Food Stamps for Legal Immigrants

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What are Food Stamps?

Food Supplement Program, called Food Stamps, helps people pay for food. You get a card you can use to buy food at grocery stores.

Children (under age 18) of Lawful Permanent Residents can get Food Stamps, even if their parents have had that status for less than 5 years.

Can I get Food Stamps?

You need to have low income to get help. You must be in the United States legally. You do not have to live with children or be elderly or disabled.

Even if you are here legally, you may not be able to get Food Stamps if:

  • You are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) in your first 5 years with that legal status (and you are not a Refugee or Asylee);
  • You have filed an application for permanent status and are still waiting for a decision;
  • You have applied for Asylum status or another change in immigrant status with the federal immigration authorities and are waiting for a decision; or
  • You have another less common legal status.

If you are in one of the above groups, you may be able to get Food Stamps if you:

  • got Food Stamps or had an application pending as of January 1, 2012;
  • are a Lawful Permanent Resident under age 18;
  • are elderly or disabled;
  • have been a victim of domestic violence; or
  • are waiting for work documentation; or
  • have work documentation (EAD), but are unemployed.

For questions about programs, contact:
Maine Equal Justice Partners (MEJP)
207-626-7058 or toll-free at 1-866-626-7059

For questions about immigrant status you can contact:
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP)
207-780-1593 or toll-free at 1-800-497-8505

Updated December 2011

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