Preparing for the Pennsylvania Food Stamps Interview

The Pennsylvania food stamps interview for SNAP applicants is conducted by a county assistance office (CAO) in the state. All households must have a face-to-face EBT interview if they are applying for food stamps, even if they have applied online or by some other method. The interview concerns what is required for food stamps and is a way for the CAO to confirm that the applying household meets all eligibility requirements. While the SNAP interview is not the only time during which the CAO reviews applications, it is still an important step in the review process. On this page, you will learn about questions asked during food stamps interview appointments as well as who may be present at the interview and what interviewees must bring.

What is required for food stamps interviews in Pennsylvania?

The SNAP interview in Pennsylvania should be attended by someone representing your household. However, the EBT interview attendee does not necessarily have to be someone living in your household. Any of the following persons may attend the SNAP food stamps interview:

  • The head of your household
  • The spouse of the head of your household
  • Any other household member who is considered to be responsible
  • An authorized representative (AR) who knows important verification information about the household

The main EBT interview attendee may bring whomever he or she wishes, whether or not that person is a member of the applicant household. At the time of SNAP application interview, the CAO is responsible for determining many things about your household. For example, the CAO must learn whether your household meets the eligibility requirements for expedited SNAP benefits, whether your application reflects accurate and current information about your household, whether it needs further documentation proving certain pieces of information and whether the information provided needs to be verified.

Your face-to-face food stamps interview may be waived by the CAO in some cases. You will not have to answer questions at a food stamps interview in the following cases:

  • If no adult member of your household can attend the interview because of age or disability, and your household is unable to choose an AR
  • If your household is unable to choose an AR and no adult can attend the SNAP interview because of certain hardships.

“Certain hardships” that may waive a food stamps interview include illness, having children who are younger than six years old, living more than 20 minutes away from your county’s CAO, having no available public transportation and understanding very little, if any, English. However, these hardships do not necessarily cause your SNAP food stamps interview to be waived, as the CAO must review your hardship explanation and decide if it warrants a waiver of your food assistance interview. Whether the explanation is accepted or denied, this information must be recorded in your application record by the CAO. The CAO must offer an in-home SNAP interview if your waiver is accepted. Alternatively, it may offer to conduct a phone interview. It is important to know that if your first EBT interview is waived, then your household is still responsible for verifying all necessary information, and the waiver does not affect the time period window of the SNAP application process.

During and after the Pennsylvania EBT interview, the CAO must also explain the electronic EBT system, inform the household of its responsibilities as a collective SNAP recipient, share certain helpful resources, assure the household that its application will be approved or denied without discrimination and inform the household that it has the right to appeal an application denial if it feels the decision was unfair. Read more about the CAO’s SNAP interview responsibilities and comprehensive information about applying for food assistance in Pennsylvania within our detailed guide.

What do you bring to a food stamp interview in Pennsylvania?

What do you need for food stamps interview situations? During the Pennsylvania food stamps interview, you will need to prove information furnished on your application. The information you must provide will also confirm you are eligible for food assistance. This can include income and citizenship information as well as confirmation of medical bills as needed. Even if your SNAP interview is conducted by phone, you must still provide documentary evidence to the CAO or the name of a contact who can verify your statements.

Find out which documents may be needed to establish eligibility for SNAP benefits in PA by reviewing the information in our comprehensive guide.

When the Pennsylvania Food Stamps Interview Occurs

One important aspect of what you need for food stamps interviews is the knowledge of when the SNAP interviews take place. The Pennsylvania SNAP interview takes place after you have submitted your benefits application and the CAO has received it, whether online, in person, by mail or by fax. You or an AR should attend the EBT interview because your application could be delayed if a representative fails to appear. The CAO will attempt to schedule a second interview, but this may be difficult to do within a timely date of your application filing.

The food assistance interview follows a preliminary review of your application by the CAO, during which time your eligibility is assessed. Soon after receiving your application, the CAO must schedule a SNAP food stamps interview with a member of your household or an AR. If your household is eligible for expedited SNAP benefits, then your food benefits interview should take place within days of your filed application. Otherwise, your interview should take place within a few weeks of your application’s filing date.

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.