Putting Food on the Table with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Fill a Pantry FAST With This Guide To The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

(NewsReady.com) – Many Americans find themselves increasingly struggling to keep food on the table. The rising cost of food, combined with increasing costs elsewhere–including rent, gas, and utilities–has made it increasingly challenging for families to get the resources they need.

The SNAP program makes it easier for Americans to access the nutritional support they need.

What is the SNAP Program?

The SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a program offered by the US Department of Agriculture that helps provide food assistance to families who meet certain income requirements. Through the SNAP program, eligible families will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, or EBT card. Each month, benefits will be loaded onto the card that those families can then use to get groceries. Monthly benefits usually depend on household size.

  • 1 person household: $250 max per month
  • 2 person household: $459 max per month
  • 3 person household: $658 max per month
  • 4 person household: $835 max per month
  • 5 person household: $992 max per month
  • 6 person household: $1,190 max per month
  • 7 person household: $1,316 max per month
  • 8 person household: $1,504 max per month

If you have more than 8 family members in your household, you can obtain benefits of up to $188 per month per additional family member.

Who is Eligible for SNAP Benefits?

Eligibility for SNAP may depend on household size and overall income. Specific eligibility requirements will vary per state, so you may need to reach out to your state agency in order to check eligibility and apply. Some individuals, including some categories of immigrants and college students, may be ineligible for SNAP benefits in some states. Furthermore, in order to qualify for SNAP benefits, if you are eligible to work, you may need to avoid voluntarily reducing your hours or quitting a job while using those benefits.

What Can You Use SNAP Benefits For?

SNAP benefits can only be used for qualifying groceries. That includes most of the things you likely buy at the store on a regular basis, including bread, dairy, cereal, fruits and vegetables, meats, and snack foods. However, there are several things you cannot use SNAP benefits to cover, including alcoholic beverages, supplements, vitamins, and any non-food items like paper towels or diapers. In some cases, you may also not be able to use SNAP benefits to cover some types of pre-prepared foods, such as those purchased in a restaurant. You should always review those benefits fully so that you know what is and is not covered as you plan your shopping trips.

You may also have to make sure that a store accepts EBT payments before planning to use those benefits to cover the cost of your groceries. Not all stores allow EBT payments.

How to Apply for SNAP

You will need to apply for SNAP benefits through your state government’s website, since benefits and requirements may vary by state. Make sure you provide all relevant information. You can expect to issue:

  • Proof of income
  • Proof of household members, including names and social security numbers
  • Any information about relevant immigrant status
  • Proof of employment status

Households with children, elderly family members, or disabled family members may also need to meet specific requirements, and may need to provide evidence that they meet those requirements.

SNAP benefits can help alleviate the high cost of food for many families. However, far too many families do not realize that they may be eligible for assistance. If you believe you or your family might qualify, check your state’s website today to learn more about SNAP benefits and how they can benefit you.

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