Virginia Department of Social Services FAQs

What is the penalty for trading or selling SNAP EBT cards in Virginia?

Individuals receiving benefits under SNAP who are found trading, selling or attempting to trade or sell SNAP EBT cards can be prohibited from receiving SNAP benefits for a period of time or permanently barred from the program. Violators may face fines of as much as $250,000 and be imprisoned for as many as 20 years.

What items can I not buy using my SNAP EBT card in Virginia?

The intention of SNAP EBT cards is to purchase food to prepare meals. Recipients cannot use their SNAP benefits to purchase nonfood items like toiletries and household supplies, alcohol, tobacco products, medicine, hot foods or any foods meant for consumption at the point of sale.

If I see or know about SNAP fraud happening, then what can I do?

Selling, trading or otherwise intentionally misusing SNAP benefits is a crime. If you see something, then say something! Virginia residents can report misuse and abuse of SNAP benefits toll free by calling 1-800-424-9121.

My child has food allergies. Can (s)he still participate in the National School Lunch Program?

Yes. Food allergies are considered disabilities under the ADA definition and, by law, must be accommodated by schools and federal nutrition programs.You will need to provide your child’s school with documentation from a recognized health professional identifying the allergy and appropriate food substitutions. The nutrition and food service staff at your child’s school will then make sure appropriate substitutions and safety measures are in place to allow your child to participate without discrimination.

My child is lactose intolerant. Can (s)he get juice instead of milk as part of the Special Milk Program or School Breakfast Program in Virginia?

Juice may only be substituted for fluid milk under the School Breakfast Program in Virginia as a disability accommodation. However, lactose-free milk and other nutritionally equivalent fluid milk substitutes are available in Virginia school nutrition programs.

How old do you have to be to get benefits under the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program?

The Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)provides assistance to Virginia residents 60 years of age or older who meet income and other eligibility requirements.

What kinds of foods can families get from the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Virginia?

The availability of certain foodstuffs under TEFAP may vary but typically contains almost 90 quality products selected to be nutritious and satisfying. They include canned and fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat and poultry, fish, dairy products and a variety of grains including pasta and cereals.

What does Virginia’s Adult Services Program do?

Virginia’s Adult Services Program connects elderly residents, adults with impairments and others to the services and supports they need to maintain their quality life and independence. AS services include companion and homemaker services, adult day and foster care, case management, nutrition services and health screenings and assessments.

Who qualifies for benefits under TANF?

TANF benefits are available to families with children 18 years of age or younger who are United States citizens (or eligible immigrants), regularly attends school and lives with their parent or other relatives. Eligible children cannot have been born or adopted 10 or more months after his or her family started collecting TANF benefits.

What are Auxiliary Grants and who can get them?

Auxiliary Grants are available to individuals who are blind, disabled or aged, living in a qualifying assisted living facility and collecting Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Can I get help weatherizing my house from Virginia’s Energy Assistance program?

Weatherization assistance falls under the auspices of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The Energy Assistance program assists low-income families afford heating and cooling costs for their homes. Find out more about obtaining energy assistance in our comprehensive guide.

When can I apply for help with my heating costs under Virginia’s Energy Assistance program?

Qualifying Virginia residents can submit applications for assistance with their heating bills to the Energy Assistance beginning the second Tuesday in October, annually. Applications will be accepted until the second Friday in November each year.

What can you get from Veteran’s Disability Compensation in Virginia?

Veteran’s Disability Compensation issues monthly payments and other benefits to veterans as well as their widows/widowers, dependent children or parents of veterans who were killed or seriously disabled during military service. Benefits are provided on a sliding scale in alignment with the degree of disability the qualifying veteran suffered. Payment amounts will vary widely from recipient to recipient.

Can I get any benefits other than money for food under SNAP?

Yes. In addition to funding for food, SNAP offers recipients vocational training opportunities paired with job search and job preparation services. It also provides assistance accessing educational opportunities, supplies referrals to other programs and supports and can assist with employment-related costs such as transportation.

Is there anything I can do if I am denied benefits under the National Student Lunch Program?

Yes. Applicants denied benefits under the National Student Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program or Summer Food Service Program can appeal the decision to their school or appropriate school district personnel. Instructions on how to appeal will be included in the letter documenting the denial of your application for benefits. Learn more about the appeal process for several government-assistance programs in Virginia by downloading our detailed guide.

Who can apply for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)?

The CSFP is open to Virginia residents 60 years of age or older who are part of a low-income household. In certain circumstances, women, infant and children as well as Indian Tribal Organizations may also receive CSFP funds.

My church wants to sponsor a Summer Food Service Program site. How do we sign up?

Faith-based organizations are eligible to partner with the Virginia Department of Education and the USDA to host SFSP sites. Interested organizations can contact the DOE for information on how to participate in food-assistance programs. Trainings for new sponsor sites are typically conducted in April each year.

Do college students qualify for food stamps in Virginia?

College students do not generally qualify for SNAP assistance in Virginia. Exceptions may be made for students attending college a minimum of 20 hours each week, students receiving benefits under other qualifying federal programs, with dependents six years of age or younger or who are single parents with dependents 12 years of age or younger.

What are the income cutoffs for SNAP eligibility?

Income eligibility scales by the number of individuals in a household and is adjusted on an annual basis. Virginia’s Department of Social Services posts the updated figures each year.

Is there an eligibility interview for WIC in Virginia?

Eligibility interviews are not mandatory to receive WIC benefits in Virginia. Low-income women with infants or children five years of age and younger can apply for benefits through the Department of Social Services. They will need to supply documentation of income and proof of residency in Virginia. The DSS representative who assists an applicant with her application may request additional information as well, but no interview is required.

Virginia Department of Social Services