The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP benefits is the official name for the food stamps benefits program in Alaska and in the United States. SNAP food benefits exist to help low income families get the nutritious foods they need to live a healthy lifestyle while on a budget. Applicants will have to submit a form and be interviewed before they can be enrolled in the program. Once enrolled, beneficiaries receive a benefit card food stamps that will be added to the card so they can purchase the food items they need. To learn more about food items that can be purchased with SNAP food benefits and how to apply for SNAP in Alaska, read the page below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP In Alaska
The benefits for food stamps program was designed to give nutritional support to residents who need it. Because of this, there are only certain food items that can be purchased with food stamps. Fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, dairy products and meats are considered eligible items that can be purchased under the Alaska SNAP benefits program as they give beneficiaries the nutritional support they need. Seeds and plants can be purchased with SNAP food benefits if they will be planted and used to provide food for the beneficiary.
The food stamp benefit card generally cannot be used to purchase live stock. However, food stamp beneficiaries can purchase seafood that is alive at the time of purchase.
Items You Cannot Buy With Alaska SNAP Benefits
Since Alaska SNAP food benefits are for providing healthy food to low income individuals and families, there are several items that cannot be purchased with SNAP. Food stamp benefit recipients cannot purchase the following items with their food stamp benefits card:
- Tobacco products
- Cleaning supplies
- Pet food
Since these items do not provide nutritional sustenance to SNAP program beneficiaries, they will not be included in the food stamps program. There is much debate about what food items should be purchased by those enrolled in government food stamps programs in both Alaska and across the country. Currently, assistance from the food stamp program can be used to buy ‘junk’ or ‘luxury’ items including candy, soda pop, steak, lobster and birthday or holiday cakes.
How long does it take to receive Alaska SNAP benefits after enrollment?
To receive SNAP assistance in Alaska, applicants must first fill out the needed application. This food stamps program application can be found online and requires that the applicants know important information on their income, their assets and child care costs as well as other personal and financial information. Once the Division of Public Assistance receives the SNAP application, the applicants will need to schedule their food stamps benefits interview with this governmental office. Benefits for the AK food stamps program technically begin as soon as the Division of Public Assistance receives the application. However, if the applicant fails to schedule an interview within 30 days of submitting the form, the application may be denied.
Generally, applicants will start receiving Alaskafood stamps benefits as soon as they have completed the interview. There are 15 district offices for the Division of Public Assistance across the state, however, if a food stamps applicant cannot physically attend the interview, other arrangements can be made.
Alaska EBT Card Overview
An EBT card is a food stamps benefits card that operates like a debit card for food stamp beneficiaries to purchase food. In Alaska, the EBT card is called the Alaska Quest card. Every month, Alaska food stamps benefits are deposited into the beneficiary’s account which is connected to the Alaska Quest card. A list of grocery stores that take the Alaska Quest card can be found online. Recently, the Anchorage Farmer’s Market has started to accept Alaska Quest cards.
Those receiving SNAP program assistance or government benefits from the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP) can use the same Alaska Quest card. However, SNAP program enrollees and ATAP enrollees cannot use their benefits card at ATMs that are located inside an establishment that sells alcohol.
Learn About Alaska SNAP Benefit Amounts
The amount an Alaska food stamp beneficiary receives is determined by several factors. First the food stamp applicant’s income and assets are evaluated. The amount of income and assets the beneficiary has determines the need he or she has for nutritional support. Other factors including child care costs, the amount of child support received and how many people are living in the household are also evaluated. The benefit amount for food stamps will vary greatly between a single adult with no children versus a parent of many children. Also, the Alaska SNAP benefit amount also depends on if the applicant is elderly or disabled.
Once this amount is determined, the SNAP food benefit amount is deposited into the Alaska Quest card every month. If this amount is used up before the end of the month, recipients will have to wait until the next deposit is made. Food stamp benefits can be increased if a life-event including the loss of a job or the addition of a new family member in the household has occurred.
Download our guide to learn more about food stamps.