Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


Marcela's Story

Marcela lives with her husband, brother, and two children. She works part-time for a local community center. Her brother was in a car accident several years back and since then, injuries from the accident have limited him to working just a few hours per week.

Even so, Marcela’s family never had trouble making ends meet until Marcela’s husband was laid off from his job. They were still able to pay for rent, but money got tight. Marcela decided that they needed help paying for food.

Her first step was to learn about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS) SNAP webpage. Next, she called the DHS information line at 1-303-866-5700 to get more info about SNAP.

Applying for SNAP

Marcela applied for SNAP online using Colorado PEAK. On the application, she stated her family’s income, resources, and living situation. The website also gave Marcela a list of documents she may need to give the county human services department, so Marcela gathered her pay stubs, bank records, and other proof of her family’s income and situation in case they needed it.

About a week after turning in the application, Marcela got a letter from her county human services department saying that she may qualify for SNAP, but she had to do an interview first. During the interview, they discussed Marcela’s brother’s disability and so when SNAP figured how much Marcela’s family should get in benefits, they deducted the money Marcela’s family spent on medical care for her brother from their family income. That meant they’d get more SNAP than they otherwise would.

Using SNAP

About two weeks after her phone interview, Marcela got a letter saying that her family had been approved for $400 a month in SNAP benefits. This was the maximum benefit amount for households of five ($1,155), minus the net income that Marcela had from her job. She also got her Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card in the mail, along with instructions about how to use it.

Before she went to the store, Marcela set up her Colorado PEAK account for SNAP using her case information on her approval letter. She then used the MyCOBenefits app on her phone to see how much she had in SNAP benefits on her EBT card. That way, she knew how much she could spend on food at the store.

The first time she went to the store, Marcela looked in the window to make sure it had the “QUEST” logo; that way her EBT Card would work. She picked up some groceries and when she reached the cashier, she pulled out her EBT Card and paid for her food items with her SNAP benefits without any problems.

Then, she went to the local farmers market, which participated in the Double Up Food Bucks program, meaning she could get a great deal on fruits and veggies. She knew it was apple season and some ripe apples would go great with breakfast.

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