Call our help center at 216.738.2067

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SNAP FAQs

SNAP FAQs

What is SNAP?

SNAP is a federal program that helps low-income people buy the food they need. It’s also commonly known as the food stamp program. Individuals who qualify are issued electronic debit cards through which they can purchase food items which meet government standards.

How can I apply?

There are several ways you can easily and confidentially apply for SNAP. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank offers a number of ways.

  • Apply by phone by calling our Help Center at 216.738.2067 or toll free at 855.738.2067
  • Chat with a Greater Cleveland Food Bank counselor
  • Stop by our Help Center at 15500 S. Waterloo Rd. in Cleveland, near the East 152nd St. exit off of I-90. Note: The Food Bank does not distribute food to walk-in clients. Walk-in hours are for assistance signing up for benefits.

Who can apply?

Those eligible for SNAP benefits are:

  • Working for low wages or working part-time;
  • Unemployed;
  • Receiving welfare or other public assistance payments;
  • Elderly or disabled and are low-income; or
  • Homeless.

What foods can I buy with SNAP benefits?

You can use SNAP benefits to buy foods for the household to eat, such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and poultry, dairy products. You can also use your benefits to buy seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat. You CANNOT use SNAP Benefits to buy beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco; nonfood items, such as pet foods, soaps, paper products and household supplies; vitamins and medicines; food that will be eaten in the store; and hot foods.

Can I buy baby food/infant formula with my SNAP benefits?

Yes, you can use your SNAP Benefits to buy baby food. This includes infant formula, cereals, juices, and baby food in boxes and jars. If you need more assistance, our Help Center staff can help refer you to your local WIC office; call us at 216.738.2067.

Why can people buy junk food with their SNAP benefits?

The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 defines an eligible food as "any food or food product for home consumption and also includes seeds and plants which produce food for consumption by SNAP households." Any change to this definition would require a new law.

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank makes great efforts to promote good health and nutrition to SNAP Clients. We provide recipes, shopping lists, cooking demonstrations, community outreach and other resources to promote healthy eating. We also help connect clients to local Farmer’s Markets that accept SNAP and in many cases, through the Produce Perks Program, double the benefits if clients opt to buy vegetables.

When will my SNAP benefits be available on my EBT card?

If you have just been certified to receive SNAP benefits, your benefits should be in your EBT account within 30 days from the date you filed your application. If you qualified for expedited benefits because your income was very low, your benefits should be in the account within 7 days from the date you filed the application. You will need to contact your caseworker to find out the exact day your benefits will be available.

Once you are certified and have received your first allotment, SNAP benefits will be made available to you on a monthly basis.

Can I buy diapers or baby wipes with my SNAP benefits?

No, you cannot use your SNAP benefits to buy baby diapers or baby wipes. SNAP benefits can only be used to purchase any food or food product for home consumption. This also includes seeds and plants which produce food for consumption.

How old do I need to be to apply for SNAP?

In most cases, anyone living independently over the age of 18 can apply for SNAP. For more information, please contact our Help Center at 216.738.2067.

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