Minnesota SNAP food benefits are part of the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Formerly referred to as the food stamps benefits program, SNAP benefits are used by low income recipients who need assistance in purchasing groceries. This program helps prevent the medical issues that would otherwise result from malnutrition. Benefits for food stamps program can be used to buy many food items that will provide sustenance to recipients. To keep with the program’s mission, non-food items cannot be bought with food benefits.
The amount of SNAP benefits each recipient can collect is determined by a wide range of factors including household size. After completing a short enrollment process, food stamps applicants will be issued an EBT benefits card. Once the beneficiary has received the benefits card food stamps can be used to purchase food from grocery stores and participating farmers markets. Continue reading the information provided on this page to learn more about Minnesota SNAP food benefits, how food benefits amounts are determined and how to use an EBT card.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Minnesota
Food stamps benefits must be used to buy items that provide nourishment to the beneficiary. MN food assistance benefits may be used to purchase the following:
- Bread and cereals
- Dairy products
- Meat, fish and poultry
- Junk food
- Luxury food
While there is much debate on the topic, food stamps can be used to buy junk items such as candy and soft drinks as well as luxury items like steak or lobster as these items do provide nourishment to the beneficiaries. Food benefits can even be used to buy living seafood. Seeds and plants used to grow food can also be bought with an EBT card.
Items You Cannot Buy With Minnesota SNAP Benefits
Minnesota SNAP food benefits cannot be used to buy non-food items or items that may dangerously affect the beneficiary’s health. Benefits from food stamps cannot be used to purchase products such as the following:
- Cigarettes and tobacco
- Beer, wine or liquor
- Pet food
- Soap and cleaning supplies
- Household items
- Paper items
- Hot or prepared meals
- Vitamins and medicines
Food assistance also cannot be used to buy living animals such as barnyard chickens even if they will be used as food. Since the SNAP program is meant for beneficiaries to buy food that will be taken home to be eaten or prepared, hot or prepared meals and items eaten in the store cannot be purchased with benefits. The exception to this rule is buying meals through the Meals on Wheels program in Minnesota. Using cash withdrawn from a MN food stamps benefits card to purchase any of these unapproved items can result in being charged with a criminal offense.
How long does it take to receive Minnesota SNAP benefits after enrollment?
All Minnesota Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program applicants must fill out the food stamps benefits application before being interviewed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Most food stamps applicants will be notified about their enrollment status in 30 days or less. However, SNAP applicants who are in extreme need can apply for emergency assistance and be enrolled in five business days. Those who are disabled may be exempt from attending an in-person .
MN food stamps benefits enrollees must give truthful and accurate information during the enrollment process. Intentionally giving false information is considered food stamps fraud and is a serious criminal offense.
Minnesota EBT Card Overview
Each food benefits recipient in MN will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This food stamps benefits card provides access to the food assistance benefits which are deposited into the recipient’s account each month. The beneficiary uses this card like a debit card at approved ATMs and at the checkout counters at grocery stores. Many farmer’s markets and Meals on Wheels programs can accept this benefits card across the state of Minnesota. Food stamps recipients are strongly encouraged to report a missing EBT card as soon as they can. If someone uses an EBT card illegally, the stolen benefits will not be replaced.
Food stamps benefits withdrawn from an ATM machine cannot be used to buy the ineligible items without facing serious legal issues. Selling or trading an EBT benefits card is a serious criminal offense that comes with jail time. SNAP recipients cannot use their benefits card at ATMs inside alcohol retailers, medical marijuana dispensaries, adult entertainment establishments and gambling facilities.
Learn About Minnesota SNAP Benefit Amounts
Not all Minnesota food stamps recipients are issued the same amount of food benefits each month. Income and household size are the most important factors when determining benefit amounts. Since SNAP is designed to help low income households, lower income enrollees will receive more food assistance than higher income earners. Also, those with larger households will receive more food benefits than those who have smaller households. Able-bodied adult food stamps enrollees will have to work or be enrolled in a work program to continue receiving benefits after a short period of time. Those who have a disability, are older than 60 years of age or are receiving benefits from another program will have different benefits amounts criteria.
To learn more about requirements and application steps, download our complete guide.