Colorado Food Assistance Program

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Colorado Food Assistance Program
Colorado Food Assistance Program

What is Colorado Food Assistance Program?

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food benefits, access to a healthy diet, and education on food preparation and nutrition to low-income households. spend their benefits (provided on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card) to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores.

SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. SNAP is the federal name for the program. The Colorado program is known as the Colorado Food Assistance Program.

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Purpose of the Colorado Food Assistance Program?

The purpose of the Colorado Food Assistance Program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is to provide nutritional support to eligible individuals and families with low incomes. The program aims to alleviate food insecurity and improve the overall health and well-being of participants by offering financial assistance to purchase food. Here are the key purposes of the Colorado Food Assistance Program:

  • Addressing Food Insecurity: The primary goal is to address food insecurity by ensuring that eligible individuals and families have access to an adequate and nutritious diet. SNAP benefits are designed to supplement household budgets and help recipients purchase essential food items.
  • Promoting Health and Nutrition: The program aims to improve the nutritional health of participants, especially vulnerable populations such as children, elderly individuals, and those with health conditions. Access to a well-balanced diet contributes to overall health and reduces the risk of nutrition-related illnesses.
  • Supporting Low-Income Individuals and Families: SNAP provides financial assistance to households with low incomes, offering a safety net for those who may struggle to afford an adequate and nutritious diet. This support helps ensure that families do not have to choose between essential expenses like rent or healthcare and purchasing food.
  • Reducing Poverty and Improving Economic Stability: By helping families afford nutritious food, SNAP contributes to reducing poverty and improving economic stability. Adequate nutrition is essential for the physical and cognitive development of individuals, including children, which can have long-term impacts on educational attainment and economic prospects.
  • Stimulating Local Economies: SNAP benefits are spent locally on food, providing a direct economic stimulus to local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food retailers. This, in turn, supports businesses and jobs within the community.
  • Ensuring Access to Fresh and Healthy Foods: SNAP benefits can be used to purchase a variety of food items, including fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other perishable goods. This helps ensure that participants have access to a diverse and healthy diet.
  • Providing Temporary Assistance: SNAP is designed as a temporary assistance program to help individuals and families during periods of financial need. It provides flexibility to households facing economic challenges, allowing them to receive support when necessary.
  • Child and Family Well-Being: The program focuses on the well-being of children and families by providing nutritional support during critical developmental stages. Adequate nutrition is crucial for children’s growth, learning, and overall health.
  • Streamlining the Application Process:
    • The Colorado Food Assistance Program aims to make the application process accessible and user-friendly, ensuring that eligible individuals can easily apply for and receive benefits.

Overall, the Colorado Food Assistance Program serves as a vital tool in the fight against hunger and poverty, promoting the health and well-being of individuals and families with low incomes across the state.

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About the Colorado Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income households in Colorado purchase food. It provides a monthly benefit that helps families and individuals buy the food they need for good health. The benefit is provided based on income, resources and the number of individuals in the household. 

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are used to receive the benefit and can be used similar to debit cards at participating food stores. The benefit can be doubled in value by shopping at participating markets and food stores that support the Double Up Food Bucks program. SNAP is part of a federal nutrition program to help low-income households purchase food. 

County human services departments are responsible for determining eligibility and authorizing SNAP. SNAP is good for the local economy. Households participating in SNAP spend more on food. By providing more resources for food, SNAP helps free up cash for households with low-income to buy other essential items, like diapers and medication. As a result, retail sales increase, benefiting stores that sell both food and non-food items.

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Who is eligible for Colorado Food Assistance Program?

To be eligible for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Colorado and meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or
  • You have a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 who share their household with one of the following:
    • A person or persons age 60 and over or
    • A person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself).

To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, use SNAP eligibility. Because many programs offer services to families that may qualify them under other local criteria, we strongly recommend you contact the program in your community for more information and guidance.

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Colorado SNAP Income Limits

Household sizeGross monthly income limits
1$2,430
2$3,288
3$4,054
4$5,000
5$5,858
6$6,714
7$7,570
8$8,428
Each additional member (add)+$858

To see if you qualify, complete this pre-screening tool on the Colorado PEAK website. (Note: This tool is not an application for SNAP.

