Food stamps provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a government assistance program designed for low-income Americans. The program provides monthly funds to eligible households or individuals for nutritional assistance. The amount that participants receive is based upon household size and income limit. The purpose of this program is to ensure that Americans can continue to feed their families, even when it seems like they cannot afford it. Many factors contribute to being eligible for SNAP, and the main factors are income and work.
You can buy most food items, but there are limits. There are some locations that do not accept your SNAP benefits. The funds for SNAP distributed the same day every month so long as you remain eligible.
SNAP recipients can continue to receive SNAP funds until a renewal is completed, which will determine if the recipient will keep receiving benefits. When recipients stay eligible, they will remain eligible until there is another eligibility review.
Overview of Food Stamps
To be eligible for SNAP, you must be a U.S. citizen or have a non-citizen status. Food stamp benefits can only be provided to those who meet the requirements, like income- and resource-limit requirements. Income limits are determined by household sizes. If the household is larger, then the income limit and rewarded more as a result. Income not only determines if a household qualifies for a SNAP but also the amount of funds a household can obtain.
The SNAP program will automatically deduct the gross income of the individual or household while determining their eligibility and benefits. One common deduction is the 20 percent deduction, which is based upon the household size and excess shelter costs. Shelter costs can include mortgage payments, rent and any acceptable utility bills. Utility bills are a set amount in specific states instead of real costs.
SNAP also supports workers. Applicants must also meet work-related requirements, such as being employed or be currently in a work program for part-time. This is about 20 hours per week. However, there are specific groups that can be exempt from these work requirements. Some of these groups include:
- Senior citizens.
- Pregnant women.
- Disabled persons.
If you do not fall into one of these exempt groups, then you must follow the requirements stated above. This is in order to receive SNAP funds for more than three months within a 36-month period.
Benefits for SNAP
There are certain restrictions when it comes to what you can purchase with food stamps. You cannot purchase nonfood items, live animals, hot prepared foods made for immediate consumption, vitamins, medicine, liquor or tobacco. Benefits from SNAP can be used to buy eligible food items such as:
- Meat, poultry and fish.
- Fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.
- Cereals and bread.
- Snack items
- Food-producing seeds and plants.
When you have been notified to be eligible for food stamps, you will get your funds from SNAP in 30 days from the date that you applied. Meeting the requirements for very low income or no income, you can qualify to receive your funds within seven days of applying.
Food stamps funds are given to beneficiaries through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. The EBT card can be utilized like a debit card at retailers where they are accepted. Most grocery stores and supermarkets will accept the card. In certain states, funds can be used at participating farmer’s markets.
SNAP deposits the funds to the EBT card of a participant on the same day of each month. The day benefits are transferred into accounts will change depending on the state you are living in. Typically, the day that funds are distributed is determined by the spelling of the name of the applicant or their Social Security Number.
This guide carries a wealth of information put together by our professionals to help you better understand the programs that can possibly be available to you. Additional information will be provided to you over the course of a few days, so keep an eye on your inbox. Meanwhile, you can read the sections below, which will give more information about other services at a reduced cost as well as how you can get inexpensive health insurance.
Discounted Services Accessible via SNAP
One discounted service that you can have is cheap cable and internet. There are many providers that offer their services discounted to low-income individuals or families. These programs typically give monthly or annual discounts. Lifeline is a federal program that helps lower the cost of your internet bill, so long as applicants meet the requirements.
There are car insurance programs that are given at a discount price to lower your insurance bill. Speak to the insurance agency to find out whether there are any additional discounts that you can qualify for.
There are also low-income home loans that allow households to buy a home. The requirements for government loan programs are related to income limits and credit score. The program can also eliminate or reduce down-payment requirements.
Discover Available Grants From the Government
Government grants are not provided to low-income citizens and households. The grants are given to local programs and state programs so they can distribute assistance to the low-income communities. The type of assistance comes in the form of programs that can provide a reduction to utility bills, food, shelter and more. Some of these programs include the following:
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
- The Housing Voucher Program (also known as Section 8 housing)
Local food banks can also provide nutritional assistance as well as other community-based outreach programs. If you want a complete list of programs, then contact your local Department of Health and Human Services office. Your local public housing agency (PHA) can give emergency housing assistance. These offices will determine whether you are eligible for housing assistance.
Learn How to Get Affordable Health Insurance
There are inexpensive health insurance options available such as Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance options on HealthCare.gov. Medicaid is a government program that provides coverage to millions of Americans. Medicare is another government assistance program that covers senior citizens and disabled persons.
Medicaid provides mandatory services that the state requires as well as some optional services that can vary from state to state. The program covers hospital services, doctors’ visits and laboratory services. Medicare has parts so beneficiaries can choose their coverage options. Additionally, it is possible to qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare.
You can find health insurance quotes at HealthCare.gov. In order to receive your quote, you must input your personal information such as Social Security number and income level. The results will let you know if you qualify for credits that reduce health insurance premiums or for federal or state programs. If you qualify for federal programs, then the website forwards your information to your local office.