Oregon Trail? Food Stamps? SNAP? Do I even qualify? Our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment events and support team are here to help. The Student Sustainability Center and the Duck Nest collaborate with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and the Oregon Department of Human Services to help students learn about the program and get enrolled, if eligible. Eligibility can be confusing, but we’re here to help in two ways: enrollment events with Department of Human Services employees and trained volunteers to help you enroll; and drop-in hours at the Duck Nest and Student Sustainability Center to get information and support.
Wondering if you’re eligible? It can be confusing, but here’s a start:
To start, your household income needs to fall below the following levels
|Persons in Family||Annual||Monthly||Weekly|
Students who meet these income guidelines may qualify for SNAP if they have a clear path/idea of how their course of study will lead them to a job directly after graduation (this only applies to undergraduate students).
You may also qualify if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Paid employee working an average of 20 hours a week
- Self-employed at least 20 hours each week and have a countable monthly income of at least $1,247 after business costs
- Been awarded and have accepted federal work-study (temporary emergency circumstances now allow all students awarded work-study or family EFC $0 to qualify)
- Responsible for the care of a child (age requirements apply)
- Receiving TANF
- In a Workforce Investment Act training program
- Receiving unemployment compensation
- Participating in at least one Employment Department training program
- Unable to work due to physical or physiological difficulties
We’re here to help! Come to one of our SNAP enrollment events or stop by the Student Sustainability Center to learn more. You can also get help signing up for SNAP benefits during Duck Nest drop-in hours on Mondays 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. or Fridays 1:30–3:30 p.m.
The Student Sustainability Center is working with Food for Lane County to operate a Trillium Produce Plus site, bringing fresh produce to students who need it. The Produce Drops are like a pop-up farmer’s stand, but everything is free to eligible students and their families. There’s no enrollment or sign-up. Just come and fill a bag with what you need.
To be eligible, student households can earn up to twice the Federal Poverty Level (200% FPL). That means that a student who is not claimed as a dependent by anyone else can make up to the following amount and receive food for themselves and their household:
|Persons in Family||Annual Income|
The Produce Drops occur every Tuesday of the academic term from 3:00–5:00 p.m. next to the EMU Lawn, outside of the Lease Crutcher Lewis Room.
Question? Want to get involved and help us run these programs? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is SNAP?
SNAP (also known as Oregon Trail Card and EBT) is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Those who are eligible for SNAP can receive up to $194/month per household. After applying, you will receive a plastic electronic benefits card that is reloaded each month and works just like a debit card.
Am I eligible for SNAP?
To be eligible you must be:
- 18 years or older
- A U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
- Not exceed income threshold of $1,926 a month
Students of higher education have special criteria, what is it?
Students of higher education must be
- Between the ages of 18 and 49
- Enrolled at least half time. (6 credits for undergrads, 5 credits for grad students)
I heard there was something special for undergrads applying for SNAP. What is that requirement?
Undergraduate students may qualify for SNAP by pursuing a bachelors’ degree that will prepare them for a job after they graduate. In order to qualify with this requirement, you must have a declared major, you must have a job you are working towards and be able to explain how your major is preparing you for this job. This means that you plan to enter the workforce after you graduate and not enter a professional school like graduate school, med school, or law school. However, you might be planning on going to med school a year after you graduate, and you plan to work as a medical scribe for that year. If you can explain how that job relates to your current major, then you are good to go!
These are the other ways to qualify (for graduate students and undergraduates who do not fit the prior criteria):
- Be approved for federal or state work study, anticipates working and have not refused a work assignment (can still be eligible if your work study has not begun or is not available for any reason)
- Working and getting paid for 20 hours a week or 80 hours a month. Unpaid internships do not count towards this, nor do under-the-counter jobs.
- Unable to work due to physiological difficulties
- Exerting parental control over a dependent household member under the age of 6 OR between the age of 6 and 12 with no adequate childcare (as determined by the county) OR be a single parent of a dependent household member under the age of 12
- Participating in a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) approved program
- Receiving TANF
- Receiving Unemployment Compensation
Other Factors Affecting Eligibility:
- Students under the age of 22 who still live with their parents or guardians must apply with their parents or guardians
- If a student’s meal plan pays for more than 51% of their meals per week than they are not eligible for SNAP. If the meal plan pays for less than half of a student’s meals per week, receiving a meal plan will not affect a student’s eligibility for SNAP. Students with dietary restrictions that prohibit them from accessing more than 51% of their meals might also qualify for SNAP.
