Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Info about accessing public benefits through DCHS.

Page updated on Sep 7, 2021 at 1:30 PM

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) assists individuals and families who are unable to purchase sufficient food for themselves. For information about eligibility and to apply on-line, visit Common Help.  You may also visit our office at 2525 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301 to request an application or call 703.746.5902 and we will mail one to you the same day.  We encourage you to file an application the same day that you contact the agency. You may return the application in person to the address above, through an authorized representative who submits the application for you, by fax at 703.746.3424 or by mail at the address above.  You may also file an application through the State Department of Social Services Call Center at 1.855.635.4370.

Different eligibility rules apply to SNAP and other programs, so you should apply even if you have not been found eligible for other benefits. 

Increase in the Average SNAP Benefit Effective October 1

Effective October 1, 2021, the average SNAP benefit--excluding additional funds provided as part of pandemic relief--will increase for fiscal year 2022. The change comes after a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits. The reevaluation concluded that the cost of a nutritious, practical, cost effect diet is 21% higher than the current Thrifty Food Plan. The average SNAP benefit will increase by $36.24 per person, per month; households will only experience an increase of $8 per person because a temporary 15% increase in SNAP's maximum benefits enacted to help families during the pandemic is set to expire on September 30. To learn more:

  • Changes in Benefits by State (Tables)
  • What is the TFP? (Blog)
  • The Thrifty Food Plan and SNAP Benefits (Website)
  • The TFP Re-Evaluation Process (Infographic)
  • TFP Listening Sessions (Summary) (Blog)
  • SNAP Participants’ Barriers to Healthy Eating (Infographic)
  • Barriers that Constrain the Adequacy of SNAP Allotments (Report

SNAP Card Information

Program recipients with a lost, stolen or damaged card can call the toll-free Customer Service Help-Line at 1.866.2812448.  A new card will be mailed on the next business day.

Tracking the Balance on a Cardinal Card Account:

  • Keep store receipts that show the EBT balance in the Cardinal Card Receipt Saver. Check the receipt from the last purchase; it shows the available balance.
  • Call the toll-free Customer Service Help-Line at 1.866.281.2448.
  • Look for a Point-of-Sale machine located at the customer service counter at some stores.  This allows you to check balances before entering the check-out lane.

Income Eligibility

What is counted as income when applying for SNAP?  Total income, before taxes or any other subtractions, is the gross income. However, certain subtractions to gross income, called deductions, are allowed. These can be for things like housing costs, child support payments, monthly medical expenses over $35 for older adults or people with disabilities, or child-care costs. The amount left over after these deductions is the net income. There are two income limits: gross income and net income. Most households must meet both income limits. If a household has a person who is 60 or older or who has a disability, only the net income limit must be met. If everyone in the household receives SSI or TANF,  no income limit must be met. The maximum income limit to qualify for SNAP (Food Stamps) is 130 percent of the federal poverty level. 

Examples of income counted are:

  • Gross income from employment
  • Child support payments
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Workers compensation
  • Public assistance payments
  • Pensions
  • Veterans benefits
  • Alimony
  • Dividends
  • Interest and similar payments
  • Retirement or disability benefits
  • Old age, survivor’s or strike benefits
  • Scholarships and educational grants
  • Fellowships and veterans’ educational benefits

Social Services Fax

The Social Services fax for submitting documentation is 703.746.5985.  lease include a case number and/or case worker name. 

SNAP Double Dollars Program

Learn how SNAP beneficiaries can stretch their food dollars and access healthy, locally grown food at the Old Town Farmers' Market through the Double Dollar Program.

For more information, call the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services at 703.746.5902.

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