Other Aspects of Nutrition Assistance

There are a number of factors related to applying for or using Nutrition Assistance (NA) benefits.

Personal Care Attendant

Some people with disabilities have someone who helps them with buying and preparing food. This person is called a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). You do not have to include them in your household when you apply for NA.

Restaurant Meals

People with disabilities may use their NA benefits to buy food at restaurants. The Arizona Department of Economic Security provides a list of restaurants that will accept your NA benefits.

Farmers’ Markets

Many farmers’ markets will accept your NA benefits, so you can buy fresh, local produce. Find a nearby market on the online list of Arizona Community Farmers Markets, all of which accept NA benefits.

Nutrition Assistance and Work

Nutrition Assistance uses your net income in figuring out your benefits amount. Your net income is your gross income (earned income and unearned income) minus allowable expenses and deductions for shelter, medical expenses, and other expenses.

To be eligible for NA, your household must

  • Have a gross income of no more than 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG); for 2020 that would be $16,588 for an individual
  • Have a net income of no more than 100% of the FPG; in 2020 that would be $12,760 for an individual
  • Have resources less than $3,500 for the elderly/disabled, or $2,250 for all others.

However, if you get TANF Cash Assistance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you automatically qualify to get NA. Or, if you receive non-cash services or benefits funded by TANF Cash Assistance or other low-income programs, you may automatically qualify for NA. This is called categorical eligibility.

Even if your household income is over the regular income limits and your family doesn't get SSI or TANF Cash Assistance benefits, you may still qualify for NA if your household income is below 185% of FPG.

If you have questions, contact your local Family Assistance Administration (FAA) office.

Emergency Food Assistance

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) gives food to people with low-income at no cost, through soup kitchens or food banks. There is no formal application for this program; when you visit a TEFAP location, you will be asked to show identification (anything with your name and address on it) and to sign in. You will have to self-declare that your household income is less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG), which in 2020 would be $23,606 for an individual, plus another $8,288 for each additional family member.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) offers an overview of TEFAP and a list of TEFAP locations. DES also provides a list of other programs that may help you find more food.