What is the Food Stamp Number and How to Get it?

Are you familiar with the term ‘food stamp number’? If not, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This number is a common identifier for those who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps. Millions of low-income Americans depend on these benefits to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

But what exactly is the food stamp number and what purpose does it serve? In short, the food stamp number is a unique identification number assigned to individuals who are approved for SNAP benefits. This number helps the government keep track of who is receiving assistance and how much they are entitled to. It also simplifies the process for individuals receiving benefits, making it easier for them to access the help they need.

While the food stamp program has been around for decades, it remains a critical lifeline for many people today. But with so much confusion and misinformation surrounding SNAP benefits, it’s important to understand what the food stamp number is and how it works. In the following article, we’ll dive deeper into the details of this program and explore some common misconceptions about it.

What is the Food Stamp Number?

The Food Stamp Number, also known as the EBT Number, is a 16-digit identification number assigned to each individual and household participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the United States.

This number is unique to each individual and is used to distribute and keep track of monthly benefits. Each month, eligible individuals and households receive a set amount of money, which is added to their EBT card. This card can then be used to purchase food items at authorized retailers across the country, such as grocery stores and farmers’ markets.

The Food Stamp Number serves as a way to ensure that only eligible individuals receive benefits and prevents fraud and misuse of the program. It is necessary to keep this number private as it grants access to sensitive information and personal funds.

If your EBT card is lost or stolen, it’s crucial to report it immediately and have your Food Stamp Number changed to prevent unauthorized use of your benefits. This can be done by contacting the customer service line on the back of your EBT card or visiting your local Department of Social Services.

History of Food Stamps in the US

The first food stamp program in the United States started in the late 1930s, with the goal of helping struggling families during the Great Depression. However, the modern food stamp program as we know it today was established in 1964 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The concept of food stamps was simple: eligible individuals or families would receive coupons or paper vouchers that could be exchanged for food at participating stores.

  • In 1971, the program was expanded to cover disabled and elderly people who were living on low income.
  • Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which replaced paper vouchers, were implemented in the late 1990s in an effort to minimize fraud and increase convenience for both recipients and retailers.
  • In 2008, the food stamp program was renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to better reflect its goal of providing nutritional support to low-income individuals and families.

Today, SNAP serves millions of Americans in need of assistance to purchase the food they need to survive. According to the USDA, as of 2019, there were over 36 million people enrolled in the SNAP program, with an average monthly benefit of $131 per individual. Despite the program’s effectiveness in lifting many families out of poverty, it remains a controversial topic, with debates centering around issues such as eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and potential fraud.

The following table provides a brief overview of the history of food stamps in the US:

1939The first food stamp program is implemented as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
1961President John F. Kennedy creates pilot food stamp programs in several states.
1964The Food Stamp Act is signed into law, establishing the modern food stamp program.
1971The food stamp program is expanded to cover disabled and elderly individuals.
1996The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) is signed into law, which introduces new eligibility requirements for food stamps.
1998The Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system is implemented, replacing paper vouchers.
2008The food stamp program is renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Despite its controversial status, SNAP continues to provide a critical lifeline for millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table.

Eligibility Criteria for Food Stamps

Food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program that helps low-income individuals and families purchase food. To qualify for food stamps, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria.

  • Income: Household income must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. This amount varies depending on household size.
  • Assets: Households must have assets below a certain amount. This limit is currently $2,250 for most households and $3,500 for households with at least one member who is disabled or over 60 years old.
  • Citizenship: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or legal aliens. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for food stamps.

Verification of Eligibility Criteria

When applying for food stamps, applicants must provide documentation to verify their eligibility. This includes proof of income, such as pay stubs or tax returns, as well as proof of citizenship or legal alien status, and information about household size and assets.

State agencies also conduct interviews with applicants to verify the information provided and confirm eligibility. If approved, individuals receive an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, which is similar to a debit card and can be used to purchase eligible food items at grocery stores and retailers that accept SNAP benefits.

Eligible Food Items

Food stamp benefits can be used to purchase most food items, including produce, meat, dairy, and bread, but cannot be used to buy non-food items like cleaning supplies or toiletries.

Eligible FoodsIneligible Items
Fruits and vegetablesAlcoholic beverages
Breads and cerealsHot foods ready to eat
Meat, fish, and poultryVitamins and medicines

It’s important to note that food stamps cannot cover the full cost of a household’s food needs, but rather provide assistance in purchasing food. Additionally, states vary in their eligibility criteria and benefit amounts, so individuals should check with their state agency for specific information.

