Can I Get Pennsylvania SNAP the Same Day?

If you live in Pennsylvania, have no income or very little income for the month, and you need food assistance right away, you may qualify for Expedited SNAP benefits within 5-days. In this post, we are going to explain how the Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps program works, who is eligible, and how to apply.

Additionally, we will provide details on how much in SNAP you are likely to get once your emergency application is approved.

"Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps"

Table of Content:

  • What are Pennsylvania Food Stamps
  • Who is Eligible for Pennsylvania SNAP Benefits?
  • Can I Get Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps the Same Day?
  • How to Apply for Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps
  • Pennsylvania Food Stamps FAQs

What are Pennsylvania Food Stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) assists low-income individuals and households to purchase nutritional food.

Eligibility for SNAP, as well as how much you will receive, is based on your household’s size and income level.

A household can be one person, a group of people, a family, or any combination of people that buy and prepare food together.

Children living with their parents are considered part of the same household until age 22.

Furthermore, many legal non-citizens are eligible for SNAP benefits.

Also, even if you can’t get SNAP benefits for yourself, other members of your household may be eligible.

The Food Stamps Program is a federal entitlement program.

This means that anyone that meets the eligibility requirements will receive benefits.

In the state of Pennsylvania, the SNAP program is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).

Once approved for SNAP, your monthly benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, also known as the Pennsylvania ACCESS card.

The PA ACCESS card works just like a bank debit card to buy food at most grocery stores and markets (including some Farmers Markets).

Who is Eligible for Pennsylvania SNAP Benefits?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) assists low-income individuals and households to purchase nutritional food.

Eligibility for Pennsylvania SNAP, as well as how much you will receive, is based on your household’s size and income level.

You are eligible for PA SNAP benefits if your income is low, no matter what kind of income you have.

Income includes wages, welfare, SSI, social security, child support, unemployment compensation, rental income, etc.

Additionally, many people who have jobs can still get PA SNAP if their wages are low or if they support large families.

Furthermore, a group of people who live together can get food stamps as long as they buy food and make their meals together, even if they are not related.

Also, a person living alone can also get food stamps.

Lastly, homeless people can get food stamps, as well as women and children who live in shelters, even if the shelter provides meals.

Can I Get Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps the Same Day?

You can get Expedited SNAP benefits if one of the following applies to your situation:

  • Does your household have $100 or less in available cash and bank accounts
    and expect to receive less than $150 in income this month?
  • Are you a migrant or seasonal farmworker?
  • Are your monthly gross income and cash and bank accounts less than your
    rent/mortgage and utility costs for this month?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may have a right to expedited SNAP benefits.

This means you can get SNAP benefits within five calendar days of the date you apply.

How to Apply for Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps

Here’s how to Apply for Expedited Food Stamps

Step 1 – Visit your local County Assistance Office

The first step in the process is to visit your local county assistance office (CAO). For the closest DHS local county assistance office near you, click here.

Once you arrive at the county assistance office, tell the receptionist that you are in need of Expedited Food Stamps.

The worker there should give you an application to fill out.

It is your right to file an application that day at any time before 5 p.m.

The person at the CAO will datestamp your application while you watch.

When you apply, you will need to prove:

1. Your identity, by producing a driver’s license, birth certificate, or Social Security card, etc.;

2. The number and identity of persons in your household (bring birth certificates or Social Security cards of your children);

3. Your income (if any);

4. Your liquid resources (bring bank books or bank statements).

You should not be denied Emergency Food Stamps because you cannot provide written proof of the items listed above, but the more written proof you have, the better your chances will be.

Step 2 – You will be Interviewed

The next step in the process is an interview. The caseworker in charge of your file will schedule your interview.

You will be interviewed. Your interview must be conducted on the same day you request Emergency Food Stamps.

Also, you will be notified at the end of the interview if you are eligible for expedited processing or not.

Step 3 – Benefits will be Issued if You Qualify

If you meet any one of the criteria for expedited service and you are eligible for SNAP benefits, the CAO is required to make sure the first benefit is available to you within five calendar days.

Additionally, If the 1st day of the 5-day count is followed by 4 nonbusiness days, the CAO must issue the card on day 1 to meet the 5-day deadline.

For Example, if Mr. Smith files an application for Expedited SNAP benefits on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the 5-day count begins Wednesday.

Since the CAO is closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, the PA EBT ACCESS card will be issued no later than Wednesday.

If you are Denied Expedited Benefits

If you are denied expedited SNAP benefits, you have the right to an agency conference within two working days with a supervisor at the CAO.

Additionally, if you believe you are being denied your rights or services, or if the CAO does not take your application when you hand it in and date-stamp it while you watch,
ask to talk with a supervisor or call the Helpline toll-free at 1-800-692-7462.

You can get free legal help at the local legal services office.

Step 4 – Complete Application for Continued Benefits

Once you are approved for expedited SNAP benefits, you have to complete the rest of the regular PA SNAP application process in order to continue receiving benefits.

This means that you will be called back for another interview and asked to submit certain documents.

