Emergency SNAP food stamps.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service offers an emergency food stamp program for families or individuals that are facing a crisis. The goal of this service is to expedite the application process for those households that have no other options available to them. Beneficiaries of this service they may be able to receive their food stamps in a shorter period of time.

This is a bridge type program only. Depending on the state where the applicant lives, it can assist the household for a matter of days or up to one month. Then, at the end of that time frame, the person will need to apply for the “regular” SNAP food stamp program.

The application for aid can be approved in as few as 7 business days. This therefore means that the EBT benefit card can be provided to the client in a very short period of time. However the expedited SNAP food stamp program has its own application criteria, as noted below.

How to apply for food stamps in a crisis

There are several qualifications that need to be met. These can be changed based on the state and also the United States Department of Agriculture may also modify the regulations. It is always recommended to call a local social service office for the latest information. However each state will need to review and either approve or deny an application within 7 days.

  • The applicant needs to have a very low income. This will usually be around less than $500 per month, with a higher limit in place based on number of household members.
  • The family needs to have very little savings to their name, usually last than $1000.
  • Emergency SNAP is for households that are out of other options and that can't qualify for help from a charity, USDA food program, or state aid.
  • Identification is needed as well as proof of income.
  • Immigrants, migrants, refugees, the homeless, and seasonal farm workers with a very low income are often assisted.





Note that all applicants will be required to show proof of their social security number, immigration status, monthly expenses, disability (if applicable) and more. Most, if not all of this information may be required. If there is some documentation that is not able to be provided then the state may still expedite the application to SNAP food stamps. This is done at their discretion though and they are under no obligation to do this.

The amount of assistance available from the emergency SNAP program is very limited. It is a stop gap service in that it provides temporary help so the family can seek other aid. So the Electronic Benefit Transfer Card (EBT) will only be loaded with enough money to last for about 1 month. This time-frame will allow the family time to seek other support.

Most of the people that use the expedited service will just be rolled over onto the long term SNAP program at the end of one month. Even when applying for this longer term regular benefit, the application will need to be reviewed within 30 days. During that window of there there needs to also be some formal notice given to the person that states if they were approved or denied and for what reason. If the application is approved, the award letter should tell the family how much money they will be allocated each month.

The federal government created the emergency application process for a reason. That was to try to stop a family from going hungry. While expedited food stamps only give a small amount of assistance, it can make a big difference in the lives of someone that is truly struggling and facing a crisis.




The phone number to apply at or to get more details is 1-800-221-5689. It is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It is an effective place to learn more about applying for SNAP food stamps in an emergency. Or for even more responsive service, call a local social service office in your town or state, and the phone numbers can be found using the search box above or on the main SNAP page.






Like this site?