- (This factor is less important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as DHS workers understand that many dining halls are not open)
- Financial aid received through the Veterans Administration or private scholarships count as income.
- Students on break from school must still meet the criteria for which they are eligible for SNAP (i.e. if you qualify by working 20 hours a week, you’d need to keep doing this over summer break).
Note: Federal financial aid including Pell grants, Perkins loans, Stafford loans and most work-study is not counted as income against student eligibility so long as it used for educational expenses. Students may defer federal student loan payments while receiving SNAP benefits without incurring interest charges.
What can I buy with my SNAP benefits and where can I use it?
SNAP benefits can be used at any grocery store to purchase fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, pantry staples, snacking food, seeds and plants. Additionally, SNAP can be used at participating farmers markets to purchase fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, herbs, nuts, and veggie starts. Many farmers markets (including the Lane County Farmers Market) allow SNAP participants to receive $2 in Double Up Food Bucks for every $2 of SNAP Benefits redeemed, for up to $10 additional dollars each market day!
What can I NOT buy?
Prepared food ready for consumption, along with beer, liquor, wine, cigarettes, tobacco, vitamins, medicine, supplements, live animals, and nonfood items such as pet food, cleaning supplies, other household items like paper products, and personal hygiene products.
How do I apply for SNAP Benefits?
Applying online is the easiest, quickest way to complete a SNAP application! Google “Oregon SNAP Application” (if applying in the state of Oregon) and fill out the application to the best of your ability. There are the pieces of information you will need to share:
- A form of identification such as a drivers license, passport number or birth certificate
- Social security number
- Immigration status
- Earned income
- Housing information such as your rent amount
- Cost of your utilities
- Financial aid information (if you are a student)
The Food Security Coordinator (email@example.com) is always available to answer any questions about the SNAP application process.
Check out this video for a more detailed review of how to apply for SNAP online!
What are the next steps after applying?
You will receive a call from the Department of Human Services 1-2 business days after submitting your application to schedule an interview. Try your best to answer the phone when they call (it will come from a 503 number if applying in Oregon). You can schedule an interview for in-person or on the phone.
What documents should I bring to my interview/send to my DHS worker?
You should be prepared to send/bring proof of all important documents such as photo ID, Social Security card, proof of earned income such as pay stubs, rent receipts or the first page of your lease, utility receipts, and financial aid awards with your name displayed on the page.
When do I get my benefits?
Oregon sends out benefits between the 1st to the 9th of every month, based on the last digit of your Social Security Number (SSN).
How do I keep my benefits?
You have to renew your benefits before your certification period ends. For most Oregon households, that period is 6 – 12 months. You will get a letter in the mail when it is time to reapply.
What is my household size?
A household is the number of people who buy and prepare food together. Most college students apply as a household of one, even if you have roommates. Unless you regularly purchase and prepare food with another person (like a partner or child that you share finances with) your household size should be one (1).
What household/income changes do I have to report and when?
You should report:
- If anyone moves in or out of your household
- Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support
- Work changes. Does your household include an adult who doesn’t have a disability or a child (what the government calls an ABAWD)? Is this person required to work or train 20 hours/week? Then you should report if this person starts working or training less than 20 hours/week.
Most households have to report all changes no more than 10 days after they happen, but some don’t. Your caseworker can confirm which rules apply to your household.
If you are moving, you should report your new address ASAP to make sure you don’t miss any important letters.
You can report changes by bringing or sending this form to your local office.
What if I graduate?
As long as you are still under the income criteria, you most likely will still be eligible for SNAP.
I lost my card. How can I get a new one?
Don’t wait to report a lost or stolen card! If your card is lost or stolen on a weekday during business hours, call the toll-free Oregon Trail Card Replacement Line at 1-855-328-6715 to request a replacement card. This line is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Replacement cards are sent by mail and typically arrive within five business days.
If your card is lost or outside of regular business hours, call the toll-free Oregon EBT Customer Service Help Line at 1-888-997-4447 to cancel your card and protect your remaining benefits. The Help Line is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. You will need to make a second call to the toll-free Oregon Trail Card Replacement line at 1-855-328-6715 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to be sent a new card.
What if I am not eligible for SNAP benefits?
The University of Oregon has many food resources that anyone can utilize. Programs such as Leftover Textover, Produce Drops, Ducks Feeding Ducks, Hearth and Table and the Student Food Pantry serve anyone who self-identifies as food insecure. Additional community resources are linked on the UO Basic Needs Blog. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information on food security resources.