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State of Montana
SNAP Program Overview

Effective October 1, 2008 the federal Food Stamp Program was renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The name change more accurately reflects the mission of providing supplemental food and nutrition assistance to low income people. SNAP recipients use EBT cards, which are similar to debit cards, to purchase food in authorized retail stores.

Who Is Eligible To Participate In The Program?

*Please Read This Before You Apply For Snap Benefits.

  • People who live together and buy food and prepare meals together are grouped as a “household” for SNAP. Husbands and wives, and children under age 22 living with their natural, adoptive or stepparents must be considered as one household.
  • Household members that wish to be included must be U.S. citizens or legal aliens.
  • Household members that wish to be included must furnish or apply for a social security number.
  • Income and resource guidelines listed in this overview must be met.
  • Able-bodied household members who are age 16 through 59 must register for work, and may be required to participate in a SNAP Employment and Training Program unless a specified exemption is met.

Where Do Households Go To Apply For Snap Benefits?

  1. Apply online at apply.mt.gov.
  2. Call or visit your local Office of Public Assistance.
  3. Download the PDF application.

Expedited Services

The intent of expedited services is to make food benefits available within seven calendar days of the application date to eligible households who meet the following criteria:
  • Households with less than $150 in monthly gross income and $100 or less in liquid resources; or
  • Migrant or seasonal farm worker households with $100 or less in liquid resources; OR
  • Households with a combined monthly gross income and liquid resources less than the household’s monthly rent (or mortgage) and utilities.

Financial Criteria

  • Income
    • Households who meet the gross and net income standards listed below may participate in SNAP.
    • Households who meet the gross monthly income standard are then evaluated for the net monthly income standard after allowable deductions have been taken into consideration.

October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014

Households that meet Expanded Categorical Eligibility criteria

All Other Households

Gross Monthly
Net Monthly
Income Standard
Gross Monthly
Net Monthly
Income Standard
1 $1,916 $ 958 1 $1,245 $958
2 $2,586 $1,293 2 $1,681 $1,293
3 $3,256 $1,628 3 $2,116 $1,628
4 $3,926 $1,963 4 $2,552 $1,963
5 $4,596 $2,298 5 $2,987 $2,298
6 $5,266 $2,633 6 $3,423 $2,298
7 $5,936 $2,968 7 $3,858 $2,968
8 $6,606 $3,303 8 $4,294 $3,303
+$670 +$335 Each Additional
+$436 +$335
  • Resources
    • Resources of individuals that meet the Expanded Categorical Eligibility criteria are excluded. If all members of your household meet Expanded Categorical Eligibility criteria all household resources will be excluded. In order to determine if members of your household meet this criteria please contact your local Office of Public Assistance.
    • If the household does not meet Expanded Categorical Eligibility criteria, countable household resources cannot exceed:
      • $3,000 for households that include a member age 60 or over, or include a disabled household member, and
      • $2000 for all other households.
    • The home you live in, vehicles, tax-preferred educational and retirement accounts, and combat-related military pay are excluded as resources.
    • Households in which all household members are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance, tribal TANF cash assistance, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are not subject to a resource limit.

  • Deductions
    Allowable deductions for SNAP are listed below. The following deductions can be subtracted from countable income when determining a household’s SNAP benefits:
    • Twenty percent (20%) of the total gross earned income for each household;
    • A standard deduction of the net income limit based on the household size;
    • Certain dependent-care costs;
    • Legally owed and paid child support;
    • A percentage of shelter costs; and
    • A medical expense deduction can be allowed for the portion of non-reimbursable medical expenses that exceed $35 per month per household. This deduction is allowed for elderly and disabled household members.

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)

  • The State of Montana has implemented an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) System for the delivery of SNAP benefits. The EBT System eliminated paper food stamp coupons. Instead, SNAP participants are issued a debit card (called the Montana Access Card) for purchasing food products.
  • All Montana EBT participants have access to a help desk hotline (1-866-850-1556). This interactive voice response system provides functions such as PIN selection, balance inquiry, and review of the last 10 transactions, as well as help with EBT system problems.
  • SNAP benefits are electronically transferred to an account linked to the participant’s debit card. Participants use the debit card, along with their personal identification number (PIN), to purchase food using an online system similar to commercial point of sale (POS) services.

Farmers Market

EBT debit cards can be used to buy fresh produce at participating Farmers Markets.

Nutrition Education (SNAP ED)

  • SNAP offers participants nutritional information and education opportunities.
  • The goal of the program is to help individuals and families develop skills and behaviors leading to improved nutritional well-being.
  • Nutrition Education Topics include:
    • Using the USDA Food Guide Pyramid to make healthier choice
    • Managing and budgeting food resources (money, SNAP benefits, commodities, WIC foods)
    • Meal planning and making foods stretch
    • Food buying
    • Low-cost food preparation
    • Food safety and sanitation
  • For more information please contact your local Public Assistance Office.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department.  (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

For any other information dealing with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues, persons should either contact the USDA SNAP Hotline Number at (800) 221-5689, which is also in Spanish or call the State Information/Hotline Numbers (click the link for a listing of hotline numbers by State); found online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/contact_info/hotlines.htm.

USDA and DPHHS are equal opportunity providers and employers

Page last updated: 09/17/2014