The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, informally known as food stamps, is a federal program that is run at the state level. In Montana, the Department of Health and Human Services processes applications and distributes SNAP funds. Any resident who meets citizenship, income and resources qualifications can receive assistance through SNAP.
Montana residents can receive monthly benefits to use toward the purchase of food item such as produce, meat and dairy products, or to purchase seeds for growing fruits and vegetables. How much a participant receives each month depends on the size of his family. For example, a four-person household can receive $668 a month, as of 2011, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. All recipients are given an electronic benefit card they can use like a debit card. The Montana Department of Public Health loads the allotted amount onto the card each month. Recipients can pay for food purchases with the card at any participating store.
To be eligible for SNAP, applicants must reside in Montana and be either U.S. citizens or immigrants who meets federal qualifications. Applicants must be able to provide proof of residency and their Social Security Number to apply. Applicants must also have limited financial resources and meet federal low-income guidelines. The total financial resources for a family, including checking and savings accounts, stocks or bonds and some real estate cannot exceed $2,000. Families with members over the age of 60 can have $3,000 in resources. Income guidelines depend on the size of the family unit. For example, a family of three cannot make more than $1,984 gross each month, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Montana requires that all able-bodied adults ages 16 to 59 in a household receiving SNAP benefits register for work. Adults may also need to complete an employment and training program. Failure to register for work could cause the family member to lose her benefits.
How to Apply
Residents can apply by completing an application for assistance and mailing or delivering it in person to their local Office of Public Assistance. All applicants must complete an interview with a SNAP caseworker. This interview can be done in person, over the phone or at the applicant’s home. The applicant will need to provide proof of residency and income for any adult in their household. The caseworker may ask for additional documentation at the time of the interview.