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How much aid could I receive?

The table below shows current maximum monthly SNAP allotments, based on household size. Note: The values below have been updated to reflect SNAP increases on Oct. 1, 2023.

Household sizeMaximum monthly allotment
1$291
2$535
3$766
4$973
5$1,155
6$1,386
7$1,532
8751691
Each additional member (add)+$219

About the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income households in Colorado purchase food. It provides a monthly benefit that helps families and individuals buy the food they need for good health. The benefit is provided based on income, resources and the number of individuals in the household. Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards are used to receive the benefit and can be used similar to debit cards at participating food stores. The benefit can be doubled in value by shopping at participating markets and food stores that support the Double Up Food Bucks program.

SNAP is part of a federal nutrition program to help low-income households purchase food. County human services departments are responsible for determining eligibility and authorizing SNAP.  SNAP is good for the local economy. Households participating in SNAP spend more on food. By providing more resources for food, SNAP helps free up cash for households with low-income to buy other essential items, like diapers and medication. As a result, retail sales increase, benefiting stores that sell both food and non-food items.

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Are students eligible for Colorado SNAP?

Yes. Most students in higher education are not aware they could qualify for SNAP. In fact, there are even more flexibilities in SNAP eligibility for students. Most students with low incomes who meet any of the following might be eligible for SNAP:

  • Enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education
  • Age 18 through 49
  • Meets one of these student exemptions:
  • Employed an average of 20 hours per week/80 hours per month
  • A single parent enrolled full time with responsibility for the care of a dependent child under age 12
  • Participating in a state or federally financed work-study program
  • Receiving Colorado Works (TANF cash grant) 
  • Responsible for more than half of the physical care of a dependent household member under the age of 6
  • Participation in Colorado’s Employment First Program
  • Responsible for more than half of the physical care of a dependent household member who is at age of 6 but is under the age of 12 where adequate child care is not available
  • Participating in an on-the-job training program while going to the institution of higher education
  • Be physically or mentally unfit (similar to general work requirements)

A student enrolled less than half time in an institution of higher education, does not need to meet the additional student exemptions.

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What documents do I need to apply For Colorado SNAP?

Proof of income

  • 30 days of earned income (pay stubs, employer statement that includes pay per hour and hours per week, etc.)
  • Self-employment bookkeeping records (if self-employed)
  • Agency letter showing unearned income (Social Security Retirement or Disability income, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs (VA) pension or disability benefits, Unemployment, child support, alimony, private retirement, pension, etc.)  

Proof of identity (any of the items below)

  • Driver’s license or state-issued identification card
  • Birth certificate or Social Security card
  • Work or school identification card
  • Voter registration card

Proof of medical expenses (ONLY if over 60 or disabled) 

  • Billing statements or repayment agreements
  • Medicare card, indicating Part B
  • Mileage or transportation costs to/from medical appointments                               
  • Itemized receipts for medical expenses (prescription drugs, medical supplies, etc.)

Other possible documents

  • Immigration or naturalization papers (ONLY if these documents apply to you. For example, NOT required if you are only applying for your children who were born in the United States)
  • Child care expenses (if appropriate)

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How do I apply for Colorado Food Assistance Program?

To apply for the Colorado Food Assistance Program, also known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), you can follow these general steps:

  • Check Eligibility: Before applying, review the eligibility criteria to ensure you meet the income and other requirements. Eligibility is often based on factors such as household size, income, and expenses.
  • Gather Required Information: Collect the necessary information and documentation for the application process. This may include proof of identity, income, expenses, and other relevant details for all members of your household.
  • Create an Account on Colorado PEAK:
    • Visit the Colorado PEAK website (Program Eligibility and Application Kit) to create an account. PEAK is the online portal used for various assistance programs in Colorado, including SNAP.
    • The website can be accessed here: Colorado PEAK
  • Complete the Online Application: Log in to your PEAK account and complete the online SNAP application. Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your household, income, and expenses. The application is designed to gather the necessary details to determine eligibility.
  • Submit Supporting Documents: After completing the application, you may be required to submit supporting documents. These documents may include proof of identity, income verification, and other relevant information. Instructions on document submission will be provided on the PEAK website.
  • Interview: You may be contacted for an interview as part of the application process. The interview may be conducted over the phone or in person. Be prepared to discuss your household’s financial situation and answer questions related to your application.
  • Receive Notification of Eligibility: After the application process is complete, you will receive notification of your eligibility status. If approved, you will receive information about the amount of benefits you qualify for and how to access them.
  • Use EBT Card to Access Benefits: If approved for SNAP benefits, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. This card works like a debit card and can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers.
  • Complete Recertification: SNAP benefits are typically provided for a specific period. You will need to recertify periodically to continue receiving benefits. Follow the instructions provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services for recertification.
  • Get Assistance from Local Offices: If you need assistance or prefer in-person support, you can visit a local county Department of Human Services (DHS) office for help with the application process.

