The Montana SNAP food benefits program, interchangeably referred to as the food stamps program, issues benefits to eligible applicants through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards so they can purchase approved food items to feed themselves and their families. Since food benefits can only be used to purchase specific items approved by the SNAP program, it is important for beneficiaries to know which items can be purchased with an EBT card and which do not qualify for purchase with benefits. SNAP benefits program applicants may also wonder when they will be receiving their benefits after their applications have been reviewed and approved by Human and Health Services representatives. Learning about the factors that affect the allotment of benefits for food stamps program in MT can also be useful for beneficiaries attempting to calculate their potential monthly SNAP payments. To learn more about using the benefit card food stamp correctly, the items approved for purchase and how benefits are calculated for approved applicants, review the following information.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Montana
Montana SNAP program benefits are awarded to low-income families who need assistance providing healthy and nutritious food for their households. When SNAP benefits are given to an approved applicant, he or she is encouraged to purchase nutrient-dense foods to keep all family members healthy and thriving. The food stamp benefits can only be used to purchase approved food items that are meant to meet those healthy guidelines, including:
- Dairy products
- Cereals, breads and grains
- Meats, such as beef, poultry and fish
- Fruits and vegetables
MT SNAP food benefits are accepted at select local farmer’s markets, making it easy for beneficiaries to have access to fresh food items to prepare nutritious meals at home. Food stamp program benefits can be used to purchase these approved types of foods because they are part of a well-balanced and nutritious diet that can keep all family members well-nourished.
Items You Cannot Buy With Montana SNAP Benefits
Since Montana food stamps benefits are allotted to households with the goal of keeping families healthy, there are non-healthy and non-food related items that are unacceptable for purchase using program benefits. SNAP program benefits cannot be used to purchase certain items, even if they are available for purchase at acceptable retailers and grocers. To encourage program beneficiaries to make healthy choices, MT SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy the following:
- Tobacco products, including cigars and cigarettes
- Alcohol or alcohol-related items
- Household products, cosmetic items and toiletries
- Hot foods that can be eaten in the store
- Vitamins, medicines and prescription medications
Food stamps benefits cards cannot be used to purchase these types of items because they do not contribute to the health and nutrition of the applicant and his or her family. Household products cannot help with providing food, while alcohol and tobacco are known to cause a decline in health when used. If benefits for the food stamps program in Montana are attempted to be used as payment for these types of items, the purchase will be declined and the beneficiary will be asked to provide a different payment method.
Note: Learn more about SNAP by downloading our guide.
How long does it take to receive Montana snap benefits after enrollment?
After applying for food stamps benefits in MT, a Human and Health Services representative must determine eligibility, interview the applicant and approve him or her for the program. Once a SNAP benefit application is submitted, the qualified applicant should receive an approval notification and benefit allotment calculation within 30 days. In certain situations, before benefits for the SNAP program can be awarded to an applicant, the Human and Health Services representative will request additional documentation to prove claims made on the application. Expedited SNAP food benefits in Montana may also be issued to applicants who qualify. Food stamp benefits may be received by a qualified applicant within seven days if the household has extremely low income, high monthly expenses and little to no assets or resources. Human and Health Services representatives will contact applicants who may qualify for these expedited benefits to discuss their eligibility.
Montana EBT Card Overview
Utilizing food stamps benefits in Montana through an EBT card is a simple and convenient way for applicants to pay for their approved purchases and be cognizant of their account balances. The benefit card food stamp balance can be checked using a web portal once the program beneficiary has set up an online account and personal identification number (PIN) associated with the card.
To use Montana EBT food stamp benefits, the beneficiary should first locate retailers that accept SNAP payment. These SNAP food benefits approved retailers can be found online or by looking for the SNAP or EBT logo stickers on the front door. To use the food stamps benefits card, the beneficiary can purchase approved SNAP items at a register and use the credit card machine, choosing EBT as the payment type. The beneficiary will be required to enter the PIN associated with the card and the purchase price of qualifying food items will be deducted from his or her account balance.
Learn About Montana SNAP Benefit Amounts
The SNAP program benefit allotment will vary by household. To calculate SNAP benefits in Montana, the Human and Health Services representative uses household factors, including the income earned, monthly expenses and family member characteristics. The benefits for the food stamp program in MT are less for a family who makes a higher income and has fewer expenses. A household with many members and a lower income will be allotted more SNAP food benefits because they have a higher need for financial assistance to keep their family healthy and nourished. A higher amount of SNAP food stamp benefits is awarded to households with more members because there are more people who need to be provided for each month. The amount of MT benefits for food stamps program can change at any time if the household characteristics are adjusted.