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Food and Nutrition Services

The Food and Nutrition Services Program (formerly Food Stamps) is a federal program that provides a monthly allotment of benefits issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards) that can be used like debit cards. The Food and Nutrition Services Program is an entitlement program, so all eligible individuals and households can receive assistance.  Benefits may be used to purchase most foods at participating stores. They may not be used to purchase tobacco, pet food, paper products, soap products, or alcoholic beverages.

Eligibility Information: 

Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or an immigrant admitted to the United States under a specific immigration status. Citizens and eligible immigrants must also meet all other Food and Nutrition Services Program eligibility requirements.
  • Meet an income test to receive benefits. Income limits vary by household size. (Current income limits can be found here.)

This is just a guide.  An eligibility worker at the Department of Social Services will assess your individual situation and inform you of your eligibility status.

Interested in seeing if you might qualify? Click here.

The United States Department of Agriculture has an online screening tool that can tell you whether you might qualify based on income, family size and other information.  This is not an application for services.  All applications must be processed by the Department of Social Services in your county.

Application Information: 

Applications are taken by Income Maintenance workers at both of the Orange County Department of Social Services buildings on a first-come first-serve basis.  Persons who live in households consisting only of SSI (Supplemental Security Income) applicants or recipients may apply for Food and Nutrition Services benefits at the Social Security Administration Office. 

You can also fill out the online application found here and mail it in.  A caseworker will contact you for additional information.

Bringing the following items will aid in the process of applications:

  • Identification
  • Social Security Cards or numbers for all members of household (Including children)
  • Proof of Residence - (Lease, rent or mortgage receipts, Utility Bill)
  • Proof of Income - (Pay stubs, SSI, Social Security, Work First, Pensions or Other)
  • Bank Accounts - (Recent bank statements and or passbooks, etc.)
  • Utility Bills - (Gas, Electric, Phone, Water, and Sewer, etc.)
  • Tax Bill/Insurance - If Homeowner
  • If Elderly/Disabled - (Unpaid medical bills, Prescriptions, Health and Hospital Insurance)
  • Proof of Child Care Costs - (If employed or in school full time)

Frequently Asked Questions