Q) Can I get SNAP benefits as an immigrant?
A) Certain legal, qualified immigrants may be eligible for SNAP and must meet the same eligibility requirements as U.S. citizens. An example of a legal immigrant who may qualify is a lawful permanent resident (LPR, i.e. immigrants with green cards). Most LPRs have a waiting period of 5 years before they can get benefits. Aliens admitted to the U.S. for humanitarian reasons such as refugees or asylees are eligible without a waiting period. Certain elderly, disabled, children under 18, and LPRs with a military connection are also eligible without a waiting period. Eligible household members may be eligible even if there are other members in the household who are not eligible.
Immigrant Eligibility Requirements
The 2002 Farm Bill restores SNAP eligibility to most legal immigrants that:
- Have lived in the country for 5 years; or
- Are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits; or
- Children under 18
- Certain non-citizens such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence may also eligible for the program. Eligible household members can get SNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible.
Non-citizens that are in the U.S. temporarily, such as students, are not eligible.