SNAP Benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a Federal Entitlement Program that provides monetary food assistance to individuals and families with low income. Students enrolled at least half time (six credits for undergraduates) may be eligible for SNAP if they meet specific income requirements and other criteria. The maximum SNAP benefit that an individual can receive is $291/month.

Need SNAP Application Help?

If you want to learn more about SNAP and how to apply, you can connect with a basic needs coordinator. By filling out the Basic Needs Assistance Form, you can meet with one of our skilled coordinators to chat about any of your SNAP concerns.

Each term various UO programs also host SNAP enrollment and informational opportunities. Check out the Basic Needs Instagram page (uo_basicneeds) to stay up to date.

Ways to Use Your SNAP Benefits

Using SNAP to purchase grocery items isn’t the only way to use your benefits. Check out these additional SNAP-related opportunities to get the most bang for your buck!

Double Up Food Bucks

This program will match up to $20 of your SNAP benefits to purchase produce at your local farmer’s market! (i.e., up to $20 of SNAP money can turn into $40 to use at vendor tables). While SNAP benefits can be used for many food items, Double Up Food Bucks can only purchase fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, herbs, nuts, and veggie starts. The Lane County Farmers Market, among others, participates.

Agate Street Market

Located in Unthank Hall, Agate Street Market will accept SNAP benefits. SNAP can be used to purchase any food products in Agate Street Market, including packaged salads, sandwiches, wraps, products, and snacks. (This is the only location on campus that accepts SNAP benefits.)

Ordering Food Online

You can now use SNAP benefits to order food online through Amazon and Walmart for home delivery across Oregon. Albertsons, Roth's Fresh Markets, Safeway, and Whole Foods also accept online SNAP payments.


By participating in SNAP, you may be eligible for Lifeline, a federal benefit program that can cover up to $9.25/month off phone, internet, or bundled services. Find out if you are eligible.

Other Affordable Internet Services

The Affordable Connectivity Program was another federal program that SNAP users generally qualified for. Unfortunately, this program has ended due to a lack of funding. However, many other affordable internet services still exist through other programs.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

By participating in SNAP, you may be eligible for LIHEAP, a program that assists low-income households with “heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs.” Find out if you are eligible.

PeaceHealth Bike Rentals

By using your SNAP EBT card information, you can qualify for a $20/year reduced membership plan with PeaceHealth Rides. This membership plan covers 60 minutes of free ride time per day.

Discounted Lyft Rides

Through the Lyft Up Initiative, Lyft is offering discounted rides to low-income households needing transportation to and from grocery stores, farmers markets, food pantries, and SNAP benefits appointments.

Museums for All

Through the Museums for All program, those receiving SNAP benefits can gain free or reduced admission to museums throughout the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SNAP?

SNAP (also known as Oregon Trail Card and EBT) is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In Oregon, this program is managed by the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). Those eligible for SNAP can receive up to $291/month for a one-person household. Once approved, you will receive a plastic electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that will be reloaded each month, which works like a debit card. This EBT card can be used at most grocery stores to purchase unprepared food items.

Where can I use SNAP?

You can use SNAP at most grocery stores. If you are ever unsure if a specific store will take SNAP/EBT, it is often detailed online or in store! You can also use SNAP through a variety of other programs listed in: Ways to Use Your SNAP Benefits.

What can I buy with SNAP?

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Other foods and non-alcoholic beverages (common rule: if it has a Nutrition Facts label, it should be eligible!)
  • Seeds and plants used to grow food for your household

What can I NOT buy with SNAP?

  • Alcohol, cigarettes, and other tobacco products
  • Vitamins, supplements, and medicines (common rule: if it has a Supplement Facts label, it is not eligible)
  • Live animals (exceptions: shellfish, fish removed from water, animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from a store)
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
  • Non-food items: pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products, household supplies, cosmetics, and hygiene items

Am I eligible for SNAP?

To be eligible, you must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • A US citizen or lawful permanent resident (If you are not a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may still apply on behalf of your citizen children.)
  • Not exceed the income threshold for your household size

I heard the eligibility requirements look different for college students. What are they?

There are three steps to check if you qualify for SNAP benefits as a college student.

Step 1: Check your household gross income and verify that you qualify online.

Step 2: Answer questions about your age and enrollment in higher education.

  • Are you between the ages of 18 and 49?
  • Do you attend a higher education institution at least half-time? (six or more credits for UO undergraduates, and five or more credits for UO graduate students).

If you answered no to either question in step two, you only need to meet the SNAP income eligibility requirements.

Step 3: If you answered yes to both questions in step two, you must answer yes to one of the questions below to be eligible for SNAP benefits.

