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If you’re struggling to put food on the table, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, can help. SNAP provides monthly benefits that eligible low-income families can use to buy groceries.

Read on to learn how to apply for SNAP in Hawaii and take advantage of this vital assistance program.

Eligibility Requirements for SNAP in Hawaii

Income Limits

To qualify for SNAP benefits in Hawaii, your household must meet certain income limits. According to the Hawaii Department of Human Services, the gross monthly income limits are as follows:

Household Size Gross Monthly Income Limit
1 $1,832
2 $2,470
3 $3,108
4 $3,747
5 $4,385

So for example, a household of 3 people would need to have a gross monthly income under $3,108 to qualify for SNAP in Hawaii. Do note the income limits may change from year to year.

Resource Limits

In addition to income limits, SNAP households in Hawaii must not exceed the resource limit, which is $5,000 for most households. Resources over this limit could make you ineligible. Resources include things like bank accounts, cash on hand, stocks/bonds, some vehicles, and some property.

However, certain resources are exempt from consideration for SNAP, such as your home and surrounding property, household goods/personal effects, one vehicle per licensed driver (if used for job hunting, working, or transportation for household members), and more as listed on the Hawaii SNAP resource exclusions list.

Work and Training Requirements

Able-bodied SNAP recipients in Hawaii aged 16-59 who do not have dependent children must meet ongoing work requirements by working or participating in employment training at least 20 hours per week in order to maintain eligibility.

There are some exceptions, such as for students enrolled half-time, those physically or mentally unfit for employment, and more.

In Hawaii, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) can only receive SNAP benefits for 3 months in a 36-month period if they do not meet the 20 hours per week work requirement. But they can regain eligibility by working 80 hours in a 30-day period or participating in a work program.

How to Apply for SNAP Benefits in Hawaii

Online Application

The easiest way to apply for SNAP benefits in Hawaii is through the online application on the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services website ( This allows you to complete the application process from the comfort of your own home.

To start, you will need to create an online account. Make sure to have information like your social security number, income details, household expenses, and asset documentation ready. The online system will guide you through questions to determine your eligibility.

Applying online results in faster processing compared to paper applications.

In-Person Application

You can also apply in person for SNAP benefits in Hawaii at your local DHS office. Visit during office hours and request an application form. A case worker can assist in completing the form accurately. Bring the necessary documents to verify eligibility like pay stubs, utility bills, mortgage/rent receipts, and medical bills.

Applicants must also complete an interview, which usually occurs on the same day. While applying in person takes more effort, you will get help ensuring no errors on the application.

Telephone Application

As another option, you can call the DHS hotline at 1-855-643-1643 to begin the SNAP application process over the phone. This allows you to get questions answered in real-time. However, you will still need to follow up by mailing or dropping off documentation at your local office.

The call center representatives can also let you know which documents are required for your specific household. The phone application works best for those with mobility challenges who cannot easily apply online or visit an office.

Be prepared to verify details like your Hawaii residency when applying by phone.

Document Requirements

Here are some key documents needed when applying for SNAP benefits in Hawaii, no matter which method you choose:

  • Proof of identity – Driver’s license, state ID, passport, etc.
  • Immigration documents if applicable – Green card, visa, etc.
  • Social Security cards for all household members
  • Pay stubs, self-employment logs, pension statements showing income
  • Bank statements, investment accounts, tax returns showing assets/resources
  • Mortgage/rent receipts, property tax bills, utility bills
  • Out-of-pocket medical bills for seniors/disabled individuals
  • Child support payment records if applicable

Having these documents ready will help streamline your application and eligibility verification. Reach out to the DHS hotline with any other questions on required proofs for SNAP assistance.

Using SNAP Benefits in Hawaii


Once approved for SNAP benefits in Hawaii, recipients will be issued an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This debit-like card allows recipients to purchase eligible food items at authorized SNAP retailers.

According to the USDA, as of 2023 over 16,000 authorized retailers accept SNAP EBT cards in Hawaii.

SNAP EBT cards work similarly to debit cards. Cardholders select the EBT payment option when checking out at grocery stores and enter a 4-digit PIN number. The amount spent is automatically deducted from the monthly SNAP account balance. There’s no need to calculate costs or receive change back.

If an EBT card is lost, damaged or stolen, it’s important to report it to Hawaii’s SNAP agency as soon as possible. Replacement EBT cards are issued within 5 business days. Temporary benefits may be provided in the interim in some cases.

Purchasing Restrictions

SNAP benefits can be used to buy most nutritious foods including breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products and plants and seeds to grow food at home. However, there are some restrictions on what can be purchased with SNAP benefits in Hawaii:

  • Prepared hot foods or foods intended to be eaten in the store cannot be purchased.
  • Alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements or pet foods cannot be purchased.
  • Hawaii does have some expanded SNAP eligibility for culturally significant foods like poke and poi.

It’s important for retailers to adhere to Hawaii’s SNAP purchasing restrictions. Recipients who attempt to purchase unauthorized items with EBT cards will be denied at checkout. Intentional program violations can also result in disqualification.

Checking Your Balance

Keeping track of your SNAP account balance helps cardholders plan grocery trips and budget appropriately. According to a USDA report, the average SNAP benefit per household in Hawaii is around $450 per month.

There are a few easy ways recipients can check an EBT balance in Hawaii:

Reviewing the Last Receipt The balance remaining after your most recent EBT transaction prints on each store receipt.
Calling the Balance Inquiry Line An automated phone system reads out your current balance. Can check by entering card number or with a verbal PIN.
Checking Online Those with EBT Edge debit cards can login online or via mobile app to view real-time card balances and transaction history.

Knowing your balance in advance lets you track spending over time, plan future SNAP grocery purchases appropriately and get the most out of your benefits.

Maintaining Eligibility for Hawaii SNAP

Reporting Changes

To continue receiving SNAP benefits in Hawaii, there are some important reporting requirements you must follow. Here are the key things you need to report to the state Department of Human Services:

  • Changes in household income, both increases and decreases
  • Changes in household size, such as someone moving in or out
  • Changes in assets, such as opening or closing a bank account
  • Changes in housing costs, such as rent or mortgage payments
  • Changes in child care expenses

Generally, these changes must be reported within 10 days. You can report changes by calling the SNAP hotline, visiting your local DHS office, or submitting information through an online account. Promptly reporting changes ensures your SNAP benefits accurately reflect your household’s current circumstances.

Renewal Process

In Hawaii, SNAP benefits are time-limited and households must have their eligibility renewed periodically, usually every 6 to 12 months. Here is what to expect during the renewal process:

  • You will receive a renewal form in the mail approximately 60 days before your certification period ends. This form will outline the information and verification documents you need to submit.
  • To continue receiving uninterrupted benefits, you should complete and submit your renewal form by the deadline, along with all required documents.
  • A DHS caseworker will review your renewal form and verify your household circumstances. They may request additional information if necessary.
  • If approved, your SNAP benefits will be recertified for another period. You will receive a notice informing you of your new certification dates and monthly allotment amount.
  • If your renewal is delayed, your benefits may lapse. But once recertified, SNAP benefits can be restored retroactively.

Completing the renewal process on time is crucial to avoiding an interruption in benefits. Be sure to carefully review renewal notices and provide all requested verification documents. Reach out to your DHS office if you have any questions.


SNAP provides essential food assistance to low-income families in Hawaii. Meeting the eligibility criteria and submitting an application with all required documents are key first steps to accessing benefits.

Be sure to follow program rules for using your SNAP EBT card and report any changes to maintain eligibility.

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