American Indian OIC (AIOIC) now offers SNAP application assistance. SNAP is the commonly used acronym that stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Many people may be familiar with the program’s previous name, food stamps.

SNAP provides qualifying individuals and families with financial support to purchase fresh produce, meats, frozen foods, dairy, and dry goods. American Indian OIC offers community members assistance applying for SNAP so that basic needs can be met. The organization believes that providing basic needs will help its clients be more successful achieving their education and employment goals. “If you are hungry, you won’t be able to focus on anything else,” says Erin Wolf, AIOIC’s SNAP outreach coordinator. Erin’s primary users are AIOIC clients and students, but her assistance is open to anyone.

Erin became passionate about SNAP outreach after relocating to the Twin Cities from Oklahoma. She didn’t have a job and needed SNAP but didn’t know how or where to apply. She uses that experience to inform her work at AIOIC.

Erin Wolf uses her experience applying for SNAP to better serve AIOIC’s clients.

Erin works one-on-one with individuals to complete their SNAP application. The process takes 15-30 minutes and eligibility depends on factors like household size, household income, and ability status. A monthly SNAP “award” is generally $194 for a household of one person making $1,700 or less per month. Depending on eligibility, SNAP benefits can be accessed for up to three months every three years for one’s lifetime. For people who don’t qualify for SNAP, Erin can provide resources like foodshelf, community meal, and food giveaway locations. Erin and AIOIC also help community members apply for other public benefits like emergency assistance, cash assistance, and childcare assistance.

Readers may be aware that the Trump Administration is proposing changes that would eliminate eligibility or reduce SNAP benefits for able-bodied adults that do not have dependents. This change would negatively impact American Indian OIC’s SNAP clients, many of whom are working, but not able to make ends meet. The changes have not been adopted and potential SNAP recipients are encouraged to complete the eligibility screening and application process as normal.

SNAP assistance is provided through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The card can be discreetly used like a debit card at participating stores. Clients generally receive their EBT card within 30 business days of the submission of their SNAP application.

If you or someone you know needs assistance applying for SNAP benefits, contact Erin Wolf at 612.341.3358, x113. Any community member in need of food assistance, regardless of income, can attend American Indian OIC’s next pop-up foodshelf on December 18.