How to Apply for Food Stamps

If you are struggling to make ends meet, food stamps may be a great resource to help you put food on the table. Food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program that helps low-income individuals and families buy food. Applying for food stamps can be a daunting process, but it’s important to know that the process is there to help you when you need it most.

Steps to Apply for Food Stamps

  • Gather your personal and financial information: This includes your social security number, income information, and expenses.
  • Complete an application: You can download an application online or pick one up at your local SNAP office.
  • Submit your application: You can submit your application online, mail it in, or drop it off at your local SNAP office. Be sure to include all necessary documents.

What Happens After You Apply

After you submit your application, you will receive a notice within 30 days letting you know if you are eligible for food stamps. If approved, you will receive an EBT card (Electronic Benefits Transfer) that you can use to purchase food at participating retailers. The amount you receive each month will depend on your income, expenses, and household size. Keep in mind that you must recertify every 6-12 months to continue receiving benefits.

Commonly Asked Questions About Food Stamps

If you’re new to the program, you may have some questions about how it works. Here are some commonly asked questions:

Is there a limit to how long I can receive food stamps?No, there is no limit to how long you can receive food stamps as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
Can I use food stamps at any grocery store?No, you can only use food stamps at participating retailers. Look for the “SNAP accepted here” sign.
Can I apply for food stamps if I am not a U.S. citizen?Yes, you may be eligible for food stamps if you are a legal immigrant.

If you have additional questions or need help with your application, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local SNAP office. They are there to help you through the process and ensure that you get the assistance you need.

Benefits of Food Stamps

Food Stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program that assists low-income individuals and families to put food on the table. The program provides food assistance in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card and can be used to purchase groceries at participating stores. Here are five benefits of the food stamp program:

  • Aids hunger and poverty: The food stamp program provides critical assistance to low-income individuals and families who may struggle to put food on the table. According to the USDA, SNAP helps lift millions of people out of poverty every year, with 84% of SNAP families having a gross income at or below the poverty line.
  • Improves nutrition: SNAP helps ensure that low-income individuals and families have access to healthy food options. Research has shown that food stamp recipients have a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than non-recipients.
  • Boosts local economies: The food stamp program supports local economies because it assists millions of Americans to buy groceries and therefore stimulates local businesses. According to the USDA, every $1 in SNAP benefits generates $1.50-1.80 in economic activity.
  • Supports children and families: The food stamp program provides vital support to children and families to meet basic needs. According to the USDA, 76% of SNAP benefits go to households with children, and nearly one-third of all SNAP participants are children.
  • Reduces healthcare costs: SNAP reduces healthcare costs by improving nutrition outcomes for low-income individuals and families. According to a study by Harvard School of Public Health, every dollar spent on food stamp benefits reduces healthcare costs by $10 in the long term for low-income adults.

Limitations of Food Stamps

Food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are designed to help low-income individuals and families access nutritious food. However, there are limitations to the program that can have a significant impact on those who rely on it.

Qualification Criteria

  • Strict guidelines – income and asset limits are set at the federal level
  • Requirements – applicant must be a U.S. citizen with a social security number, or a legal resident with a green card
  • No eligibility for certain groups – Immigrants who do not have legal status are not eligible for SNAP

Benefit Amounts

While SNAP benefits can provide much-needed relief for low-income families, the amount they receive may not be sufficient to cover their needs. The benefit amount is based on household income and size, and the maximum benefit is set annually by the federal government. As of 2021, the maximum benefit for a family of four is $782 per month, which is less than $7 per person, per day. This amount may not be enough to cover the cost of healthy and nutritious food for a family for the month.

Food Choices

While SNAP can be used to purchase a variety of food items, there are restrictions on what can be bought with benefits. For example, SNAP cannot be used to purchase hot prepared foods or non-food items like cleaning products or pet food. Additionally, some stores may not accept SNAP, limiting the options available to beneficiaries.


There can be a social stigma associated with receiving SNAP benefits, which may deter eligible individuals from applying. The negative perception of the program can also lead to discrimination against beneficiaries, particularly in certain neighborhoods or at certain stores that may have a negative attitude towards those on public assistance.


