How to apply for food stamps

The Food Stamp Program has been renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Bergen County Board of Social Services operates the SNAP Program under the operational guidelines of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Services. This office establishes eligibility and continuing eligibility for persons who apply for the program, and issues Food Stamp benefits.

This SNAP Program provides a supplemental food allowance to low income families.  Food Stamps can be used to purchase food and seeds at stores (licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture; Food and Nutrition Service) in the community that accept them. Food Stamps cannot be used to purchase tobacco, alcoholic beverages, or things that are not for human consumption, as well as paper products or soaps, detergents or any other cleaning products.

Food Stamp recipients access their benefit through their Families First Electronic Benefits Transfer card (EBT Card) which works similar to a debit card.  The Families First EBT card makes food benefits available to clients through electronic benefit accounts using their own plastic card.  The cards can be used at merchants POS (Point-of-Sale) terminals.

If you need to replace a lost or stolen EBT card or if you need more information regarding the EBT card please select from the frequently asked questions (FAQ) drop-down above.


Eligibility depends on several factors such as income, household size, resources, legal status, etc.  The benefit amount a household receives each month is calculated based on the income and expenses of the household members (shelter, child care, and child support expenses are considered, medical expenses are also considered for elderly and disabled individuals).

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To be eligible you must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Family’s income must be under the income limit
  • All adults must be a Legal Permanent Resident for no less than 5 years – this requirement does not apply to refugees
  • In general, post high school students must be employed at least 20 hours per week

In general, resources do not affect your eligibility for the SNAP Program, although in some cases resources may count to determine eligibility.

Some individuals may be required to participate in an Employment and Training Program.

How to Apply:

In-Person: The agency is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. You may come in person and complete an application for our programs. After completing the application, and depending upon the program(s) you appear to be eligible to apply for, you will either be seen the same day or you will receive an appointment for an interview. Please note that the number of appointments available on a daily basis is limited and are assigned on a first come first serve basis.

On-line: The most convenient way to complete an application is to apply online at the NJOneAPP Website.  This site will allow you to complete a single on-line application for Food Stamps, cash assistance, and/or Medicaid for children, families, and pregnant women (New Jersey Family Care).  Elderly and Disabled individuals are not eligible to apply for Medicaid through the on-line application process.  The agency will receive the application electronically and contact you by mail within 2 to 5 business days to schedule an in-person or telephone interview.

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Paper Application:  You may complete a paper application and return the completed application to the agency.  You will be sent an appointment letter in the mail.

Applicants who are applying for Food Stamps only will be given an appointment for a telephone interview.  Customers who apply for other programs in conjunction with Food Stamps may be required to attend an in person interview.  Once the interview is completed, customers will be provided with a list of required verifications. Once the verifications are received, the application will be processed and a final eligibility determination will be made.  Customers will be notified by mail once an eligibility determination has been made.  Food Stamp applications are processed within Thirty (30) days of the date of application.

Required Verifications:

 Applicants are required to provide the following verifications:

  • Proof of birth, alien registration card or naturalization papers
  • Social Security card
  • Current lease or rent and utility bill
  • Proof of most recent earned and unearned income
  • Automobile registration
  • Other documents may also be requested at the interview.
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