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South Carolina Department of Social Services

V. Susan Alford, State Director  

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Skip Navigation LinksFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I apply?

To apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, you must submit a SNAP benefits application to your local Department of Social Services (DSS). Follow the Instructions for printing a food stamp application below and deliver, mail or fax the form to your local DSS office, or feel free to apply online. Even if you mail, fax, or submit the application online to the DSS office, you may still need to go to the office for an interview. You will be notified if this is necessary.

Apply Online

To apply for SNAP benefits online, please click here to complete our online application.

Print a Food Stamp Application

To download the application form click on one of the following (forms are in Adobe Acrobat):

Note: If you are unable to print an application from the web site, you may pick up an application from your local DSS county office.

To apply for SNAP benefits with this application, complete the following steps:

  1. Print the application.
  2. Complete the application. Please note that your application must have your name, address and signature to be processed. If you are unable to complete the entire application form, you will be assisted during your interview at the county office.
  3. Bring, mail or fax your completed application to your County DSS office.
  4. Once your application is received in the county office, a DSS worker may contact you to set up an interview to complete the application process. You will be notified if this is necessary. To save time and help your application go faster, it is best to bring all of the necessary paperwork with you. Click here for a list of documents you will need to bring.

You will be assigned a caseworker when you go to DSS. This is the person you will work with until your application is complete. Your caseworker is the person you should call when you have questions about your case. If you need to provide new documents to DSS in the future, you should give them to this same caseworker. For example, if you change jobs, you will need to send your caseworker new copies of your pay stubs.

If you qualify for regular SNAP benefits, DSS must give you SNAP benefits no later than 30 days after they receive your application.

If you need SNAP benefits right away and qualify for "expedited" SNAP benefits, DSS must give you SNAP benefits no later than 7 days after they receive your application.

What can I buy with SNAP benefits?

Listed below are some of the items you can buy with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

  • Any food or food product except for ready-to-eat hot foods
  • Baby formula, goat's milk, Pedialyte and Pediasure
  • Seeds and plants used to grow foods including fruit trees
  • Fresh produce items from authorized vendors
  • Meals prepared and delivered by a meal delivery service such as Meals on Wheels
  • Meals at congregate meal sites such as soup kitchens
  • Nutritional supplements such as Ensure, Isomil, Boost and Sustacal
  • Weight loss products such as Dynatrim, Slim Fast, Cambridge Diet and Nutrisystem
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Distilled Water
  • Ice
  • Lactaid caplets and Lactaid milk
  • Cooking Sprays, such as Never Stik and Pam
  • Prepared cold sandwiches or salads that will not be eaten in the store

What are my rights?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a nationwide entitlement program. This means that as long as you meet the rules for SNAP benefits, you have a legal right to get them. You also have the right to:

  • Have your application accepted right away, even before you meet with a caseworker. Only your name, address, and signature need to be complete in order for DSS to accept your application.
  • Have an adult you trust apply for you as your authorized representative.
  • Bring a friend or advocate to DSS to help you apply.
  • Get your SNAP benefits within 30 days after you apply.
  • In an emergency, get "expedited" SNAP benefits within seven days after you apply.
  • Apply even if you are homeless.
  • Get permission to skip the face-to-face interview at the DSS office if you cannot go to the DSS office because you are disabled or caring for someone who is disabled, if you have transportation problems, or if you work or have job training during the hours that the DSS office is open.
  • Get a list of all the documents you need to bring to DSS and help getting the documents if you need help.
  • Prove your income, expenses, and identity in more than one way.
  • Get a written letter telling you whether or not you can get SNAP benefits, how much you will get, and how long they will last.
  • Be treated with dignity, consideration and respect, and to be treated without discrimination due to race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religious creed, or political belief.
  • Talk about your case in private with your caseworker. You do not have to talk about your case in the lobby or reception area.
  • See your case file and make copies of the information in your file.
  • Appeal any DSS decision you disagree with such as when your SNAP benefits are denied, decreased, or stopped. You may contact your local DSS office if you wish to request a fair hearing. Bring a friend, family member, advocate or lawyer to represent you in a hearing or any other meeting that you have with DSS.

What are expedited SNAP benefits?

If you need Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits right away and qualify for "expedited" SNAP benefits, DSS must give you SNAP benefits no later than 7 days after they receive your application. You must apply for "expedited" SNAP benefits through your local DSS office.

You may qualify if:

  • Your SNAP "household's" gross monthly income plus any cash that you have on hand or in the bank is less than your rent or mortgage, plus your utilities or
  • Your SNAP "household's" gross monthly income is less than $150 and any cash that you have on hand or in the bank is less than $100 or
  • Your SNAP "household" earns your income from migrant or seasonal farm work and any cash that you have on hand or in the bank is less than $100.

Click here to find your local DSS office.

What documents should I bring to my interview?

When you apply for SNAP benefits, you will be asked to provide verification of your income, expenses, and other information to your local DSS. You need to bring information that applies to everyone in your SNAP "household".

Make sure that you bring copies of your most recent documents.

  1. Your identity and current residence address - Driver's license, picture ID, birth certificate, or other proof of your identity and current address.
  2. Shelter and Utility Bills - If you own your home, bring proof of your mortgage, taxes and insurance. If you rent, bring a rent receipt or lease agreement. Electric bill, bills for heating and cooling expenses, garbage pickup, water, sewage and telephone bills are also considered in determining your utility expenses.
  3. Social Security Cards - For eligible household members, including children.
  4. Alien or Non-citizen Status - If you wish to receive SNAP benefits for non-citizens in your "household", INS registration cards or other INS documents.
  5. Earned Income - Pay stubs or written statement from employers showing gross income (income before taxes or deductions) for the past four weeks.
  6. Child Care Expenses - Written statement from your child care provider, or a canceled check or money order paid to the child care provider.
  7. Unearned Income - Most recent copy of social security check or copy of award letter; proof of unemployment, worker's compensation, pension, child support, and alimony received in the past four weeks.
  8. Self-Employment - Most recent federal tax return. (Schedule C Form).
  9. Medical Expenses - If you are age 60 or older or getting disability benefits, bring proof of out-of-pocket medical expenses or insurance premiums, or canceled checks showing payment to a medical vendor.

Hotlines

  • To Report Child or Adult Abuse and Neglect call your local county office:
  • For information on SNAP benefits, contact DSS CONNECT at 1-800-616-1309 or any local DSS office during normal business hours.
  • To report Vendor/Retailer/DSS Employee Fraud
  • Report State Agency Fraud (Office of the Inspector General)