Food stamps benefits in Maine and in the rest of the U.S. have been available since the 1970s. The state benefits for food stamps program is a part of the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This public assistance fund is federally provided for but is ran independently by each state. SNAP food benefits help provide low income individuals and families access to food. Food stamps benefits can be used to buy most items that provide nourishment to the recipients. However, there are some restrictions on which items can be purchased with EBT funds.
All households have a right to apply to the SNAP benefits program but not all will qualify. To be enrolled in the program, food stamps applicants must complete the application and interview portion of the enrollment process. Once enrolled, each recipient will be issued an EBT card. When the applicant has his or her benefits card food stamp funds can be used to buy the food he or she needs. Discover more about Maine SNAP benefits and how benefits amounts are determined by reading the sections below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Maine
Maine SNAP benefits can be used to purchase many types of food items found at approved food retailers. The most common types of food stamps program approved food items include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat and fish
- Breads and cereal
- Dairy products
SNAP food benefits cannot be used to buy prepared meals, hot meals, or food eaten at the store even if they provide the beneficiary with nourishment. The food assistance program is designed to be used by beneficiaries who will take food home and prepare or consume the items away from the grocery store. The EBT benefits card can be used to buy plants and seeds that will be planted and used to grow food.
Items You Cannot Buy With Maine SNAP Benefits
Maine food stamps assistance does not cover all items found at approved food retailers. All non-food items are not approved by the food stamps program including:
- Pet food
- Cleaning products
- Household supplies
- Paper goods
- Cigarettes and tobacco
- Alcoholic beverages
Even though vitamins and medicines may help a SNAP benefits recipient’s health, they are not considered to be food items so they will not be covered by the program. Livestock is also a food stamps ineligible item, even if the animals will be used for food.
How long does it take to receive Maine SNAP benefits after enrollment?
Most Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program applicants will find out about their enrollment status in 30 days or less. The neediest of SNAP applicants may be enrolled in the food stamps program earlier. All those interested in applying for SNAP benefits must fill out the required application and sit for an interview with theMaine Department of Health and Human Services. Interviews can be waved in certain cases such as the beneficiary having a disability.
Both the ME food stamps form and interview will require that the applicant provide personal information about their income levels and household size. All SNAP applicants should provide true and accurate information during the enrollment process. If enrolled, the beneficiary will receive an EBT card.
Maine EBT Card Overview
Benefits from food stamps are deposited into the beneficiary’s account each month. He or she can access these ME SNAP benefits by using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This food stamps card can be used at the grocery store like a debit card. The card can also be used at ATMs to withdraw cash from the beneficiary’s account. However, Maine food stamps beneficiaries cannot withdraw cash using an EBT card from an ATM located inside businesses that sell liquor, medical marijuana, gambling entertainment or adult entertainment.
The ME SNAP program is not meant to provide recipients with all of their food needs and only acts as a supplement. Due to this, beneficiaries may run out of benefits on their EBT card. SNAP benefits recipients cannot get more funds deposited into their account until the next scheduled distribution date. The balance on the food stamps benefits card can be checked online. All food stamps recipients are encouraged to keep their EBT card in a safe location as any benefits used with a stolen EBT card will not be replaced by the government.
Learn About Maine SNAP Benefit Amounts
Many factors affect the amount of Maine SNAP food benefits an enrollee would receive. Household size is an important factor in determining the amount as larger families receive more food assistance benefits than do smaller families. Income also affects food stamps benefits amounts with higher income earners receiving less benefits than those with lower incomes. SNAP benefit amounts and enrollment criteria can also vary for those who are disabled, elderly or enrolled in another government assistance program. Food stamps enrollees who are able-bodied adults may be required to work to maintain their enrollment in the program. There also may be food stamps restrictions on those with certain felony offenses. If a SNAP applicant is denied enrollment or does not agree with the determined benefits amounts, he or she can file for an appeal.