Learn About the Food Stamps Program


In the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is available for families meeting eligibility requirements. This program provides monetary aid to be used on purchasing healthy food.

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SNAP Benefits Explained

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Living costs such as rent, utilities, child care and medical assistance make grocery shopping difficult for low income or unemployed homes. Without these benefits, some households would be unable to adequately feed their families. Depending on where an applicant lives, they may be able to apply for SNAP online, by mail, phone or in person.

SNAP eligibility requirements are based on federal and state-specific standards such as citizenship status, income, household size and more. The benefit amounts allotted vary, depending on how needy the family is.

In order to apply, the head of household must provide personal information about each person living in the residence. Applicants can learn more about this program by reviewing the information provided below.

In the United States, SNAP benefits are determined by comparing the household income of a family with other factors. Factors like the size, legal status and number of dependents for each home are also used for reference.

In most states, applicants must be valid state residents, U.S. citizens and/or legal immigrants. In certain cases, refugees may be considered to receive benefits. In order to verify eligibility requirements, valid documentation must be provided at the time of application.

What are the SNAP requirements?

Documents that may be presented could include U.S. birth certificates, state issued identification cards, immigration files and Social Security cards. Without these important papers proving identity and citizenship, applicants cannot receive benefits.

However, in some states, undocumented families could be eligible to receive SNAP benefits. The income limits for food stamps are based on the gross and net yearly income of a household. Gross income is the total amount received by a family before tax deductions. Conversely, net income includes deductions and taxes. For all U.S. states, except Hawaii and Alaska, the net income of an eligible family should be 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL).

When determining eligibility, the SNAP office also reviews work income, child support, pensions and government assistance for household income purposes. Households who are already collecting federal payments through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are automatically eligible to receive SNAP.

The size of the family and number of dependents in a home also affects the total benefit amount that will be received. A larger household size and/or greater number of dependents often increase the benefit amount dispersed to the family. Homes with fewer dependents and/or smaller household sizes usually received lower monetary benefits.

The employment standards to receive benefits are based on state and federal requirements. Adults must adhere to job rules in order to continually collect SNAP payments. Unemployed individuals may be required to be involved in work programs to help find a stable job.

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