If you do not follow through, you will not continue to receive Food Stamps.

Pennsylvania Food Stamps FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Pennsylvania Food Stamps.

What is the Income Limit for PA Food Stamps?

There are many factors that determine how much you will receive in SNAP benefits in Pennsylvania.

These include household size, monthly income, and if a member of your household is 60 years old or older, or has a disability.

The income limit is perhaps the most important factor.

Most households in Pennsylvania must have a total gross monthly income less than or equal to 130% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (FPIG), to be potentially eligible for SNAP.

The Pennsylvania SNAP Income Chart provided below shows both the gross monthly income and net monthly income based on your household size.

PA SNAP Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2022
Effective October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022
Household Size PA SNAP Maximum Gross Monthly Income (130% FPIG) Maximum Gross Monthly Income for household with member age 60+ or disabled (200% FPIG) Maximum Net Monthly Income (100% FPIG)
1 $1,396 $2,148 $1,074
2 $1,888 $2,904 $1,452
3 $2,379 $3,660 $1,830
4 $2,871 $4,418 $2,209
5 $3,363 $5,174 $2,587
6 $3,855 $5,930 $2,965
7 $4,347 $6,688 $3,344
8 $4,839 $7,444 $3,722
​9 ​$5,331 $8,202 $4,101
​10 ​$5,823 $8,960 $4,480
Each additional member +$492 +$758 +$379

How much will I get in Food Stamps in Pennsylvania?

If you are approved for Pennsylvania SNAP benefits, how much you will receive depends on your household size and net income.

The table below provides the maximum monthly benefit and the estimated average monthly benefit based on household size.

The amount you receive may differ from these amounts due to your income and other factors.

A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine your SNAP eligibility and benefit amount.

Household Size Maximum SNAP Benefit Estimated Average Monthly Benefit
1 $250 $175
2 $459 $334
3 $658 $520
4 $835 $638
5 $992 $748
6 $1,190 $869
7 $1,316 $941
8 $1,504 $1,137
Each additional member (+$188)

What can I buy with my Pennylvans EBT card?

Your Pennsylvania EBT Card can be used to purchase any eligible food items that can be consumed or prepared at home.

Here is the list of eligible items you can buy with your Pennsylvania EBT Card:

  • Alcohol Mixers
  • Baby Food (for example, infant formula, cereals, juices)
  • Baker’s yeast
  • Bottled water
  • Baked Goods
  • Breads and Cereals
  • Cakes that are more than 50% edible
  • Candy
  • Coffee
  • Cooking Ingredients
  • Corn Husks
  • Dairy Products
  • Deli food (for example, cold sandwiches, subs, sushi, salads)
  • Energy Drinks with a Nutrition Label
  • Frozen foods (for example, Entrees, Frozen Dinners, frozen vegetables, and fruits)
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  •  Gift baskets (if the value of food item is at least 50% of the total price)
  •  Honey
  •  Ice (such as, cubed, bagged, or blocked)
  •  Ice Cream
  •  Lunch Meat
  •  Meats, Fish, Seafood, and Poultry
  •  Non-Alcoholic Beverages
  •  Nutrition and Dietary Supplements
  •  Organic foods
  •  Rotisserie Chicken (If it is in a cold display case)
  •  Seeds
  •  Slimfast, Muscle Milk, Ensure
  •  Soft Drinks (Soda)
  •  Spices
  •  Sushi (deli packaged sushi to go)
  •  Uncooked Pizza
  •  Vegan foods
  • Vegetable Plants

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list. However, we made sure to include our most frequently searched items by our readers.

What does EBT not cover?

Your Pennsylvania EBT Card can not be used to purchase any hot or prepared food item, as well as any non-food items.

Here is a list of items that your EBT does not cover:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Soaps, paper products, cosmetics, grooming items
  • Pet food (for example, dog food, cat food, etc.)
  • Vitamins or medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

Other Items you cannot buy with your EBT Card include:

  • Charcoal
  • Cod liver oil
  • Cough drops
  • Crabs (cooked and hot)
  • Diapers
  • Dietary Supplements (for example, GNC, and most protein powders)
  • Dry ice
  • Energy drinks with Supplement Information labels (for example, 5-Hour Energy)
  • Fertilizer and insecticides
  • Flax oil
  • Fountain Drinks
  • Gift baskets (if the food part of the gift basket is less than 50% of the total price)
  • Ice cream cone/sundae
  • Livestock (for example, live animals or birds)
  • Cakes (that are more than 50% non-edible)
  • Toilet paper

Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps Summary

We hope our post on Pennsylvania Expedited Food Stamps was helpful to you!

If you need additional help determining your eligibility for food stamps or submitting your application for Pennsylvania SNAP, please let us know in the comments section below.

If you found this article helpful, we encourage you to please share it with someone using the “Share this” button below.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our other articles on Pennsylvania SNAP and EBT:
Pennsylvania SNAP Benefits FAQs
How to Create COMPASS Online Account
My COMPASS PA Account Login
PA EBT Deposit Dates


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