Know Your Rights! Food Stamps (SNAP)

ለአማርኛ መረጃ እዚህ ይጫኑ
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What are food stamps (SNAP)?
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Food stamps (or SNAP) help low-income people buy food. Food stamps come on a card called an EBT card.

You can buy most foods with food stamps. You can’t buy prepared foods, soap, alcohol, tobacco, or anything that’s not food.

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Can I get food stamps?
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Food stamps go to a “household.” A household is everyone who lives together and buys and cooks food together. The table below tells you if you can get food stamps and the most you can get.

Household SizeYou can get food stamps if your monthly income is less than:Maximum Benefit Amount


*If you have more income than the amount listed above, you might be able to get food stamps if someone in your home is elderly or disabled. Questions? Call Legal Aid DC.

To check if you can get food stamps, go to

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I’m not a U.S. Citizen. Can I get food stamps?
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Maybe. Some people who aren’t U.S. Citizens can get food stamps. Go to Legal Aid DC’s flyer, “Getting Public Benefits if You’re Not a U.S. Citizen.”

Even if you can’t get food stamps, you can still apply for your children or other household members if their immigration category means they can get food stamps.

You only have to write the immigration status of the people you’re applying for. The government can’t ask for more information.

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Can I apply if I don’t speak English well?
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Yes. The law says the government has to help you in your language. Tell the agency you want help in your language.

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How do I apply for food stamps?
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You can apply for all public benefits, including food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, and D.C. Healthcare Alliance on the same application.

Step 1: Get the documents you need. Don’t send the originals! Take a picture or make a copy.

  • Your photo ID
  • Your Social Security Card (if you have one)
  • Proof of income (such as pay stubs)
  • Proof of address (such as a utility bill)
  • Birth certificates of everyone in your household

Step 2: Apply in one of five ways:

In person: Go to one of these ESA service centers. Ask for a receipt when you apply.

  • Anacostia Service Center
    2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE
    (202) 645-4614
  • Congress Heights Service Center
    4001 South Capitol Street SW
    (202) 645-4546
  • H Street Service Center
    645 H Street NE
    (202) 698-4350
  • [Closed] Fort Davis Service Center
    3851 Alabama Avenue SE
    (202) 645-4500
  • [Closed] Taylor Street Service Center
    1207 Taylor Street NW
    (202) 576-8000

Smartphone: Download the District Direct app in the app store. Apply through your phone. Write down your confirmation number.

Online: Apply online through at Write down your confirmation number. Save a copy of what you submit.

Mail: Get the application at Send in the application and copies of your documents to a Service Center (listed to the left). Keep proof that you mailed in your application. This option isn’t recommended.

Fax: Fax the completed application to DHS ESA at (202) 671-4400.

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After I apply, how quickly will I get a decision on my application?
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Usually, the government has 30 days to process your application. You can ask for your application to be processed in 7 days (“expedited processing”) if:

  • You earn less than $150/month and have less than $100 in savings; or
  • Your rent plus utilities are more than your income.

You’ll get a notice by mail or on the app telling you if your application was approved or denied.

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I didn’t get food stamps or stopped getting them. What can I do?
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You have the right to appeal. You need to appeal within 90 days of the notice that your food stamps were denied, cut off, or reduced. There are three steps to appeal.

Step 1: Get the appeal form. Go to or call OAH at (202) 442-9094.

Step 2: Fill out the appeal form.

Step 3: File the form in one of these ways:

Email it to

Bring it in person to the Office of -
Administrative Hearings, 441 Fourth
Street NW, Suite 450N, Washington,
DC 20001. Keep a copy of the form.

Mail it the address on the left. Keep a copy of the form. Write down the date you sent it. This option isn’t recommended.

You might be able to keep your food stamps while waiting for your hearing. Ask for a hearing before the date your benefits get cut off or reduced (find this date on the notice). Say it’s an emergency.