9 Myths and Facts about SNAP Benefits and the Homeless
- Myth:You must have housing and a mailing address to get SNAP.
Fact: You can get SNAP benefits even if you live on the streets and don’t have a mailing address. If you live in a shelter, bring a letter from a shelter employee that says you live there when you apply.
- Myth: People who live in shelters can’t get SNAP because they already get free meals.
Fact: You can get SNAP benefits even if you live in a shelter with meals. You can’t be turned down only because you live in a homeless shelter with meals.
- Myth:You must have a place to cook and store food to get SNAP.
Fact: You can’t be turned down for SNAP benefits because you don’t have a kitchen or a place to cook.
- Myth:You need a photo ID to get SNAP.
Fact: You need proof of identity. A photo ID is one way to prove identity. You can’t be turned down for SNAP benefits because you don’t have photo ID. You can use another ID like a work or school badge, a health benefits card, an ID from another social service, a pay stub, a birth certificate, or a voter registration card. The SNAP/Food Stamps worker can also check your identity by calling shelter workers or employers.
- Myth:You can buy food only at grocery stores.
Fact: Homeless people can use SNAP benefits at other places. You can use SNAP benefits to pay for meals at soup kitchens and homeless shelters that are authorized to accept SNAP benefits.
- Myth:It is difficult for homeless people to apply and there is no help available.
Fact: DTA must set up ways to serve homeless people. They can find an authorized representative or mail your benefits to the shelter where you stay. The SNAP office can’t make you fill out forms every month.
- Myth:Homeless youth have to provide their parent’s income when they apply for SNAP.
Fact: Homeless young people can apply for SNAP benefits on their own. Their parent’s income does not count. If you live in a shelter, bring a letter from a shelter employee that says you live there when you apply.
- Myth: You must follow the work requirements to apply for SNAP.
Fact: Homeless people with no dependents do not need to have a job or look for a job to apply for SNAP benefits. Once they get SNAP benefits, they do not have to work for three months. After that, they must register for work, take employment training, attend job fairs, or accept a reasonable job offer to keep SNAP benefits. This rule doesn’t apply to people with children 6 years old or younger; people with disabilities; or people who meet certain other exemptions. Your SNAP worker will tell you which work requirements apply to you.
- Myth:SNAP have to be paid back.
Fact: People who get the right amount of SNAP benefits do not have to pay them back. Make sure the information you give when you apply is correct. If you get SNAP benefits based on wrong information, then you will have to pay them back.
Produced by U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Last updated November 2013