New Mexico Food Stamps (SNAP) Application Information

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was previously known as the Food Stamps Program, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - on the federal level. On the state level, SNAP is administered by the Income Support Division (ISD) of the Human Services Department (HSD).

During the previous years, Food Stamps Program was in the process of modernization and that's how SNAP was created. One of the main differences between these two programs is the way financial benefits are brought to a user. The main goals remained unchanged, since SNAP still provides government assistance to low-income families in order to pay portion of their monthly food expenses. This amount depends on the several factors, like household size, income, and monthly expenses.

Most future users are interested in how much money they can possibly receive once they became SNAP enrollees. This amount is usually referred to as "allotment", which is the exact amount of benefits that has been approved for you. Maximum monthly allotment, in comparison with the number of people in household, is:

  • For a household of 1, maximum allotment is $200
  • For a household of 2, maximum allotment is $367
  • For a household of 3, maximum allotment is $526
  • For a household of 4, maximum allotment is $668
  • For a household of 5, maximum allotment is $793
  • For a household of 6, maximum allotment is $952
  • For a household of 7, maximum allotment is $1,052
  • For a household of 8, maximum allotment is $1,202
  • For each additional person in your household, add $150

Previously listed amounts are maximum allotments, which mean that they also depend on your household's expenses and income. For example, in 2009, the average monthly allotment was $117 per person, in the state of New Mexico.

If you'd like to precisely calculate your allotment, here's how to do that. First, you'll need to know your net monthly income. This is calculated by deducting a certain amounts from your gross income. Now choose the allotment previously listed (according to the household size) and deduct 30% of your monthly net income.

Example: A household of 4 (whose maximum allotment is $668) has a net monthly income of $900. Now, we will deduct 30% from the $900, which is $270. Finally, deduct $270 from the $668 and that's $398. This number presents your monthly SNAP payment.

Even though most families are mainly interested in monthly payments which will provide better nutrition and more food on the table, SNAP also comes with some interesting additional benefits. These are nutrition classes which will help stretch your SNAP financial assistance. You can learn new recipes and take part in some group activities. There are classes for different age groups: adults, children and teens.

These classes are free of charge and you can find one in your local area. To find out which classes are held in your town, call 1-877-993-3637 or go to the website of the New Mexico State University at http://www.nmsu.edu/. These classes are known as the Food Stamp (or SNAP) Nutrition Education Program.

After you've been approved for SNAP enrollment, you'll receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This is a debit card which could be used to purchase foods at qualifying food stores. You will receive monthly benefits directly deposited to your EBT card, automatically at the beginning of each month. This is one of the main differences from the previous Food Stamps Program, since "food stamps" are no longer issued.

In order to use your EBT card, you'll have to know your PIN (Personal Identification Number). You will receive this number in a letter along with your new debit card. Make sure you remember this number since it will be needed in order to authorize the payment. Keep your EBT card safe and in case you lose it, or in case someone steals it from you, immediately call EBT Customer Service at 1-800-283-4465 (in case you're calling after business hours, use this number: 1-800-843-8303).

You'll be able to use your EBT card just like any other payment card. When you wish to pay, slide the card through the card reader or simply hand it over to your cashier. Now you'll need to enter your PIN and the amount of your purchase will be automatically subtracted from your account. Make sure you receive a receipt, where you'll be able to see your expenses as well as the remaining amount on your account.

There are certain rules on which items you can use your SNAP benefits:

  • You can buy any foods, except ready-to-eat like restaurant foods
  • You can buy seeds and plants in order to grow your own fruits or vegetables
  • You can't use SNAP benefits on items like alcohol, tobacco products, medication, pet foods, hygienic products, and paper goods
  • In the case of disabled or elderly individuals, SNAP benefits can be used to purchase home-delivered meals
  • SNAP benefits can be used in drug or alcohol treatments facilities, homeless shelters, shelters for battered woman, etc.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be approved for SNAP enrollment, you'll need to meet a certain requirements. These can be grouped into three groups: general, financial and work requirements.

