If you're an Arizona resident with little to no income, you may be eligible for food stamps. You can submit your application to the Department of Economic Security at any time. If approved, you can receive your food benefits in as little as seven days if you're facing a food emergency.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security gives you three ways to apply for food stamps. You can apply online at www.healthearizonaplus.gov. You can apply in-person at a local DES office. Or, to complete the application ahead of your visit, you can download it from the DES' website or call DES at (855) 432-7587 and have it mailed to you. To find your local office, you can search the DES Office Locator database on the DES's website. If you don't want to drop off your application, you can fax it to your local office instead. The food stamp application will ask for personal information such as your marital status, date of birth, Social Security number and citizenship status. It will also ask about your finances, including total household income and expenses.
After you submit your application, DES will schedule you for an eligibility interview. The eligibility interviewer will ask you to bring several documents to your appointment. The purpose of these documents is to verify your identity, citizenship status, birth date, Social Security number, residence, income and expenses. Some acceptable documents include a U.S. passport or permanent resident card, apartment lease or home mortgage agreement, and paycheck stubs. DES also provides a list of helpful documents on its website. In addition to reviewing your records, the interviewer will also go over the answers you provided on your application to clear up any discrepancies or questions she may have.
DES will send you written notice of its decision within 30 days of receiving your application. If approved, the letter will disclose the amount in food stamps you have been approved for. If you were approved for expedited benefits, you'll receive this letter within seven days of DES receiving your application.
Electronic Benefits Transfer Card
Once you've been approved for food stamps, DES will send you an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, commonly known as an EBT card. Similar to a bank-issued debit card, your name will be embossed on the front with a Personal Identification Number assigned to it. Each month, DES will deposit your food benefits onto the card and you can use it wherever food stamps are accepted. You can keep track of your benefits by accessing your account online. After entering your user ID and password, you can check your account balance, change your PIN and review purchases. You can also get this information by calling customer service at (888) 997-9333.
Although your food stamps can be used in many places throughout Arizona, there are limitations on what you buy with them. You can buy most foods fit for human consumption as well as vegetable seeds for planting, herbs and spices, and diabetic and health foods. You can even use your benefits to purchase infant formula. What you cannot buy with your food stamps are alcohol and tobacco products, pet food, vitamins or medication. Hot food is also off limits, unless prepared by a restaurant participating in the restaurant meals program.