When it's time for a move, you can take your food stamp card with you but you'll need to reapply in your new state. Food stamps are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which means it's a federal program. However, food stamp benefits won't transfer between states, because each state administers the program on its own.
Your food stamp card will work in other states while you're traveling. No matter where your card was originally issued, it should work in grocery stores in any state across the nation, as long as the store accepts the Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, card. Puerto Rico is the only American territory in which the EBT card won't work, simply because there the food stamp program operates on a cash or coupon basis.
Applying in New State
When you get to your destination, you should apply for benefits as soon as possible. Applying quickly reduces the chance that there might be a delay in your benefits. Let your new caseworker know you're receiving benefits from another state so that you don't receive benefits from two states at the same time. This is only allowed if you're fleeing from the other state because you suffered abuse.
Your benefit amount may change due to your move if your financial circumstances have changed. For instance, your benefits may increase in your new state if your housing costs have increased, your income has decreased or there are more people living in your home. Or your benefits may decrease if you're making more money, or if your house costs less or if fewer people live with you.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture decides such things as income guidelines and food stamp benefit amounts. Both remain the same across the continental states, but the income allowances in Hawaii and Alaska are higher and so are the benefits. For instance, in Alaska the maximum income allowed for one person is $1,632 a month, whereas it's $1,307 elsewhere. Also, the benefits are determined by the remoteness of a person's living situation. In Alaska, one person in an urban area can get up to $230 a month in food stamps, whereas an individual living in a rural area qualifies for as much as $357. A family of one can get food stamps in Hawaii while earning $1,502 a month, for an average benefit of $255.97 a month.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Frequently Asked Questions
- State of Alaska Health and Social Services; Food Stamps
- Hawaii Department of Human Services: Department of Human Services Nutrition Program Facts-SNAP
- Benefits.gov: CalFresh
- United States Department of Agriculture: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program