Mississippi food stamps benefits are funded by the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP food benefits are intended to help low income people stay in good health by providing them access to food. SNAP benefits may be used to buy many types of food items at participating grocery stores across the state. To ensure benefits for food stamps program are used to provide food to the recipients, certain non-food items cannot be purchased with these benefits.
After submitting a food stamps benefits application and sitting for an interview, most applicants receive word of their enrollment in a small amount of time. If enrolled, the applicant will be issued an EBT card. When the recipient receives his or her benefits card food stamps funds can be used to buy approved food items. To learn more about SNAP benefits in MS, the food stamps enrollment process and how to get an EBT card, continue reading the information below.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Mississippi
MS SNAP program benefits are to be used to buy food items that provide nourishment to the beneficiary. Benefits from food stamps can be used to buy the following items:
- Dairy products
- Breads and cereals
- Meats and poultry
- Fish and seafood
SNAP food benefits can be used to buy seeds and plants that will be grown for food such as a tomato plant. However, living animals, with the exception of seafood, cannot be bought with Mississippi food stamps benefits even if they will be eventually consumed.
Items You Cannot Buy With Mississippi SNAP Benefits
Mississippi Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients are restricted from using their food assistance benefits to purchase certain items. Most unapproved items do not provide sustenance to the food benefits recipient or may be addictive or dangerous to his or her health. The following list includes all ineligible items:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Cigarettes and all tobacco products
- Vitamins and medicines
- Household supplies
- Cleaning products
- Pet food
- Paper goods
- Hot or prepared meals
Food stamps benefits do not cover medicines and vitamins even if they aid in the beneficiary’s health because they are not considered food items. Also, the SNAP program exists to help low income people have access to food that will be prepared and eaten at home which is why hot and prepared meals cannot be bought with food stamps. Food items only used for decoration such as Halloween pumpkins cannot be bought with benefits.
How long does it take to receive Mississippi SNAP benefits after enrollment?
Most MS SNAP applicants will receive notice of their enrollment status via the postal service within 30 days of submitting the application. All food stamps applicants will have to be interviewed at a local Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) office after their application is submitted. Some applicants may be enrolled sooner.
Applying for food stamps benefits involves sharing important information with MDHS such as one’s income, assets and living situation. Lying about these pieces of information will result in being charged with a criminal offense. All Mississippi SNAP benefits seekers should be honest during their enrollment process.
For more information about SNAP, download our guide.
Mississippi EBT Card Overview
Mississippi food stamps recipients will be issued an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card. Every month, beneficiaries receive a preset amount of food benefits deposited into their account. These SNAP food benefits can be accessed via the EBT benefits card which can be used like a debit card at ATMs and cash registers. Please note, the Mississippi SNAP benefits program is not meant to provide recipients with all of their food supply each month. Instead, the program is a supplement to the enrollee’s existing grocery budget. Because of this, if a beneficiary uses up all of his or her SNAP food assistance, he or she cannot receive more benefits until the next deposit date. Food stamps enrollees do not have to use up all of their benefits each month but if an enrollee does not use his or her benefits in a year’s time, he or she could be unenrolled from the program.
Food benefits recipients may not use their food stamps benefits card at ATMs inside liquor stores, adult entertainment businesses or gambling facilities. Selling or trading an EBT card or using cash withdrawn from the card to buy ineligible items can result in being charged with a criminal offense.
Learn About Mississippi SNAP Benefit Amounts
All food stamps benefits recipients do not obtain the same amount of benefits. The amount of MS food assistance each recipient is issued is largely determined by income. Those with higher income amounts will receive less SNAP food benefits than those with lower incomes. Also, the amount of people living in one’s household is another large determining factor. For example, a household of six people will receive more benefits than a household consisting of three members.
People who live with a disability or are considered a senior citizen will face different SNAP enrollment and benefits amounts criteria. Adults who are able to work will have to maintain employment or be registered in an employment program to stay enrolled in the program. Mississippi food stamps benefits amounts may change if the beneficiary experiences a major life event such as having another child or losing employment.