The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps
- What is the SNAP/Food Stamps Program?
- Why is the SNAP/Food Stamps program important?
- Who is eligible for the SNAP/Food Stamps Program?
- How can I find out if I am eligible?
- Where can I get more information?
SNAP/Food Stamps is run by United States Department of Agriculture and is an entitlement program which means if you meet the criteria you are entitled to the benefit. The name of the program was changed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on October 1, 2008 to reflect changes in the program including an increase in the benefit amount and a new emphasis on nutrition. The federal government pays for 100% of the benefit that goes to families and individuals and pays 50% of the states’ administrative costs to run the programs.
The program originally began as a surplus commodities program o encourage domestic consumption of surplus foods grown by American farmers. Today the program assures that eligible citizens and non citizens have access to food to meet their nutritional needs. The program also encourages and educates about good nutrition for children and adults.
Why is the SNAP/Food Stamps program important?
For families who have a person with a disability living at home and for individuals with disabilities who live in the community, food stamps can be another resource to make independent living financially possible along with housing assistance, disability benefits, work income, and medical assistance.
Eligibility is determined by household size, income with deductions that are spelled out for housing, utilities, medical care, and dependent child care and resources. Non citizens who are legal residents, who have been in the United States for 5 years, who have children under 18 years old or individuals who receive disability benefits are eligible.
There is a pre-screening on line tool that you can do to see if you might meet eligibility criteria. Most states have an on line application that will tell you the amount for which you are eligible. Benefit amounts will vary with household size and income. Net income(after allowed deductions) is calculated and has to be at 100% of poverty level or below. For an individual in 2011, the poverty level is $903 a month, for 2 people it is $1,215, for 3 people it is $1,526 and so on.
Here are links to helpful websites on applying for food stamps:
- General Information
- Information for applicants about SNAP/Food Stamps, eligibility, how much you might receive, rights as a recipient
- Pre-screening eligibility tool
- Outreach and assistance to locate local office to apply
- Information to apply online
State Specific Information:
- Arkansas (PDF)
- District of Columbia
- Georgia (PDF)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia