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Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What is the Food Assistance Program?
  2. How do I get food assistance?
  3. How do I find out where to apply for the Food Assistance Program?
  4. Can I apply on-line for food assistance?
  5. How can I find out if I am eligible for food assistance?
  6. Can I get food assistance if I am a student?
  7. Can I get food assistance if I live with my parents?
  8. Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to receive food assistance?
  9. How long does it take to get food assistance benefits?
  10. How is my allotment determined?
  11. What foods can I purchase with food assistance benefits?
  12. When will my food assistance benefits be available on my electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card?
  13. How do I use the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card?
  14. Can I use my electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card in another state?
  15. How can I check the balance of my electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card?
  16. Do I have to use all of my food assistance benefits the month that I receive them or will they be carried over into the next month?
  17. What do I do if my electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card is lost or stolen?
  18. What can I do if my application was denied?
  19. What can I do if my benefits were terminated?
  20. What changes do I need to report to my Food Assistance worker?
  21. How do I file a complaint of discrimination?
  22. How do I report someone I think is violating Food Assistance Program rules?
  23. Why were my income taxes intercepted? 

 

 

1. What is the Food Assistance Program?

The Food Assistance Program provides food benefits to low income households. Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are issued and are used like cash at most grocery stores to buy food; ensuring that they have access to a healthy diet.

2. How do I get food assistance?

Either go to or call your county's Food Assistance office to file an application. You may have an interview the same day or you may be given an appointment for a face to face or telephone interview. Go to How do I apply for Food Assistance for details.

3. How do I find out where to apply for Food Assistance?

Applications for the Food Assistance Program are taken at local county Departments of Human Services in the county that you live in.

 

To find the address and general phone number for your Department of Human Services, click here

 

You can also find a listing for your county Department of Human Services or Human Services in the blue pages of government office listings in your phone book.

 

4. Can I apply on-line for food assistance?

Yes, by clicking here.  You may also download and print an application from this website by clicking on an application below.

 

English
Spanish
Application (Large Print)    


 

Applications are in Adobe Reader's PDF format. To download the latest version, click here.

   

 

5. How can I find out if I am eligible for food assistance?

To see if you qualify for food assistance, a pre-screening tool is available on-line.

 

This pre-screening tool is not an application for food assistance. Applications must be completed and returned to your local Food Assistance office.

6. Can I get food assistance if I am a student?

Most able-bodied students ages 18 through 49 who are enrolled in college or other institutions of higher education at least half time are not eligible for food assistance benefits. However, students may be able to get food assistance benefits if otherwise eligible and they:

 

  • Get public assistance benfefits under Title IV-A program;

 

  • Take part in a State or Federally financed work study program;

 

  • Work at least 20 hours a week;

 

  • Are taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 6;

 

  • Are taking care of a dependent household member who has reached the age of 6 but is under the age of 12, and does not have adequate child care to enable them to attend school and work a minimum of 20 hours, or to take part in a State or federally financed work study program; or

 

  • Are assigned to or placed in a college or certain other schools through: 
    • A program under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998;
    • A program under Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974;
    • An employment and training program under the Food Stamp Act; or
    • An employment and training program operated by a State or local government.  

 

  • A single parent enrolled full time in college and taking care of a dependent household member under the age of 12 can get food assistance benefits if otherwise eligible.

 

7. Can I get food assistance if I live with my parents?

Children under the age of 22 who live with their parent(s) cannot have a separate food assistance case regardless of whether the person under the age of 22 is married with his/her own children.

8. Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to receive food assistance?

Certain non-citizens, such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons, those admitted for permanent residence, many children, elderly immigrants and individuals who have been working in the United States for certain periods of time, may be eligible for the Food Assistance Program. Eligible household members can get food assistance even if there are other members of the household who are not eligible.

Click here for Policy on Immigrants

 

9. How long does it take to get food assistance benefits?

If you qualify, you will be authorized benefits no later than 30 days from the date the office received your application. If you are eligible for expedited benefits, you will receive those benefits within 7 days of your date of application.

10. How is my allotment determined?

Eligible households are issued a monthly allotment of food assistance benefits based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), a low-cost model diet plan. The TFP is based on National Academy of Sciences’ Recommended Dietary Allowances, and on food choices of low-income households.

 

An individual household's food assistance allotment is equal to the maximum allotment for that household's size, less 30 percent of the household's net income. Households with no countable income receive the maximum allotment.  To view the Monthly Benefit Amount per size of household, click here.

11. What foods can I purchase with food assistance?

Households CAN buy foods such as: breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

 

Households CANNOT buy any nonfood items such as: beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, tobacco, pet foods, soaps, paper products, household supplies, toothpaste, cosmetics, vitamins, medicines, foods that can be eaten in the store and hot foods.

