Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

 

SNAP header image

About the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income households in Colorado purchase food. It provides a monthly benefit that helps families and individuals buy the food they need for good health.

The benefit is provided based on income, resources and the number of individuals in the household. Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are used to receive the benefit and can be used similar to debit cards at participating food stores. The benefit can be doubled in value by shopping at participating markets and food stores that support the Double Up Food Bucks program.

SNAP is part of a federal nutrition program to help low-income households purchase food. County human services departments are responsible for determining eligibility and authorizing SNAP. 

SNAP is good for the local economy. Households participating in SNAP spend more on food. By providing more resources for food, SNAP helps free up cash for households with low-income to buy other essential items, like diapers and medication. As a result, retail sales increase, benefiting stores that sell both food and non-food items.

SNAP by the numbers infographic

What you need to know

Who is eligible for SNAP?

Those who qualify for SNAP include persons who may meet one of the following options:

  • Work for low wages
  • Are unemployed or work part-time
  • Receive TANF, SSI or other assistance payments
  • Are elderly or disabled and live on a small income
  • Are children
  • Adults ages 18 to 49 who have no children in their home (known as ABAWDs, able-bodied adults without dependents)

Individuals, couples and families may qualify if their income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). See the table below for gross monthly income limits and current maximum monthly SNAP allotments, based on household size. Note: All values below are effective through June 30.

Household size Gross monthly income limits Maximum monthly allotment
1 $2,128 $234
2 $2,874 $430
3 $3,620 $616
4 $4,368 $782
5 $5,114 $929
6 $5,860 $1,114
7 $6,608 $1,232
8 $7,354 $1,408
Each additional member (add) +$748 +$176

 

To see if you qualify, complete this pre-screening tool on the Colorado PEAK website. (Note: This tool is not an application for SNAP.)

Are students eligible for SNAP?

Yes. Most students in higher education are not aware they could qualify for SNAP. In fact, there are even more flexibilities in SNAP eligibility for students. Most students with low incomes who meet any of the following might be eligible for SNAP:

  • Enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education
  • Age 18 through 49
  • Meets one of these student exemptions:*
    • Employed an average of 20 hours per week/80 hours per month
    • A single parent enrolled full time with responsibility for the care of a dependent child under age 12
    • Eligible for a state or federally financed work-study program (even if they currently do not have a work-study job on campus)
    • Receiving Colorado Works (TANF cash grant) 
    • Responsible for more than half of the physical care of a dependent household member under the age of 6
    • Participation in Colorado’s Employment First Program
    • Responsible for more than half of the physical care of a dependent household member who is at age of 6 but is under the age of 12 where adequate child care is not available
    • Participating in an on-the-job training program while going to the institution of higher education
    • Be physically or mentally unfit (similar to general work requirements)
    • Students who have an expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0

* A student enrolled less than half time in an institution of higher education, does not need to meet the additional student exemptions.

How do I apply for SNAP?

There are several ways to apply for SNAP benefits:

Remember, when filling out the application, please provide as much information as possible. If you need help or do not understand a question, a staff member can help you.

What documents do I need to apply?

Proof of income

  • 30 days of earned income (pay stubs, employer statement that includes pay per hour and hours per week, etc.)
  • Self-employment bookkeeping records (if self-employed)
  • Agency letter showing unearned income (Social Security Retirement or Disability income, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs (VA) pension or disability benefits, Unemployment, child support, alimony, private retirement, pension, etc.)  

Proof of identity (any of the items below)

  • Driver’s license or state-issued identification card
  • Birth certificate or Social Security card
  • Work or school identification card
  • Voter registration card

Proof of medical expenses (ONLY if over 60 or disabled) 

  • Billing statements or repayment agreements
  • Medicare card, indicating Part B
  • Mileage or transportation costs to/from medical appointments                               
  • Itemized receipts for medical expenses (prescription drugs, medical supplies, etc.)

Other possible documents

  • Immigration or naturalization papers (ONLY if these documents apply to you. For example, NOT required if you are only applying for your children who were born in the United States)
  • Child care expenses (if appropriate)
What happens after I apply?

Once you have submitted an application for SNAP benefits:

  • In most cases, the county human services office has 30 days to determine your eligibility. 
  • If you have less than $100 in cash and less than $150 in monthly earnings, or if your housing expenses exceed your monthly income or if you are a migrant or seasonal farm worker, you may be eligible for expedited SNAP benefits within 7 days.

You may need an interview over the phone. If you prefer, you can request an interview in person.

