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Myths and Facts

  1. Myth: You have to be a U.S. citizen to get SNAP.

    Fact: Some legally present immigrants can get SNAP. If you are an “eligible immigrant,” you may qualify. Ask your local DTA office. See Am I eligible if I am a legal immigrant?

  2. Myth: Getting SNAP hurts your chances of becoming a citizen.

    Fact: If you are a legal immigrant and you get SNAP, it will not hurt your chances of becoming a citizen.

  3. Myth: If you don’t have legal status, you can’t get SNAP.

    Fact: Undocumented people can’t get SNAP. But citizens and some legal immigrants who live with them can get SNAP, including children.

  4. Myth: Children of undocumented immigrants can’t get SNAP.

    Fact: Children of undocumented immigrants can get SNAP if they are citizens or legal permanent residents.

  5. Myth: Undocumented people who ask about the SNAP Program or live with people who get SNAP are reported to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

    Fact: SNAP Program information is confidential and DTA will not report immigration information to USCIS (unless you show DTA a final order of removal). But, DTA checks the immigration documents you give them with USCIS. If you are undocumented, you won’t be asked for your immigration documents. Other members of the household can still apply and may be eligible.

  6. Myth: If USCIS finds out you get SNAP, you have to pay them back.

    Fact: People who are eligible and get SNAP in the right amount do not have to pay them back. Make sure the information you give when you apply is correct. If you get SNAP because of wrong information, you will have to pay them back.

  7. Myth:You can’t get SNAP even if you have a green card and work.

    Fact: Many immigrants with a green card are eligible. Generally, if you have been in the U.S. with a green card for 5 years; are a child under 18; get a disability-related benefit; or have enough work history in the U.S, you may be able to get SNAP. You may also be eligible if you have another legal status. See Am I eligible if I am a legal immigrant?

  8. Myth: You can’t apply for SNAP if you don’t speak English.

    Fact: Anyone can apply for SNAP. DTA has applications in English, Spanish and Portuguese. DTA case managers also have to get an interpreter to help you with the application or the application process. Or a friend or family member who speaks English can help you apply.

  9. Myth:You have to bring your own interpreter to apply for SNAP.

    Fact: DTA must provide interpreter services if you prefer to speak a language other than English.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated November 2013

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.



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