How to Apply for Food Stamps in Pennsylvania


It is important to know how to apply for food stamps in Pennsylvania if you are eligible for SNAP benefits. The food stamps application process begins when you or someone representing your household files an application with a state county assistance office (CAO). There are many ways to apply for food assistance in Pennsylvania including online and in person. The food stamp application form contains many fields of information for the applicant to complete. The more detail you can provide about your circumstances, the faster your application will be processed. On this page, you will learn how to apply for SNAP benefits in PA as well as the information you are required to provide on your application.

Ways to Apply for Food Assistance in Pennsylvania

Any resident may submit a food stamps application in Pennsylvania, though not all applicants will be approved. Residents can submit an online food stamps application or fill out the paper application and apply by mail, by fax, in person or through an Authorized Representative (AR). To apply for food stamps online, you will need to fill out an application for SNAP benefits. Applying online gives you the flexibility to be able to apply at any time. You can also learn more than how to apply for foods stamps online, such as check your application status and view your account. The online portal allows you to renew your food stamps after you have already had benefits for a while.

However, you are not required to apply for food stamps online if you do not feel comfortable with computers or do not have access to the internet. You can also submit a food stamps application in person at a CAO. To do so, download and print an application for SNAP benefits online to fill it out. This SNAP application is available in English, Spanish and at least four other languages, with language assistance available at your local CAO. You will need to apply for food assistance with the CAO in the county where you reside. If you apply at any other CAO, then the office should take steps to transfer your application information to the correct CAO.

The Pennsylvania food stamps application does not have to be filled out by someone in your household or by someone who will receive the SNAP benefits if the application meets the SNAP eligibility requirements for approval. Food stamp applicants may be the head of the household, the spouse of the head of household or any other trusted and responsible person inside or outside of the household. If the person is not part of the household (e.g., a neighbor or friend), then the applicant is called an Authorized Representative. However, even if an AR is applying for food stamps on behalf of the household, at least one member of the household is required to review the application to make sure that all information is correct and not misleading. If an AR completes the required interview on behalf of the household, then a household representative must still review the SNAP application. The CAO must assist with the application for food stamps by providing a telephone number that the household can call with any questions regarding the application. This is part of the CAO’s obligation to “assist” with the food stamp application form. The CAO must also inform the household that it is responsible for any false or misleading information on the application, even if the information was provided by an AR.

When you fill out a food stamp application, the CAO should stamp the date on the application’s receipt. This stamp is important because your SNAP application date determines how much you will receive retroactively in benefits once your benefits are released. Download our comprehensive guide for more details about completing the SNAP application and receiving benefits successfully.

Note: If you are applying for cash assistance, then you may use that same application to apply for food assistance. However, an application for Medical Assistance does not count as a SNAP application, and you must apply separately for food stamps. Further, if your application is denied or you have SNAP benefits that have expired, then you do not need to fill out a new food assistance application to reapply if the reapplication occurs within 30 days of the denial or closing.

Information You Need to Provide on Your Pennsylvania Food Stamp Application Form

On your Pennsylvania food stamps application form, you will need to provide proof of SNAP eligibility. However, if you are a member of a household wondering how to apply for food stamps, then you may be relieved to know that you do not necessarily have to fill out all of the information fields on the SNAP application form. There are only three fields required for the CAO to accept and process an application:

  • Whoever is applying must provide a name
  • The household’s address
  • The applicant’s signature

These three simple elements are all that is necessary for a food stamps application to be processed by the CAO. However, food stamps applicants are encouraged to provide as much information as possible, as the more information there is on an application, the faster that application will be processed. Before the end of the application process, the household member or AR must provide a Social Security Number to the CAO or apply for one if necessary.

Learn more about the information required on a food assistance application by reviewing the details in our comprehensive guide.

What Is the Division of Family and Children Services in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania provides services for families and children who are most in need. The division provides resources for free and reduced lunch, food stamps and temporary cash assistance for needy families. To find out if you are eligible for these services, download our comprehensive guide to review the eligibility requirements for each program.

How Can I Apply for Assistance Through the Division of Family and Children Services?

In order to be considered for the benefit programs offered by the Division of Family and Children Services, you must submit an application via an approved method. Additionally, many of the services provided by the division have eligibility requirements that you must meet to obtain benefits. Learn all about the application processes for these programs by downloading our guide.