The process of applying for and obtaining food stamps takes a total of 30 days on average. Some households may be eligible for emergency assistance, in which case food stamps are issued within seven days.
Shortly after applying, candidates are contacted to schedule an interview with a caseworker to determine eligibility status. These interviews are typically conducted over the phone or in person at the nearest office of the Department of Social Services. While the entire process takes around a month, applicants may be issued an electronic benefit transfer card immediately upon applying. This card initially has a balance of $0, and funds are not made available for use until the application has been reviewed and processed.