nutrition assistance


Nutrition Assistance (Formerly the Food Stamp Program)

In 2008, the U.S. Congress changed the name of the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Arizona’s program name is Nutrition Assistance (NA).

The new name better reflects the goal of the program. It helps to provide healthy food to low-income families with children and vulnerable adults. In addition, the term “food stamps” is outdated, since DES replaced paper coupons with more efficient electronic debit cards.

Research shows:

  • poor diets contribute to serious health problems in adults, especially the elderly;
  • poor diets can cause impaired brain development in children, creating a greater risk of educational failure; and
  • healthy food can lead to better school performance for children and better health outcomes for both children and adults.

Improving the diets of thousands of Arizonans is a joint effort of DES’ NA program, the Department of Health Services’ Women, Infant and Children (WIC) programExternal Link Icon and the Department of Education’s National School Lunch & School Breakfast ProgramExternal Link Icon.

What can I buy with my Nutrition Assistance Benefits (formerly Food Stamps)?

Ways to apply:

  1. You may apply online at Link Icon
    Note: You can submit much of the information through the online application, but some additional information will need to be faxed to complete the application.  Fax cover sheets are provided on the ‘Providing Documents’ tab of 
    Health-E-Arizona Plus Web site.External Link Icon
  2. Download the application(457 KB PDF) and submit by fax or in person to your local Family Assistance Administration (FAA) office. The same application is used when renewing your benefits.
  3. You can request a paper application at your local FAA office, or you can call and ask that an application be mailed.
Myths and Facts about Nutrition Assistance (Formerly the Food Stamp Program)
Myth: Nutrition Assistance is welfare.
Fact: The Nutrition Assistance program is designed to help low-income people add more nutritious foods to their diets.
Myth: People use Nutrition Assistance benefits to buy cigarettes or alcohol.
Fact: Nutrition Assistance benefits may only be used to purchase food that is going to be prepared. They cannot be used to buy cigarettes, alcohol, or other non-food items, such as clothing and toiletries.
Myth: Only unemployed people can get Nutrition Assistance benefits.
Fact: Most people who work at low-wage jobs can get Nutrition Assistance benefits; in fact, 36 percent of the more than 451,000 families receiving Nutrition Assistance in May 2014 were working.