Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Provides Food Budget to Needy Families
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program funded by the U.S government aiming to give food assistance to its eligible beneficiaries. It prioritizes low-income individuals, children, people with disabilities, and senior citizens to provide food necessities. The main purpose of the program is to maintain the food stability of every beneficiary.
SNAP serves as the largest nutritional program by the federal government. This program was supervised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and local SNAP Offices for each country state.
Based on USDA, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps over 46 million eligible beneficiaries every year. Furthermore, over $75 billion were spent on the implementation of the said program. From the data, SNAP already helped and continuously assisted millions of American individuals and families.
According to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 5.1 households have low food security. This means there are still millions of American individuals that suffer from malnutrition.
Moreover, almost 41 million individuals face hunger. These are the main reasons why Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was created, to end hunger and malnutrition throughout the United States.
However, SNAP doesn’t give financial assistance to its beneficiaries. They’re giving Electronic Benefits Transfer Cards that act similar to a debit cards. It can be used for purchasing foods and nutritional needs within authorized grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
As of now, there are over 238,000 authorized stores nationwide that can be used for the said program. SNAP’s way of giving benefits is much more convenient and reliable, unlike other grants which involve cash. The SNAP Offices in each state manage and handles their respective recipients.
How to Be Eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?
As SNAP targets low-income individuals, children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities, it doesn’t mean that you’re qualified for the program. The federal government sets its eligibility rules for SNAP but it does not apply generally.
Moreover, these eligibility rules can be flexible depending on the local state. Different states in the United States have their own rules and regulations about SNAP qualification. For information regarding SNAP eligibility rules in your local area, you can simply visit your local office.
Even though SNAP eligibility rules differ from each state, it still offers broad availability to low-income individuals or families. Meaning that there’s a high chance to be a beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
You can see below the eligibility rules given by the federal government for SNAP in terms of income.
1. Applicant's total monthly gross income must not exceed 130 percent of the poverty line. This means that they must have a $2,252 monthly income and about $27,020 a year. However, this rule doesn’t apply to families with senior citizens or a member with a disability.
2. The applicant’s net monthly income must not exceed the poverty line. Meaning, they should have a maximum of $1,732 a month or $20,780 a year as net monthly income. The said income would be computed after the deduction of selected items such as childcare or housing expenses.
3. Applicant’s assets must meet the following standard limit:
• Total of $2,250 for households without senior citizens or members with a disability. • Total of $3,500 for households with a senior citizen or member a with disability
Generally, the federal government also sets the work requirements for the applicants for SNAP, these are the following.
• Applicants can be working. • Applicants must not voluntarily quit their previous job (if unemployed). • Applicants must participate in training and employment programs depending on the local state.
An applicant who did not meet the eligibility rules will not be qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Remember that there are further qualification rules from your respective local state for the said program.
How Much Can I Get from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?
Even though SNAP doesn’t give cash assistance, the amount available on the Electronic Benefits Transfer Card of beneficiaries is different. The financial assistance that a beneficiary can receive varies on the applicant’s household size. Below are details for the number of benefits each month according to household size.
SNAP’s financial assistance can’t be used for any kind of food or things. There are specific types where you can use it, these are the following.
What Kinds of Foods Can I Buy Using SNAP?
• Bread and Cereals • Fruits and Vegetables • Meats, fish, and poultry • Dairy products • Plants and seeds
What Kinds of Foods Can’t Buy Using SNAP?
• Beer, liquor, cigarettes, and tobacco • Pet food • Soap • Paper products • Household supplies • Food that will be eaten in the store • Hot foods
How Can I Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?
The application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program varies directly in your local state. To apply for SNAP; visit your local SNAP Office for the application method, check the online application by usda.gov or call the SNAP hotline: 1-800-221-5689.
Required Documents for the Application
Documents needed for the SNAP application are different in each state. However, below are some of the required documents nationally for the said application. Your local state can also request more specific documents that they need for the application process.
1. Proof of Identification 2. Proof of U.S Citizenship 3. Proof of Residency 4. Proof of Household Monthly Gross Income 5. Proof of Medical Bills and Expenses 6. Proof of Household Expenses such as house rents 7. Proof of Disability (if the household applicants have a member with a disability) 8. Proof of Enrollment (for children applicants)
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