Remember that the specific steps and requirements may vary, and it’s important to follow the instructions provided on the Colorado PEAK website or contact the Colorado Department of Human Services for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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Who is eligible for SNAP?

Those who qualify for SNAP include persons who may meet one of the following options:

  • Work for low wages
  • Are unemployed or work part-time
  • Receive TANF, SSI or other assistance payments
  • Are elderly or disabled and live on a small income
  • Are children
  • Adults ages 18 to 52 who have no children in their home (known as ABAWDs, able-bodied adults without dependents)

Individuals, couples and families may qualify if their income is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). See the table below for gross monthly income limits, based on household size. Note: The values below have been updated to reflect SNAP increases on Oct. 1, 2023.

Household sizeGross monthly income limits
1$2,430
2$3,288
3$4,054
4$5,000
5$5,858
6$6,714
7$7,570
8$8,428
Each additional member (add)+$858

To see if you qualify, complete this pre-screening tool on the Colorado PEAK website. (Note: This tool is not an application for SNAP.)

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How are SNAP funds issued?

SNAP benefits are issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, also known as the Colorado Quest Card. It looks like a credit or bank card and can be used at any authorized store across the country that has the EBT or Quest Card logo.

Benefits are deposited into the EBT account on the same day each month, even if it falls on a weekend or holiday. A personal identification number (PIN) is required to access benefits on the EBT account. The PIN is set by the cardholder and is what keeps the benefits safe. The EBT card does not have an expiration date.

Learn more about PIN safety and how to use your EBT card by reading the EBT card brochure (English or Spanish), by calling EBT Customer Service at 1.888.328.2656 (1.800.659.2656 — TTY), or by going to the Colorado EBT page. Register and manage your account here.

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What foods can I buy?

The SNAP program allows you to buy any food for the household, such as:

  • Breads and cereals
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meats, fish and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat
  • Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream
  • Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible
  • Coffee, including instant coffee, coffee beans, ground coffee, and products such as single-serve coffee container pods

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes (or other forms of tobacco)
  • Pet foods
  • Soaps and paper products
  • Household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods (or any food sold for on-premises consumption)
  • Live animals

Want to learn more about how to stretch your food budget with healthy meals? Visit our SNAP-Ed page.

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How do I know if I’m an ABAWD?

A person is considered an ABAWD — an able-bodied adult without dependents — if they are between the ages of 18 through 49 and are not disabled or living with a child under the age of 18 in their SNAP household.

Requirements for ABAWDs

People who are ABAWDs must do certain work-related activities to remain eligible for SNAP. They must be working or doing approved work activities for at least 80 hours per month. This includes paid work, unpaid work, and in-kind work. In-kind work is working in exchange for a service, such as working off rent. The county can help connect ABAWDs with local work opportunities in the area in order to meet the work requirement.

Important information about the Colorado SNAP ABAWD time limit

With the federal Public Health Emergency ending on May 11, the federal government is reinstating pre-pandemic work requirements for SNAP recipients who are considered able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). The change goes into effect on July 1. Read our FAQ for more information.

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How do I apply for Colorado Food Assistance Program?

To apply online, please visit the Colorado PEAK online application portal. For additional application information, visit the Food Assistance Application website. You will be able to download an application form directly from the site.

