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Nutrition Assistance in Arizona

Previously known as the national Food Stamps Program, the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is also available to residents of Arizona. The AZ Department of Economic Security (DES) implements SNAP as the state Nutrition Assistance (NA) program. The main goal of the NA program is to assist low-income families in purchasing nutritionally-rich and healthy food, since an individual's diet directly affects his or her normal body development. Poor diets, for instance, can lead to health issues in both children and adults and even affect the individual's cognitive abilities. Applicants approved for the program will obtain the DES financial assistance via a transfer card, which can be used at participating stores. Note that the NA benefits can only be used to purchase a select number of food items. Products such as alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and cleaning items, for example, cannot be obtained with the DES card. To learn more about the Arizona Nutrition Assistance program and how to apply for it, read the sections below:

  • Eligibility criteria for the Arizona Nutrition Assistance program
  • How to apply for the Arizona Nutrition Assistance program
  • Receiving and using the benefits of the Arizona NA program

Eligibility Criteria for the Arizona Nutrition Assistance Program

Prior to applying for benefits through the NA program in Arizona, state residents must ensure they meet the eligibility requirements to do so. Note that even if you meet the preliminary criteria for NA benefits, you will still be required to fulfill certain requirements on a regular basis in order to continue receiving your benefits. The state DES reviews NA applications on a case-by-case basis. On account of that fact, certain applicants may be determined eligible under extenuating circumstances. Eligibility for NA benefits is generally based on and may vary according to the following factors:

  • The household's current composition, available resources and total income
  • The current legal status of the applicants within the state and within the country (residents or nonresidents and U.S. citizens or qualified noncitizens)
  • Whether or not the applicant is actively seeking employment (if required)
  • Willingness to cooperate with the Department of Economic Security

The AZ DES organizes regular reviews for purposes of determining whether or not you meet the program's requirements on an ongoing basis. Also, you are required to report any changes that may potentially disqualify you from the program in order to avoid certain fines and penalties. If you change your address or your telephone number, report the changes to the DES to ensure you receive all future correspondences regarding your renewal reviews.

How to Apply for the Arizona Nutrition Assistance Program

Applying for NA benefits in Arizona is a process that can be completed via the following methods: online, in person, by mail or by fax. Prior to submitting their applications, however, state residents must ensure they collect the documents and information needed to process their request. Households applying for nutrition assistance in AZ are generally required to submit the following items:

  • Proofs of citizenship or proofs of legal U.S. status for noncitizens
  • State-issued identification documents, such as an ID cards or driving licenses
  • Social Security Numbers and birth certificates
  • Contact information of the household's landlord or neighbor
  • Different types of financial proofs that establish the household's savings and income
  • Proofs of various types of expenses, such as medical expenses, child care expenses and rent and utility bills
  • Vehicle registrations and titles
  • A signed statement that verifies the household's address and the names of its members.

Note: The above items must typically be provided by all members of the household. Inquire with the state DES about whether or not you are required to submit additional documents.

State residents may not be able to provide every item outlined above when applying online. In such circumstances, you may be required to submit the remaining documents via conventional means. Applicants who choose to apply for NA benefits with a paper application, can obtain the necessary form through a local Family Assistance Administration (FAA) office or download it through the DES website. After filling out the application form, submit it by mail, in person or by fax to your local FFA branch office, along with the documentation outlined above.

Receiving and Using the Benefits of the Arizona NA Program

After submitting the request for NA benefits, state residents will be contacted for an eligibility interview where they will get a chance to present their case. The department generally makes a decision regarding eligibility for benefits based on the fact-finding interview and the submitted documentation. Submit all necessary documents and information to ensure you receive the DES decision as quickly as possible.

Applicants who are approved for benefits will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) debit card by mail. Your card will be recharged on a monthly basis with an amount which generally varies on the number of members in your household. You can use the NA funds to purchase approved food items through grocery stores that participate in the NA program. The DES website also offers resources for monitoring your current NA balance via the internet.

Note: Beneficiaries who buy, sell or misuse their NA benefits are committing a federal crime.