If an interview is needed, the county human services office may:

  • If you included a phone number on your application, a worker may attempt to call you at the phone number you provided when your application is received.
  • If the worker cannot reach you when attempting to call, you will receive a notice of the date and time of a scheduled interview.     
  • Follow the instructions on the interview notice for how to: 
    • Attend your interview at the scheduled date and time
    • Reschedule your interview if the scheduled date and time is not convenient for you

You may need to provide documents verifying your situation and you can provide them in the following ways:

  • Upload them to your PEAK account on colorado.gov/PEAK
  • Upload them to your MyCOBenefits application on your mobile device
  • Provide them to your county human services office location
  • Mail them to the mailing address on your county’s letterhead or website

You will be provided an EBT card by mail or in-person so you can access your SNAP benefits.

If you disagree with a decision made on your case, you can request a fair hearing in writing, in person, or over the phone. You can use this form to file an appeal.

How are SNAP funds issued?

SNAP benefits are issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, also known as the Colorado Quest Card. It looks like a credit or bank card and can be used at any authorized store across the country that has the EBT or Quest Card logo.

Benefits are deposited into the EBT account on the same day each month, even if it falls on a weekend or holiday. A personal identification number (PIN) is required to access benefits on the EBT account. The PIN is set by the cardholder and is what keeps the benefits safe. The EBT card does not have an expiration date.

Learn more about PIN safety and how to use your EBT card by reading the EBT card brochure (English or Spanish), by calling EBT Customer Service at 1.888.328.2656 (1.800.659.2656 — TTY), or by going to the Colorado EBT page

Register and manage your account here.

What foods can I buy?

The SNAP program allows you to buy any food for the household, such as:

  • Breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meats, fish and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat
  • Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream
  • Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible
  • Coffee, including instant coffee, coffee beans, ground coffee, and products such as single-serve coffee container pods

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes (or other forms of tobacco)
  • Pet foods
  • Soaps and paper products
  • Household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods (or any food sold for on-premises consumption)
  • Live animals

Want to learn more about how to stretch your food budget with healthy meals? Visit our SNAP-Ed page.

How do I know if I'm an ABAWD?

A person is considered an ABAWD — an able-bodied adult without dependents — if they are between the ages of 18 through 49 and are not disabled or living with a child under the age of 18 in their SNAP household.

Requirements for ABAWDs

People who are ABAWDs must do certain work-related activities to remain eligible for SNAP. They must be working or doing approved work activities for at least 80 hours per month. This includes paid work, unpaid work, and in-kind work. In-kind work is working in exchange for a service, such as working off rent. The county can help connect ABAWDs with local work opportunities in the area in order to meet the work requirement.

Important information about the Colorado SNAP ABAWD time limit

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SNAP ABAWD time limit has been temporarily suspended statewide beginning April 1, 2020, until further notice. During this time, ABAWDs will not be required to meet the work requirement to keep receiving SNAP. For more information on COVID-19 and food assistance, visit this page.

Resources

Toolkits for helping Coloradans understand SNAP
  • Are you interested in learning more about the basic rules for the SNAP program? This toolkit was designed to help organizations and volunteers help understand information on SNAP.
  • The Hunger Free Campus Checklist is a statewide initiative to address disparities in food insecurity on college campuses through program implementation and systems reform to ensure that all students in Colorado have the resources they need.
Double Up Food Bucks

The Double Up Food Bucks program (also known as the GusNIP incentive) doubles the value of SNAP benefits spent at participating markets and food retail stores, helping people bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers. For more information, visit the Double Up Food Bucks Colorado website.

Frequently asked questions about EBT cards

Please visit the Colorado EBT page.

New Americans Initiative and public charge

Learn more about the New Americans Initiative, including updated information on the public charge rule.

Colorado regulations for SNAP

Visit the Colorado Secretary of State's website to view the state regulations governing the SNAP program.

SNAP Outreach Plan

View and download the FFY21 SNAP Outreach Plan

SNAP outreach flyers and materials

Hunger Free Colorado outreach flyer (English and Spanish)

Hunger Free Colorado hotline postcard (English and Spanish)

Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger outreach toolkit

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

English version

Spanish version

Other languages

Nutrition education is available for SNAP recipients through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education. SNAP-Ed teaches participants how to buy and prepare healthy foods on a budget and motivates them to increase physical activity.

CDHS's Division of Food and Energy Assistance provides various types of data to the public and our partners, including SNAP application volume, Colorado's Program Access Index history, and various other SNAP statistics. Additional data is available by request.

Employment and training is available through Employment First. Employment First promotes self-sufficiency by preparing SNAP recipients for employment through job-seeking skills training, work experience and job-search support activities.