Pennsylvania Food Stamps: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for Pennsylvania food stamp benefits, you’ve come to the right place. This article dives deep into everything you need to know about the PA food stamp.

Pennsylvania Food Stamps

Food Stamps, currently known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has always been controversial.

It’s meant to help ensure that everyone gets enough to eat, and the program assures applicants that they have the right to be treated with “dignity, consideration, and respect.”

Yet, the program also imposes lots of complicated rules on users, and many people have shared opinions about whether users are making “acceptable” choices with their SNAP dollars.

In this article:

About Pennsylvania Food Stamp

The Pennsylvania Food Stamp Program currently known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps you and your family buy food needed for good health.

You can buy food from most grocery stores and other retailers that sell food. If you meet the program guidelines, you will get a special debit card (called an EBT Card).

This debit card comes with a certain amount of money already on it to pay for food. The amount of money you get on the card may depend on three things:

  • household income from all sources (earned and unearned) such as money you get from a job, Social Security, SSI, or interest
  • how many people live in your household
  • where you live

You can use the card at most grocery stores, certain senior centers, and some meal delivery services such as Meals on Wheels. It works just like a regular debit card.

You buy your groceries using the card and the cost is taken out of the total amount on the card. More money is put on your debit card on a monthly basis.

How to Apply

To apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you can print and fill out the application form and mail it to your local office.

You can also apply by using the online application. Call your State Hotline at (800) 692-7462 or (800) 451-5886 (TDD) to see if you can apply by phone.

If you are receiving or applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the state has created the Pennsylvania Combined Application Project (CAP) to make it easier for you to apply for SNAP.

To get SNAP and SSI, please contact your local Social Security Administration Office for more information.


You can get help from this program if you have limited income and resources. Some resources such as your home, car, and certain retirement accounts may not be counted when determining whether you meet the program guidelines.

In some cases, you may be able to take part in this program without having to do anything. You will automatically get the program or have more generous rules if you and/or members of your household already get cash benefits from other programs such as:

  • Public or General Assistance
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Additionally, if you get non-cash benefits (such as TANF-funded informational brochures), you do not need to meet any resource limits.

What is the Citizenship Guidelines?

What Are The Citizenship Guidelines?

If you are a U.S. citizen and meet the other program guidelines, you may get help from this program. If you live in the United States but are not a U.S. citizen, you may still apply if you and/or members of your household meet at least one of the following guidelines for legal immigrants:

  • lived legally in the United States for at least 5 years or more
  • get disability-related assistance or benefits, no matter when you entered the United States
  • children under the age of 18, no matter when the child entered the United States

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What is Required from You

  • Documents Showing Number of People Living in Household
  • Household Address
  • Documents Showing Household Expenses
  • Medical Costs Documents
  • Social Security Receipts
  • Proof of Age
  • Proof of Income and Resources

Items You Can Buy With PA Food Stamp

Here is the list of food items you are allowed to purchase with your SNAP Benefits card:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats, fish, poultry
  • Deli meats and steak
  • Dairy products
  • Bread
  • Cereals
  • Seeds and plants that produce food for the household
  • Soft drinks
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Snack crackers
  • Ice cream
  • Energy drinks (must have a nutrition label)
  • Live seafood, such as lobster, fish, and shellfish
  • Pumpkins (as long as they are edible)
  • Birthday cakes (the non-edible piece of the cake cannot exceed 50 percent)
  • Bakery items
Items You Can Buy With PA Food Stamp

Items You Can’t Buy With the PA Food Stamp

Despite the fact that we just listed a wide range of items that you can buy, there are actually plenty of things you are not allowed to purchase with SNAP benefits.

Some make perfect sense; there’s no way taxpayers are going to fund cigarette or alcohol purchases. But there are valid arguments that some of the following items should be covered. They include;

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Toiletries
  • Pet food
  • Grocery bag fees
  • Food shipping charges
  • Live animals
  • Alcohol and cigarettes


Final Say

1. Can you buy energy drinks with food stamps?

Energy drinks that have a nutrition label are eligible foods. However, energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements and are therefore not eligible under food stamps rules.

2. Can you purchase pumpkins with food stamps?

Pumpkins are edible and eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. However, inedible gourds and pumpkins that are used solely for ornamental purposes are not eligible.

3. Can I buy gift baskets (like Easter Baskets) with food stamps?

Yes, you can purchase gift baskets with food stamps.

The SNAP program is a nationwide entitlement program. This means that as long as you meet the rules for SNAP/food stamps, you have a legal right to receive them.

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