  • Check Eligibility: Before applying, check if you meet the eligibility criteria. Eligibility is based on factors such as household size, income, and expenses. You can use online tools or contact the Colorado Department of Human Services for pre-screening.
  • Gather Required Information: Collect necessary documents and information for your application. This may include proof of identity, income verification, rent or mortgage information, utility bills, and other details about your household.
  • Create an Account on Colorado PEAK: Go to the Colorado PEAK website (Program Eligibility and Application Kit) and create an account. PEAK is the online portal for various assistance programs in Colorado, including SNAP.
  • Complete the Online Application: Log in to your PEAK account and complete the online SNAP application. Provide accurate information about your household, income, expenses, and any other required details. If you need assistance, you can use the online chat feature or contact the customer service helpline.
  • Submit Supporting Documents: After submitting your application, you may be asked to provide supporting documents. These documents may include pay stubs, bank statements, or other verification of your financial situation. Follow the instructions on PEAK for document submission.
  • Interview Process: You may be required to participate in an interview. This can be conducted over the phone or in person. The purpose is to discuss your application, clarify information, and ensure accuracy.
  • Wait for Application Processing: After submitting your application, wait for it to be processed. The processing time can vary, but you will be notified of the decision once it is made.
  • Receive EBT Card: If approved for benefits, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card in the mail. This card is used like a debit card to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers.
  • Check Benefit Amount: Review the notice you receive about your benefits to understand the amount you will receive each month. The benefit amount is based on factors such as income, household size, and expenses.
  • Recertification: Be aware of the recertification process. SNAP benefits are usually provided for a specific period, and you will need to recertify to continue receiving assistance. Follow the instructions provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services for recertification.
  • Visit Local Offices for Assistance: If you prefer in-person assistance or have questions, you can visit your local county Department of Human Services (DHS) office. Staff at these offices can provide guidance on the application process.

Remember that the steps and requirements may vary, and it’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services or the PEAK website. For specific questions or concerns, you can also contact the customer service helpline.

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How can I contact someone?

For more information, please visit the Food Assistance Program website. Or visit SNAP’s Contact Us page to find many ways to get in touch with your local SNAP office.

FAQs. Colorado Food Assistance Program

1. What is the Colorado Food Assistance Program (SNAP)?

The Colorado Food Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and families to purchase nutritious food. It aims to alleviate hunger and improve nutrition among low-income households.

2. Who is eligible for SNAP in Colorado?

Eligibility for SNAP is based on factors such as household size, income, and expenses. Generally, households with limited income that meet the criteria may qualify for assistance. Specific income guidelines are established by the federal government.

3. How do I apply for SNAP in Colorado?

You can apply for SNAP in Colorado by creating an account on the Colorado PEAK website (Program Eligibility and Application Kit). The online portal allows you to complete the application, submit required documents, and check the status of your application.

4. What documents do I need to apply for SNAP?

Required documents may include proof of identity, income verification (pay stubs, tax returns), rent or mortgage information, utility bills, and other relevant documentation. The specific documents needed can vary, so check the application instructions for details.

5. How long does it take to get approved for SNAP benefits?

The processing time for SNAP applications can vary, but the goal is to process them as quickly as possible. In some cases, emergency benefits may be available for households in immediate need.

6. How are SNAP benefits distributed?

Approved participants receive benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. This card can be used like a debit card at authorized retailers to purchase eligible food items.

7. What can I buy with SNAP benefits?

SNAP benefits can be used to purchase a variety of food items, including fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, and non-alcoholic beverages. They cannot be used to buy non-food items such as pet food, vitamins, or hot prepared foods.

8. Can college students qualify for SNAP?

College students may be eligible for SNAP if they meet specific criteria. Generally, students enrolled at least half-time, participating in a state or federally financed work-study program, or meeting certain exemptions may qualify.

9. Is there a time limit for receiving SNAP benefits?

In general, able-bodied adults without dependents may be subject to time limits on receiving SNAP benefits if they are not meeting work requirements. However, these time limits are subject to waivers based on economic conditions.

10. How often do I need to recertify for SNAP benefits?

SNAP benefits are typically provided for a specific period, and participants need to recertify to continue receiving assistance. The recertification process may involve updating income and other relevant information.

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