Food stamps allow low-income people to buy food.
As of October 2008, the US Food Stamp Program is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Food stamps, or SNAP benefits as they are sometimes called, help low-income families put nutritious, healthy food on the table. While local state agencies administer and process individual applications and oversee the distribution of food stamp benefits, eligibility standards are set at the federal level. Food stamp qualifications include a household asset limit, two household income standards, work requirements for certain able-bodied applicants, and legal US residential status.
Food stamps are only available to those who meet certain income qualifications.
To participate in SNAP, applicants must submit an account of family assets. Accountable asset resources include cash, bank accounts, stocks and bonds. Asset qualifications for food stamps are subject to certain exemptions, including the value of a home and lot and, in some cases, the value of domestic vehicles. For SNAP eligibility, total bookable assets cannot exceed $2,000 US Dollars (USD) in total, or $3,000 US Dollars if a family member is 60 years of age or older.
People in poverty with children generally receive more in food stamps.
Income qualifications for food stamps include two related measures for most households. First, a family’s gross monthly income must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Second, a family’s net monthly income must be at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. There are several allowable income deductions, including two standard deductions applicable to most families and other deductions for certain medical expenses and child support payments. The federal poverty guidelines work on a sliding scale according to the size of the family in question.
Food stamps are often used by single parents.
In most cases, eligible adults without dependents between the ages of 18 and 50 must be employed or participate in a formal employment training program to maintain food stamp benefits for more than three months in a 36-month period. Before food stamp benefits are distributed, potential recipients must meet locally instituted training and work registration requirements. For example, in Massachusetts, SNAP non-exempt applicants must apply to a SNAP Food Stamp Work Program to receive benefits. Certain people are exempt from the work obligation, including the elderly and those who have children under the age of 6.
The SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) helps provide nutritious food to children in need.
The last of the main food stamp qualifications deals with the applicant’s US residential status. Any US citizen who meets the above requirements and has a social security number is eligible for food stamp benefits. A limited number of non-citizens are also eligible for benefits, including those born in U.S. territories such as American Samoa, certain members of American Indian tribes, and members of certain Hmong and Highland Laotian tribes who legally live in the U.S. granting asylum or refugee status in the US may be eligible for SNAP benefits. Other qualified foreigners may also be eligible.