  • If you are an undergraduate student, can you explain how your college education is related to working in a specific job after you complete school? (NOTE: these undergraduate programs must be four years or less).
  • Have you been awarded work-study?
  • Are you working as a paid employee 20 hours a week?
  • Are you unable to work due to physical or physiological difficulties?
  • Are you participating in an approved training program from WIOA?
  • Are you caring for a child under the age of 6, or are you a single parent with a child under the age of 12?

If you believe that you can successfully provide answers to each of the three steps, you may be eligible for SNAP!

Other Factors Affecting Eligibility
  • Students under 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 percent of their weekly meals, 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 percent of their meals might also qualify for SNAP.
  • Financial aid received through the Veterans Administration or private scholarships counts 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 is used for educational expenses. Students may defer federal student loan payments while receiving SNAP benefits without incurring interest charges. 

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 they have roommates. Unless you regularly purchase and prepare food with another person (like a partner or child with whom you share finances), your household size should be one.

How do I apply for SNAP benefits?

You can apply for SNAP benefits online or in person at a local ODHS office. In this form you will provide information pertaining to your eligibility and identity. If you apply online, you will receive a call back from ODHS within a few business days. They will help provide you with the next steps. If you apply in person at a local ODHS office, a secretary will also set you up with the next steps.

After ODHS processes your initial application, they will work with you to schedule an interview with a caseworker. If you apply online, expect to schedule this interview during your initial phone call. Do your best to answer this call. It will come from a 503 number if applying in Oregon, and may be listed as “Public Service” or “State of Oregon.” If you apply in person, you can work with a secretary to schedule your interview. The interview with an ODHS case worker can take place in person or over the phone.

The interview process sounds daunting. What is it like and how can I prepare?

The interview can seem quite daunting for many students! However, it is unlike a job interview. Instead, it feels more like a conversation with your case worker to confirm the details you submitted in your initial application. The case worker will take this opportunity to ask you any clarifying questions they may have. They will also ask you to provide specific information, such as:

  • Identification such as a driver license, passport number, or birth certificate 
  • Social Security Number 
  • Immigration status 
  • Proof of income for the last 30 days, such as check stubs
  • Housing information, such as your rent amount 
  • Cost of your utilities 
  • Financial aid information, if you are a student

If you are unable to provide some of these documents at the time of your interview, the case worker will let you know where and by when to submit those documents. However, it is easier to have these documents ready for the interview, as it can get you approved for SNAP sooner!

During this interview, you also can ask your case worker any clarifying questions. SNAP, among other benefit programs, is very complex. Your case worker understands this and will be happy to answer your questions and concerns.

By the end of this interview, you should know whether or not you have been approved. If approved, you will soon receive your EBT card with a packet on how to set it up and track your balance.

When do I get my benefits?

Oregon sends out benefits between the 1st and 9th of every month based on the last digit of your Social Security Number (SSN). If the last digit of your SSN is 0, you will receive your monthly benefits on the 1st of every month.

How do I keep my benefits?

The benefits enrollment period for most Oregon households is 6–12 months. You have to renew your benefits before your certification period ends. You will receive a letter when it is time to reapply. 

What household/income changes do I have to report, and when?

ODHS needs to know when various things pertaining to your eligibility change. This may change the amount of benefits you receive per month, but it is still crucial to report. You should report the following any time when something from this list happens:

  • 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/per week? Then you should report if this person starts working or training less than 20 hours/week.

Most households must report all changes up to 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 as soon as possible to ensure you get all the critical letters. 

You can report changes by bringing or sending a change report form to your local office. You can also complete this form through your online portal if you initially applied online.

What if I graduate?

As long as you still meet the income eligibility criteria and fit the general working requirements (different from college student working requirements), you will still be eligible for SNAP. You will need to report these changes when you graduate.

What if I’m an out-of-state student?

If you are a resident of a state other than Oregon, apply for SNAP through the state in which you hold residency. Don’t fret! If you have SNAP from a state other than Oregon, you can still purchase your food items in Oregon. In fact, you can use SNAP anywhere in the US.

Eligibility requirements may differ slightly depending on your state of residence. However, it is largely the same program.

I lost my card. How can I get a new one?

Do not wait to report a lost or stolen card! Call the toll-free Oregon Trail Card Replacement Line at 1-855-328-6715 to request a replacement card if your card is lost or stolen on a weekday during business hours. Replacement cards are sent by mail and typically arrive within five business days. It is important to recognize that if your card is stolen and used by another individual, lost funds cannot be refunded by the State.

Call the toll-free Oregon EBT Customer Service Help Line at 1-888-997-4447 to cancel your card and protect your remaining benefits if your card is lost or outside regular business hours. You must make a second call to the toll-free Oregon Trail Card Replacement line at 1-855-328-6715 to be sent a new card. The Help Line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What if I am not eligible for SNAP benefits?

Check out the other food security resources available to UO students. You can also connect with the Basic Needs Program to learn more.