Millions of people need food assistance every single day due to poverty or low income. While some individuals can turn to relatives and neighbors, many folks, unfortunately, do not have this support system.
This means folks need to turn to the US gov for help in times of need. One of the government benefits that those in need can turn to is the food stamps program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
This initiative helps provide nutrition and support in underserved sectors of society. If you are in need of food assistance and want to apply for food stamps, look no further. This guide will tell you what you need to know.
What Is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, was previously referred to as the food stamps program.
It is a US gov initiative that allows beneficiaries to extend their food budget with the help of food stamps or financial assistance.
Through this program, individuals can purchase select food items based on the funding or benefits extended on a monthly basis. We'll tell you more about what you can and can't purchase below.
Benefits of Food Stamps
Food stamps, which are now called SNAP benefits, provide timely assistance to people in need of food assistance. This includes the elderly, people with disabilities, and households with income below the poverty line.
In many ways, it is a response to the growing poverty and unemployment that is experienced by many across America. As part of the program, the government also promotes healthy eating and other health initiatives.
Getting SNAP benefits also means that households and beneficiaries get better access to better food. That's because there are stipulations on what you are allowed to buy with food stamps.
Benefits are delivered monthly via electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, allowing beneficiaries to immediately use their funds. An EBT card is much like a debit card that you can use at authorized locations.
What Can I Use Food Stamps For
You can use food stamps for all sorts of grocery items like bread, milk, meats, fruits, and vegetables. You cannot use your funds to buy hot or prepared food. That means all your foodstuffs should be raw or packaged goods.
You cannot use your money for alcoholic drinks or cigarettes. You also cannot use the money for non-food items like toilet paper and soap.
Eligibility requirements for those interested in applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program include meeting certain household requirements, such as income.
Applicants should have gross incomes of at least 130% below the federal poverty line. This means that a family of four should have a combined income of no more than $2,839 per month.
You should also not have more than $2250 in assets. That includes money in your bank account.
As this program is geared towards at-risk members of society, things like whether you have children in your care will be taken into consideration. They will also consider whether or not you have a senior in your care.
How to Apply for Food Stamps
The application for SNAP depends on the state you currently live in. Each state follows its own respective application process. Many states require you to go to agency offices in person to apply for the program.
For some states, you can print off the form and then take it to your local office. You can click here to check out the Food and Nutrition program's page for state requirements. Here you can figure out what your state requires you to do to get benefits.
You will need to provide official identity documents with your application. Other things they will want is proof of residence, salary, bank account details, and potentially other information like that about dependents.
Once you apply, the state agency will have 30 days to review your application and get back to you with a response.
The Bottom Line
Food stamps help millions of people in the United States put food on the table. For many, this program is the difference between 3-square meals a day and hunger.
That is why it is important to only apply for this program if you absolutely need it.