7 questions about SNAP in Minnesota, answered

7 questions about SNAP in Minnesota, answered

In January, Governor Mark Dayton declared it was Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education and Outreach Month. The declaration placed emphasis on the importance of SNAP education, so to follow up, we would like to provide a resource for anyone looking for information about SNAP in Minnesota.

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a national program created with the intend to provide support and help stretch the food budget for households who need it most.

How popular is SNAP usage in Minnesota?

In Minnesota there are 476,000 residents receiving SNAP benefits, that is 9% (or 1 in 12) of the population of Minnesota. Of SNAP participants, 69% are in families with children, and 33% of SNAP participants are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities.

How much of the eligible population is using their SNAP benefits?

Overall 66% of eligible Minnesotans are receiving their SNAP benefits, for individuals over the age of 60 the participate rate is 57%. By receiving SNAP benefits you are not taking away money from other people, the money for the program is already allocated.

How do I know if I’m eligible for SNAP?

SNAP eligibility is based on monthly income, expenses, and the number of people in your household. A helpful tool in finding out if you are eligible is this screening tool provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Click here for more information on SNAP eligibility in Minnesota or the screening tool in other languages.

What’s an EBT card?

The Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card is the means by which one receives their SNAP benefits. Once you have been approved to receive your benefits you will receive your EBT card in the mail within two business days. Your EBT will look just like any other debit card.

Where can I use my EBT Card?

Your EBT card can be used to purchase food at any of the 3,400 authorized retail locations in Minnesota. These authorized retailers include grocery stores, gas stations, and farmers markets. The card may also be used at some authorized sites for Meals on Wheels. If you would like to learn more about how SNAP benefits work at farmers markets, you can check out our post from last year on the topic. Here you can find a list of SNAP retailers by location in Minnesota.

What are the benefits of enrolling in SNAP?

SNAP was created to support individuals and households by supplementing some of their food budget each month. The average Minnesota SNAP participant receives $105 per month. Children who receive SNAP benefits and in turn are receiving more nutritious food are more likely to have fewer health problems, and have an easier time focusing in school. Elderly people who receive SNAP benefits are receiving more nutritious food are more likely to be able to live on their own longer and keep their independence. Receiving SNAP benefits can take a great deal of stress off of a family. In addition to the benefits already listed, SNAP benefits also help to boost the economy. Moody’s Analytics estimate that SNAP benefits have put $603 million into the economy of Minnesota, just in 2016 alone. This economic boost is due to the fact that people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford enough/nutritious food are able to buy food from Minnesota businesses.

If you or your family would like to alleviate the stress caused by buying food, and think that you are eligible, you can go online to the Minnesota Department of Human Services SNAP page or contact your county human services agency.


Here you will find Governor Dayton’s declaration that January 2017 was Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education and Outreach Month:


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides a fact sheet about SNAP in Minnesota that was updated January 24, 2017:


The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service provides official data and information about SNAP nationwide: