Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly payments or allotments to low-income households and needy families for purchasing SNAP-approved food items. To qualify for food stamps and family services, families and individuals must meet certain income and asset limits and should be able to provide proof to that effect.
If you have applied for food stamps, but your case fails the eligibility test, it will be closed or denied. The good news is that you can reopen a SNAP case without reapplying afresh if you meet the conditions.
This quick guide discusses everything you should know about food stamp case closed and how to reopen it.
Common Reasons for Food Stamp Case Closed
Before discussing how to reinstate a closed food stamp case, it is important to know the various reasons your case may be denied.
Typically, the food stamp case for your household can face closure for the following reasons:
- You did not provide all the proofs required within the specified period
- Your household income is above the income limit for your state
- You are ineligible based on your immigration status
- You are a student and don’t meet SNAP exemptions for students
How to Reopen a Closed SNAP Case
A SNAP case can be reopened if denied because the applicant did not provide all the required verification.
The law requires SNAP to give applicants 30 days from when they submit their applications to provide all the required verification or proof of eligibility. You will receive timely notice of any missing proof for your household eligibility and alternative proof.
If you don’t provide all the proof by the end of the 30 days, you will receive a notice of pending denial, listing the proof you are yet to provide and giving you another 30 days to submit them. Your case manager will reopen your case if you provide the missing proof of eligibility within the second 30 days.
You don’t have to fill out a new application all over again; all you need to do is request your benefits be reopened or submit the required documents.
Keep in mind that your benefits will likely be prorated if SNAP decides that the delay in providing the required verification was your fault. This means you will get your food stamps effective from when SNAP receives your proof and additional information, not the initial date of application.
Unfortunately, a food stamp case cannot be reopened if it is closed or denied for exceeding the state’s income limit, not meeting student exemptions, or being an undocumented non-citizen. The only way forward is to reapply for food benefit assistance all over again when your situation changes.
Will I Lose Benefits, or Does My Food Stamp Case Close if I Don’t Use My EBT Card Often?
It is usually best to use your SNAP benefits at least once monthly to avoid having too much balance on your EBT card and risk having it locked.
However, your case will not be closed, nor will you lose benefits because you didn’t use your EBT account card every month.
SNAP will only expunge benefits from your account if you have not used them at all for nine consecutive months. Besides, you will receive a letter from SNAP 30 days before benefits are removed from your account.
If you don’t use your EBT account card because you can’t remember your PIN or you lost your card, you should contact the nearest SNAP office for help resetting your PIN or request a new card.
Can Someone Else Talk With SNAP About Your Case?
If your food stamp case is closed, you can permit someone you trust to find out what is happening with your SNAP food assistance case.
Anyone can help you with this, including a trusted family or friend, a food pantry, a social service agency, or a legal service. Alternatively, you can do a three-way call with a trusted friend or an agency. This involves calling your local Food Stamps office with a helping third-party on the line to help you.
Keep in mind that having someone to help you find out what is going on with your SNAP case is not the same as appointing an authorized representative. You must provide a written and signed statement to SNAP if you want someone or an agency to discuss and receive information about your case in your absence.
Can Someone Else Help You Apply for Food Stamps?
A trusted friend or anyone in your household can help you fill out an application for food stamps, whether or not they are eligible for the food assistance program. You can even ask someone from a social service agency to help you apply for SNAP.
Additionally, you can enlist the help of someone you trust to participate during the telephone interview, and with your permission, they can help you send copies of your eligibility documents or go with you to the local SNAP office.
While someone else can help you apply for SNAP, they can’t sign the application for you. You must sign it yourself and also participate in the telephone interview.
Remember that you are legally responsible for all information provided to SNAP on your behalf. Also, the person or agency could be legally liable if they provide wrong information about you.
For this reason, make sure that no vital information is left out and only correct details about your situation are provided when you apply for food stamps.