 

Food assistance benefits cannot be exchanged for cash.

12. When will my food assistance benefits be available on my EBT card?

If you are approved, your benefits should be available on your EBT card within 30 days from the date of your application. If you are eligible for expedited benefits, your benefits should be available on your EBT card within 7 days from the date you filed the application. Your Food Assistance worker will explain if you qualify for expedited processing.

 

Each month your benefits will be deposited into your EBT account on the same day, even if it falls on a weekend or holiday. See the chart below.

 

The last number of your Social Security number is the day of the month your benefits will be deposited into your EBT account.

 

If your Social Security
number ends in
You will receive your
Food Assistance
benefits on the
1 1st day of the month
2 2nd day of the month
3 3rd day of the month
4 4th day of the month
5 5th day of the month
6 6th day of the month
7 7th day of the month
8 8th day of the month
9 9th day of the month
0 10th day of the month

 

13. How do I use the EBT card?

When you pay for your groceries, swipe your EBT card through the Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal or you can hand your card to the cashier.

  

Tell the cashier to charge your purchase to the Food Assistance account.

 

Enter your four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN)

 

Press the OK or ENTER key.

 

The cashier will enter the purchase amount and if it is correct, you press the YES key.

 

The above steps may be different for each type of
POS terminal but the cashier can help you if needed.

 

The cashier will give you a receipt; check to make sure the amount is correct. The amount of your purchase is deducted from your balance. The store receipt will show the amount of food assistance benefits remaining in your account.

14. Can I use my EBT card in another State?

You can use your EBT card in any grocery store or retail location anywhere in the United States that has been authorized by the the USDA Food & Nutrition Service and displays the Quest logo.

 

Only Wyoming uses a different EBT card, called Smartcards. If you need to use your EBT card in Wyoming, do so at the larger chain stores that have their their own equipment to process both types of EBT cards.

15. How can I check the balance of my EBT card?

The easiest way to know your account balance is to keep your receipts. If you don't have your receipts, you may check your balance on the internet at www.coloquestcard.com.

 

You can also call Customer Service at 1-888-328-2656 or 1-800-659-2656 (TTY) . You are allowed 10 balance inquiry calls per calendar month.

16. Do I have to use all of my food assistance benefits the month I get them or will
they be carried over into the next month?

Any benefits left at the end of the month in your Food Assistance EBT account will be carried over into the next month.

 

Any benefits not used will be removed from the card after 365 days. You can get these benefits back by contacting your local Food Assistance office.

17. What do I do if my EBT card is lost or stolen?

If your EBT card is lost or stolen, call Customer Service toll free at 1-888-328-2656 or 1-800-659-2656 (TTY) or contact your Food Assistance office.

18. What can I do if my application was denied?

Contact your Food Assistance office to ask why your application was not approved. You can request a meeting with your Food Assistance worker and his/her supervisor to talk about your case. If you disagree, you can request an informal local county level meeting. If you still feel there has been a mistake, you can request a State Level Fair Hearing.

See What Are My Rights? for more information

19. What can I do if my benefits were terminated?

Contact your Food Assistance office to ask why your benefits were terminated. You can request a meeting with your Food Assistance worker and his/her supervisor to talk about your case. If you disagree, you can request an informal local county level meeting. If you still feel there has been a mistake, you can request a State Level Fair Hearing.

 

See What Are My Rights? for more information

20. What changes do I need to report to my Food Assistance worker?

Your Food Assistance worker will tell you what information you need to report and when you need to report it.

 

If you do not report the requested information or if you do not report in a timely manner and you get extra food assistance benefits, you may have to pay back the value of the extra food assistance benefits.

21. How do I file a complaint of discrimination?

Write to:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Director, Office of Adjudication & Compliance
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

 

You can also call:

 

Toll free: (866) 632-9992
TDD: (202) 401-0216

 

Or you can contact your local Food Assistance office.

 

Go to Discrimination Complaint Filing for more information.

22. How do I report someone I think is violating Food Assistance Program rules?

 

To report any misuse, fraud, waste, or abuse of food assistance benefits, call:1-800-424-9121 (toll-free number)

 

You may also contact the Colorado Department of Human Services at 1-800-536-5298 to report suspected Food Assistance Program violations.

 

23. Why were my income taxes intercepted?

The Food Assistance, Colorado Works, and Adult Financial programs participate in the State Tax Intercept Programs. The program is designed to collect delinquent debts through the interception of Colorado and or Federal tax refunds.

 

If you have any questions about the Tax Intercept Process you can contact the Colorado Department of Human Services, Food Assistance Unit at 303-866-3860.