The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is designed to make sure that people who have limited income are able to get the nutrition that they need. Low-income families, disabled people and the elderly are some of the people who receive SNAP. The federal government is responsible for operating the SNAP program. It also controls the cost of the program.
Am I Eligible for SNAP?
The federal government sets the requirements for SNAP. However, states are allowed to create their own requirements. For example, the value of the vehicle that one owns is one of the factors that can be used to determine whether one qualifies for SNAP. The basic requirements for SNAP include the following.
• Your household income must not be greater than 130 percent of the federal poverty line.
• The household income cannot exceed the set limit after deductions are used.
• Bank accounts and other household assets must be below a certain limit.
Families that have an elderly person in the household only have to meet the net income test. They are also allowed to have more in assets. You can find out about the current asset and income guidelines by visiting the United States Food and Nutrition Website.
Who is not Eligible for SNAP?
The following people are not able to get SNAP regardless of their income.
• Undocumented immigrants
• Certain legal immigrants
• Striking workers
• The vast majority of college students
An unemployed adult who does not have any children is only able to get SNAP for three months without participating in a job training program or working at least 20 hours per week. If a person still has trouble finding a job, then they can contact United States Department of Labor. They can get a waiver, which will allow them to extend their benefits.
Fifty percent of families that receive SNAP have at least one person in the household who is working. Sixty-six percent of SNAP recipients are elderly people, disabled people and children. They do not have to meet any work requirements.
What is the Maximum Amount Allowed?
As of September 2017, the maximum amount that a single individual can receive is $142 per month. A family of eight can receive up to $1,169 per month. The size of the household is one of the things used in order to determine SNAP benefits. It is assumed that people will spend 30 percent of their monthly income on food.
The United States Department of Agriculture uses the Thrifty Food Plan. For example, a family of three makes $800 per month. It is expected that they will spend $240 per month on food. The Thrifty Food Plan estimates that they will need to spend $511 per month in order to have a nutritious diet. That is why this family will get $271 per month.
How to use SNAP Benefits
The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 forbids food stamps from being used for anything except for food and food products. Seeds and plants that can produce food can be purchased with SNAP. Dairy products, meat, vegetables, fruits and cereal can be purchased with SNAP. People cannot use SNAP to purchase alcohol, cigarettes, medicine, vitamins or other non-food items.
Hot food and food that is designed to be eaten at the store cannot be purchased with SNAP. However, some stores will allow people to pay for hot foods with SNAP benefits. Exceptions are often made for homeless individuals, disabled people and the elderly people.
There is no law that prohibits people from buying junk food with SNAP. People can use SNAP to purchase steak and cookies. There has been a lot of debate about this. Congress had proposed putting restrictions on the types of foods that can be purchased with an EBT card. However, they ultimately decided that trying to enforce such laws would be difficult and costly.
How to Apply for SNAP
Every state has its own process that you will have to go through to apply for SNAP. If you are interested in getting SNAP, then you will need to call the hotline. The vast majority of states allow you to fill out the application online.
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