Learn How To Apply For Food Stamps With Our Guide

Learn How To Apply For Food Stamps With Our Guide

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South Carolina SNAP food benefits are awarded to an applicant if he or she meets all program eligibility requirements. The food stamps benefits are issued so a low-income resident can receive financial assistance in purchasing food items for meals that can be prepared at home. The amount of SNAP benefits awarded to an eligible applicant depends on the household characteristics and other financial factors that are analyzed by a Department of Social Services representative. The benefits for food stamps program are issued when the application and interview have been completed by an approved applicant, unless extenuating circumstances cause the beneficiary to receive emergency benefits. An Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or benefit card food stamp allows the beneficiary instant access to monthly benefits for use at an authorized retailer. To learn more about how the EBT benefits card works, how the potential monthly benefit amounts are calculated and the items that can and cannot be purchased using the benefit card, review the following sections.

Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in South Carolina

South Carolina food stamp benefits can be used to purchase food items that provide nutrition to beneficiaries and their family members to maintain health and productivity while experiencing a low income. Food stamp SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food items in the following categories:

  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains

SC food stamps benefits can be used to purchase useful and wholesome ingredients such as milk, bread and poultry. Seeds and plants that produce food, such as herbs, vegetables and fruit can also be bought using SNAP food stamps because they can contribute ingredients needed to create a healthy meal. Benefits for food stamps program can be used at any authorized retailer that accepts the EBT benefit card, including local farmer’s markets that participate in the program.

Items You Cannot Buy With South Carolina SNAP Benefits

Non-food items cannot be purchased using SNAP benefits, even if they are for sale at an authorized retailer. Before shopping with food stamp benefits, a beneficiary should review the list of unapproved items so he or she knows what will be covered by benefits upon checkout. In addition to household items, toiletries, cosmetics and pet supplies, South Carolina SNAP food benefits cannot be used to purchase:

  • Hot items meant to be consumed in the store.
  • Vitamins, supplements and medications.
  • Alcohol or tobacco products.
  • Energy drinks with supplement labels instead of nutrition labels.

While notoriously unhealthy food items like cookies, candy, potato chips, cakes and soft drinks are not encouraged for purchase using the SC food stamp benefit card, they are approved items. Food stamps cannot be used to buy special occasion bakery items or gift baskets if the amount of non-edible items included exceed 50 percent of the value. Gift baskets containing alcohol or tobacco are ineligible for purchase using a SNAP benefit card.

How Long Does It Take to Receive South Carolina SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?

A South Carolina SNAP food benefits applicant will receive notification of his or her approval or denial for program benefits within 30 days of submitting an application. If approved for SNAP food stamp benefits, the applicant will receive an EBT card ready to be set up and already connected to the beneficiary’s account. Before SNAP benefit approval can be decided by the Department of Social Services, it is the applicant’s responsibility to complete a phone interview with a representative to verify and confirm details provided on the application. The food stamp program benefit applicant may also need to submit documentation that proves details given on the application, if requested by a representative.

Note: Download our complete guide to learn more about SNAP.

In certain situations, an SC SNAP benefits applicant may be eligible for emergency benefits which can be received within seven days of application submission. Food stamp benefit card applicants who show an extremely low income, little to no assets and the urgent need for financial food assistance may qualify to receive emergency benefits. These South Carolina benefits for food stamps may even be issued before the applicant has completed an interview. After the first SNAP benefits payment is made, however, the applicant is responsible for scheduling and completing the interview to continue receiving benefits.

South Carolina EBT Card Overview

Upon approval for SC SNAP benefits, a beneficiary will be notified by mail and sent an EBT benefit card. Instructions for activating and setting up the food stamp benefit card are included with the notification and should be followed before attempting to access benefits. The amount of South Carolina food stamp SNAP benefits calculated by DSS is directly deposited into the recipient’s account and can be used at authorized retailers with the EBT card. The SNAP benefit card works just like a debit card and can be used at the retailer’s credit card machine upon checkout. Food stamps benefits are deducted directly from the account and if a beneficiary does not use all monthly benefits, the remaining balance is rolled over to the next month, but will expire after being in the account for one year. To complete EBT food benefits card administrative duties, such as checking the account balance or ordering a replacement card, the beneficiary can call the EBT card’s customer service department or create an account with the online system.

Learn About South Carolina SNAP Benefit Amounts

The Department of Social Services uses several pieces of information to determine the amount of SC food stamps benefits that should be awarded to approved applicants. Information about the income, expenses and household members provided on the application and confirmed in the interview are factors used when calculating SNAP food stamp benefits. Households claiming low income, high expenses and many dependent family members will receive a higher amount of monthly SNAP benefits than a household with less dependents, more income and fewer expenses. Beneficiaries receiving benefits though a South Carolina food stamp benefit card should always report any changes to the household, income or expenses because it can affect the monthly allotment amount. Beneficiaries are responsible for reimbursing the Department of Social Services if overpayments of SNAP food benefits occur because they did not report household changes.