Type of FraudDescription
Selling BenefitsBeneficiaries sell their SNAP benefits, often at a reduced price, in exchange for cash
Falsifying InformationBeneficiaries provide false information to qualify for the program or receive more benefits than they are entitled to
Double-DippingBeneficiaries receive benefits from multiple states simultaneously or participate in other programs that overlap with SNAP

While instances of SNAP fraud are relatively low, they can have a significant impact on the program and its beneficiaries. Fraud can lead to reduced funding for the program, as well as increased scrutiny and restrictions for those who are eligible for the benefits.

Alternatives to Food Stamps

If you or someone you know is struggling to make ends meet, you might be wondering what alternatives are available to food stamps. While food stamps can be a great help, they aren’t the only option. Here are some other resources to consider:

  • Food pantries – Many communities have food pantries or food banks that provide free food for those in need. Some of these programs require income verification, while others may not. Check with local churches and nonprofits to find out what’s available in your area.
  • Soup kitchens – In addition to food pantries, soup kitchens can provide hot meals to those in need. This is a great option for those who don’t have a kitchen or need a place to eat out of the elements.
  • Government assistance programs – Depending on your situation, you might be eligible for other government assistance programs like Medicaid or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

While these resources can be a great help, it can be confusing to know which is best for your situation. Some state and local agencies have trained staff who can help you navigate the system and find the resources that are available to you.

Community Gardens

Another option that is becoming more popular is community gardens. These are plots of land that communities can use to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Not only does this provide access to fresh produce, but it also allows people to learn new skills and connect with those in their community.

Community gardens can be found in many urban and rural areas, and some are even sponsored by local governments or nonprofits. If you’re interested in starting a community garden, check with your local government or community center to see what resources are available.

Comparison of SNAP and WIC Programs

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are two federal programs that help low-income families afford healthy food. While these programs have some similarities, there are some key differences:

SNAPLow-income individuals and familiesMonthly benefits to purchase food
WICPregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional riskNutrition education, vouchers for specific food items, and referrals to health care and social services

While both programs can help families access healthy food, they have different eligibility requirements and benefits. If you’re not sure which program you qualify for, check with your local Department of Health and Human Services or WIC office.

Misconceptions About Food Stamps

As opposed to common belief, food stamps are not actual stamps. Food stamps are a form of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that works similarly to a debit card, where the users can use it to purchase groceries and other approved items at authorized retailers.

The misconceptions about food stamps are many, but we’ll focus on eight of the most common ones:

  • Food stamps are handouts: This is a myth. In reality, food stamps are designed to help low-income individuals and families to get the nutrition they need to survive. Eligibility is based on household income and size, and beneficiaries are expected to use their benefits to purchase food items and other approved items in grocery stores or food markets.
  • Food stamps are only for unemployed people: This is not true. A person can still be employed and eligible for food stamps, particularly if their income is below the federal poverty level or if they have a large family to support.
  • Food stamps can only be used for unhealthy foods: False. Food stamps can be used to buy a wide variety of healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lean meats, and fish.
  • Food stamps are easy to get: This is a misconception. While eligibility is based on income and household size, the Food Stamp Program has strict guidelines, and applying for benefits can be a lengthy and confusing process.
  • Food stamp recipients are lazy and don’t want to work: Another myth. Many people who receive food stamp benefits are already working but are not earning enough to support themselves and their families.
  • Food stamp benefits are too generous: This is not true. The average amount of food stamp benefits per person is less than $130 per month, which is not enough to buy a week’s worth of groceries.
  • Food stamp fraud is rampant: While some forms of food stamp fraud do exist, it is not as common as some people would like to believe. The government has implemented measures to monitor and prevent fraud from occurring.
  • Food stamp benefits are unlimited: This is a misconception. The Food Stamp Program has a maximum benefit level, which varies by household size and income. The benefits are meant to supplement a household’s food budget, not cover all of their food expenses.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to understand the facts about food stamps and dispel the myths and misconceptions. The program is designed to help low-income families and individuals get the nutritious food they need to stay healthy. By understanding the benefits of the program and the eligibility requirements, we can work together to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and affordable food.

The Stigma of Using Food Stamps

One of the biggest obstacles that low-income families face when they apply for food stamps is the stigma attached to it. There is a common misconception that people who use food stamps are lazy or unwilling to work.