  • You need to be a U.S. citizen or a legal alien
  • You need to be a New Mexico resident
  • You need to have a Social Security numbers (or you can apply for them)
  • You need to meet the current Federal Poverty Level guidelines which are specific for different household sizes. For the newest information on the current FPL, go to:
    http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.cfm
  • You need to meet a certain income limits

These income limits are specific to a different household sizes. In general, your household need to have gross or net monthly income below the current levels:

  • Family of one: gross monthly income: $1,180 / net monthly income: $980
  • Family of two: gross monthly income: $1,594 / net monthly income: $1,226
  • Family of three: gross monthly income: $2,008 / net monthly income: $1,545
  • Family of four: gross monthly income: $2,422 / net monthly income: $1,863
  • For each additional member of your household add $414 (to the gross income amount) and $319 (to the net income amount)

Your income can be: wages, salaries, SSI/TANF/GA income, workers' compensation, child support and alimony, rental income, etc. There are some types of income which could not be counted: child care, irregular income, tax refunds and rebates, private charities, fuel assistance, Medicare drug benefits, etc.

WORK REQUIREMENTS

Most future SNAP enrollees need to meet a work requirement to qualify for assistance, but there are some cases where individuals are exempt from this rule. Adult SNAP enrollees will need to actively search for a job, or they can choose to take a part in a training program. These activities will be reviewed by the ISD, which will help you with finding a suitable employment.

You can be exempt from this rule these cases:

  • You're younger than 16, or older than 60
  • You're not able to work as a result of your mental or physical condition
  • You're taking care of a child under the age of 6
  • You're taking care of a disabled or incapacitated individual
  • You're taking part in the drug or alcohol treatment program
  • You're a student

Food Stamps Application Instructions

In order to apply you'll need to fill out an application form and turn it in, along with the additional documentation which will prove your eligibility.

There are a number of ways to apply for SNAP enrollment:

Download/Paper Application

You can print out an application form, and turn it in at your local Human Services Department office. You can find an application by following this link:
www.hsd.state.nm.us/pdf/ISD 100 Application for Assistance Revised 4-15-11.pdf

Apply In-Person

You can also visit one of your local ISD (Income Support Division) offices, where you can find application forms. A list of ISD offices can be found here:
www.hsd.state.nm.us/isd/fieldoffices.html

Apply by Phone

Finally, in case you're not able to turn in your application personally, you can apply by calling Income Support Division toll-free information at 1-800-432-6217.

The additional documentation that you'll need to gather can be separated into two groups:

1. Nonfinancial information:

  • Documents regarding your identity (ID card or driver's license)
  • Social Security numbers for each member of your household
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status
  • Proof of residency
  • A list of your household members

2. Financial information:

  • Income documents like paystubs, tax return, Social Security Income checks or any other income documentation
  • Documentation regarding your resources like retirement and saving accounts, stocks and bonds, credit union accounts, etc.
  • Documentation regarding your household's expenses like rent, mortgage, utility bills, deductible medical expenses and any other regular monthly expenses

A process of approval usually takes several steps. First, you'll need to file an application. Next, you'll need to attend an interview where an ISD worker will review your case and this is when you'll be instructed which additional documentation you need to gather. You should expect receiving a definite answer on your SNAP enrollment within 30 days of the date you applied.

There's also an emergency (expedited) procedure, which is used when a household has very little money. In this case, an application will be processed in a period no longer than 7 days. You can use expedited service in these cases:

  • If your household has gross monthly income less than $150 and if savings and cash are less than $100
  • If your household has gross monthly income and resources less than your rent, plus utilities
  • If a household is comprised of seasonal or migrant workers with $100 or less in cash and savings.

You should be also aware that your SNAP enrollment comes with a certification period. This is the amount of time you have been approved for benefits. This means that you'll need to renew your application once a certification period comes to an end.

Most SNAP enrollees will have a 12-month certification period, while it can be extended up to 24 month in case of a certain cases.

When this period comes to an end, you'll receive a letter which will notice you that you need to reapply. It will also contain application forms which you'll need to fill out. This procedure is needed simply to re-check your status as a SNAP enrollee and to adjust your monthly benefits according to any changes in your household.