Food stamp benefits in Arizona and the 49 other states were made available in in 1974. Now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the SNAP food benefits program seeks to provide qualified individuals and families with the nutritional support they need. Certain food items are covered under AZ SNAP benefits while others are not. To receive benefits for food stamps program, applicants first must apply and be interviewed by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Once enrolled, a benefit card food stamp called an EBT card will be issued to the enrollees. To learn more about what is covered by the food stamps program and how to qualify for an EBT card in Arizona, review the sections provided below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Arizona
Many nutritional items can be purchased with AZ food stamps at participating grocery stores. Since SNAP food stamps benefits were created to help low income individuals and families get access to healthy food, not everything that one can purchase at a grocery store is covered by SNAP. Benefits from the AZ food stamps program cover:
- All meats
- Dairy products
- Bread and cereals
- Seeds and plants
Please notes, the seeds and plants covered by the SNAP program benefits are only to be used for planting and growing so the seeds or plants will provide food to the beneficiaries. While many politicians and citizens disagree, ‘junk food’ or ‘luxury’ items can still be purchased with food stamps. AZ SNAP benefits cover candy, snacks, soda pop, energy drinks, steak, seafood and birthday cakes. Live seafood can be purchased with a food stamps benefits card while livestock, such as cows or chickens, cannot.
Items You Cannot Buy With Arizona SNAP Benefits
While benefits for SNAP might cover ‘junk’ food, many other unhealthy or non-food items are not. Food stamps benefits in AZ cannot be used to buy:
- Cigarettes or tobacco
- Alcoholic drinks
- Pet food
- Hot or prepared meals
The items on the list above are not covered by SNAP assistance because they either do not directly help the beneficiary acquire nutritional sustenance or they are dangerous to the beneficiary’s health. To learn more about food stamps, download our comprehensive guide for more information.
How long does it take to receive Arizona SNAP benefits after enrollment?
To receive AZ food stamps benefits, applicants must submit the appropriate forms to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and be called in for an interview. If the applicant is deemed eligible for food stamps benefits enrollment, he or she will receive word in seven to 30 days. Those who are in severe need of food benefits assistance will receive information about their enrollment in under seven days. The 30-day wait period applies to those who are not considered to be in severe need.
SNAP food stamp applicants will be notified of their enrollment by mail from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Yet, applicants can monitor the status of their application online. As soon as a SNAP recipient receives a benefits card food stamps can be used to purchase qualifying food items mentioned in the section above. If applicants are unsatisfied with the decision made by the Department of Economic Security, they can file an appeal. Once enrolled, AZ food stamp recipients must notify the state of any changes in their eligibility.
Arizona EBT Card Overview
Arizona food stamp government benefits are managed by the Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT card, as is the case in 48 other states. Those who received benefits from food stamps programs can use the EBT card like a debit card at qualifying grocery stores. This card is referred to as the Quest card in Arizona. Food stamp benefit enrollees can access the balance on their EBT online as well as check to see which stores will accept their EBT or Quest card.
The food stamps benefits card can be used at an ATM to withdraw cash. However, SNAP program recipients cannot use ATMs located in establishments that sell alcohol, medical marijuana, adult entertainment or gambling entertainment.
Learn About Arizona SNAP Benefit Amounts
The benefit card food stamp amount placed on a beneficiary’s EBT card is determined by many factors. An AZ SNAP benefit recipient’s income and amount of assets are the largest determining factor in the amount of nutritional assistance he or she receives every month. Food stamp enrollees who are making some income versus those who are unemployed will receive less food stamps assistance as they have less need than those who have no earnings at all. The amount of family members in the applicant’s household is also a large factor for how much he or she will receive each month. A family of two will receive less food stamps help than a family of six.
Applicants in the Arizona food stamps program who are non-exempt able-bodied adults and do not have a dependent can only stay enrolled for a short amount of time. They can expend their time in the program and the amount they receive by starting some form of employment.