can be done by calling the EBT customer service number PA.

How to report or replace a stolen or lost EBT Card? Attention: do this ASAP!

It is important to report any lost EBTcard PA. Likewise stolen ones should be reported as well by getting in touch immediately with the EBT hotline PA.

Reporting the loss of the card is important since other people may be able to get hold of the PA access card login and use the benefits for themselves.

Additional references:

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