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SNAP and additional resources

Families and Individuals may be eligible to receive SNAP (food stamps) and save money on groceries and may also be eligible to receive additional benefits

  • Shop at local Farmers Market— $5-10 matching funds for SNAP purchases.
  • Access local food by farmers provided by Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Buy food-producing seeds and edible plant starters at selected SNAP retailers
  • Qualify for the Free or Reduced Lunch Program at K-12 schools.
  • Receive nutrition education and food vouchers from Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program.
  • Discount on phone bill or receive a free mobile phone through the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program.
  • Internet Essentials from Comcast brings affordable, high-speed Internet to your home and if you have at least one child who is eligible for the National School Lunch Program or if you receive HUD housing assistance.
  • Buy $5 tickets to watch plays, music, theater, and dance shows for the entire family.
  • College students may be eligible to postpone paying back student loans while receiving SNAP benefits. For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid of the website.
  • The Pongo Fund provides quality pet food and veterinary care for family pets.

Able-bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWD)

If you live in Multnomah or Washington County, are between the ages of 18 and 49 years old, are not pregnant and don't live in a household with minor children, then you may be impacted.  Individuals may access SNAP benefits for three months in three years unless the person meets an exemption or complies with certain work requirements.

If you qualify for one of the exemptions below you do not have to complete work-related activities to keep getting SNAP benefits:

  • Physical or mental health makes you unable to work
  • Pregnant
  • Experiencing homelessness
  • Receiving unemployment
  • In an alcohol or drug treatment program (e.g. AA )
  • A student (at least half-time)
  • Taking care of a disabled person living with you

Individuals can stay eligible for SNAP by doing work-related activities for 20 hours a week, or an average of 80 hours a month.

Activities include:

  • Work for pay
  • Work in exchange for good and services
  • Work as an unpaid volunteer
  • Participate in an approved training program 

Immigrants and Refugees

Many non-citizens are eligible for SNAP, such as those who have worked in the United States for a certain amount of time or have come into the United States with a particular immigration status. If you do not have documented immigration status, you will not be able to apply for yourself, but you may be able to apply for other eligible household members, such as your children. 

Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts with IRCO to provide the following services to refugees in the greater Portland Metro area:

Within the first 12 months of arrival in the U.S

  • New Arrival Employment Services (NAES) - Provides employment assistance to help newly arrived refugees achieve self-sufficiency within twelve months of arrival.
  • Pre-Employment Training (PET) - Provides classroom English language instruction in the areas of work search skills, job application and interview skills, information on appropriate on-the-job behavior; and also provides short employment trainings.
  • Coordinated Assistance to Support Employment (CASE) - Provides support services to newly arrived refugees who are in the NAES project.

After the first 12 months in the U.S.

  • Established Employment Services (EES) - Provides employment assistance for refugees residing in Multnomah County who have been in the U.S. from 13 to 60 months to help them achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.
  • For more information, visit the IRCO website.

Other services available to refugees through DHS contracts

  • Cuban and Haitian Assistance Project (CHAP) – Provides assistance to eligible Cubans and Haitians to obtain employment documentation, adjustment of status, and citizenship and naturalization services through the SOAR/EMO agency.
  • Oregon Refugee Senior Services: Provides naturalization test and document preparation; socialization, informational, and hot meal services in partnership with Loaves and Fishes to refugee seniors. 

Public Charge

What is a public charge and when does it apply?

For purposes of determining inadmissibility, “public charge” means an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.

A number of factors must be considered when making a determination that a person is likely to become a public charge.

What publicly funded benefits may be considered for public charge purposes?

Cash assistance for income maintenance and institutionalization for long-term care at government expense may be considered for public charge purposes. However, receipt of such benefits must still be considered in the context of the totality of the circumstances before a person will be deemed inadmissible on public charge grounds.

Public benefits that are received by one member of a family are also not attributed to other family members for public charge purposes unless the cash benefits amount to the sole support of the family.

Acceptance of the following types of assistance may lead to the determination that the individual is likely to become a public charge:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of Social Security Act

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance (part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act--the successor to the AFDC program) (Note: Non cash benefits under TANF such as subsidized child care or transit subsidies cannot be considered and non-recurrent cash payments for crisis situations cannot be considered for evidence of public charge)

  • State and local cash assistance programs that provide benefits for income maintenance (often called "General Assistance" programs)

  • Programs (including Medicaid) supporting individuals who are institutionalized for long-term care (e.g., in a nursing home or mental health institution). (Note: costs of incarceration for prison are not considered for public charge determinations)

Nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program, and other supplementary and emergency food assistance programs are NOT considered as a public charge.


Do you need food today? Find a local food box location.