However, the truth is that many individuals who rely on food stamps are working multiple jobs or are unable to work due to disability or illness. In addition, the requirements to qualify for food stamps are strict and individuals must meet a certain income threshold.

  • People may feel ashamed: Due to the stigma, many families may feel ashamed or embarrassed to use food stamps. This can prevent them from applying for the assistance they desperately need.
  • Other people‚Äôs judgments: Low-income individuals may also face judgment from others who don’t understand their situation. This can lead to feelings of isolation and shame.
  • Fear of stereotypes: In some cases, individuals may fear that others will view them as lazy or unintelligent if they use food stamps. This fear of being stereotyped can prevent people from seeking the help they need.

One way to combat the stigma around food stamps is to educate others about the realities of poverty and the barriers low-income families face. Additionally, embracing the fact that food stamps are a valuable resource that can help individuals put food on the table and make ends meet is another way to reduce the stigma associated with the program.

Only lazy people use food stamps.Many food stamp recipients work multiple jobs or are unable to work due to disability or illness.
Food stamp recipients are a burden on society.Food stamps stimulate the economy by providing recipients with purchasing power and creating jobs in the agriculture and retail industries.
Food stamp fraud is rampant.Food stamp fraud is relatively rare and measures are in place to prevent fraud from taking place.

Ultimately, we all need to work towards reducing the stigma of using food stamps and helping low-income families access the resources they need to thrive.

Political Controversies Surrounding Food Stamps

Food stamp programs, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), have been a topic of political controversy in the United States for decades. The program provides low-income families with assistance to buy food, but it has been the subject of numerous debates and reforms over the years.

  • Eligibility: One of the biggest controversies surrounding food stamps is who should be eligible to receive them. Some argue that the program should only be available to those who cannot afford to purchase food, while others believe that there should be stricter requirements for eligibility, such as drug testing or work requirements.
  • Fraud: Another issue that often arises with food stamps is fraud. Opponents of the program argue that it is too easy for individuals to abuse the system by selling the benefits or using them to purchase non-food items. Proponents argue that the program’s fraud rate is relatively low and that any abuse pales in comparison to the number of people who rely on the program to feed themselves and their families.
  • Funding: Funding for SNAP has been a political issue as well. Some lawmakers believe that funding should be increased to provide more assistance to families in need, while others argue that the program should be cut in order to reduce government spending.

Despite the debates and controversies surrounding food stamps, the program remains a critical source of assistance for millions of low-income Americans. It provides essential nutrition for families who would otherwise struggle to put food on the table, and it can even help to stimulate local economies by increasing grocery sales.

However, with new political changes and reforms, it is important to stay informed about potential changes to the program and what those changes could mean for families in need.

YearProgram Changes
1996President Clinton signs the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which introduces work requirements and time limits for the program.
2013Congress passes a Farm Bill that cuts nearly $8 billion from SNAP funding over a 10-year period.
2020The Trump administration proposes a rule change that would remove 3.7 million people from the program by limiting states’ ability to waive work requirements.

As policies and opinions shift over time, it is crucial to stay informed about the political controversies surrounding food stamps and how they may impact the millions of people who rely on the program for basic nutrition.

FAQs: What Is The Food Stamp Number?

1. What is the food stamp number?
The food stamp number, also known as the EBT card number, is a unique identification number assigned to food stamp recipients.

2. How do I find my food stamp number?
Your food stamp number is located on the front of your EBT card. You may also find it on any documentation provided to you by the Department of Social Services.

3. Can anyone else use my food stamp number?
No, your food stamp number should be kept confidential. It is your responsibility to ensure that no one else has access to your card or number.

4. Why is my food stamp number important?
Your food stamp number is important because it allows you to access your benefits and purchase eligible items at qualifying retailers.

5. Can I change my food stamp number?
No, you cannot change your food stamp number. It is tied to your EBT card and account.

6. Is my food stamp number the same as my social security number?
No, your food stamp number is a separate identification number assigned to you by the Department of Social Services.

7. What do I do if I lose my EBT card or forget my food stamp number?
If you lose your EBT card or forget your food stamp number, contact your local Department of Social Services immediately to report it. They will provide you with instructions on how to get a new card and/or retrieve your number.

Closing Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to learn about what the food stamp number is. Remember, it is important to keep your number confidential and to contact your local Department of Social Services if you have any issues with your EBT card or number. Visit us again later for more helpful information.