SNAP benefits is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program established by the Federal Government.  The program is commonly referred to as food stamps and it is a nutrition program that aids in helping people stretch their food budget and in buying healthy food for their families. SNAP Benefits are used in purchasing food at convenience and grocery stores, co-op food programs and selected farmer’s markets. This benefit is given to the holder every month through a typical plastic debit card which is called Electronic Benefit Transfer card. EBT works similar to how a debit card works. One important thing to note is that the SNAP Benefits Program no longer uses paper coupons. This saves a lot of time during checkout at grocery stores and has greatly modernized the process of paying for groceries.

SNAP is not a welfare cash assistance program, but a nutrition program. As a federal entitlement program, all people who are eligible for SNAP can receive the benefits. It also means that no person will be removed from the benefits because another applies for it. You will continue to receive your monthly benefits for as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

Eligibility

SNAP Benefits can be used by individuals and families that meet certain resource and income guidelines. Once a person obtains SNAP Benefits, they can start using it immediately for buying nutritious food for themselves and their family. SNAP benefits are not just for the unemployed; those who are working can also qualify for SNAP benefits based on income eligibility requirements. All eligible individuals can use it for purchasing food at convenience and grocery stores and pharmacies.

All individuals and families that meet SNAP’s income guidelines are considered as eligible to apply for the benefits. The amount of funds that the eligible individual or family can receive depends on certain expenses and the income they generate.

In order to be eligible for SNAP Benefits, the applicant’s household resources and income must meet the following considerations:

  • Gross Monthly Income – This is the amount of income before deductions are made. The amount needs to be below 130% of the poverty line. The poverty line for a family with three members beginning the fiscal year of 2015 will become $1,500 per month. Hence, the 130% of the poverty line in this case is $2,144 per month amounting to $25,700 per year.
  • Net Income – This is the amount of income after deductions are made. It needs to be within or below the poverty line.
  • Assets – There are considerations that need to be met in this requirement. Households with a disabled or elderly member need to have an asset that is $3,250 or below. For those without a disabled or elderly member, their assets should fall on the amount of $2,250 or below.

Eligible Food Items

Households can use these benefits in buying foods for themselves and their family. These foods include cereals and breads, fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry and meat, dairy products and plants and seeds that can be used in producing food for the family. There are certain areas where restaurants are authorized to accept SNAP Benefits from qualified elderly, disabled or homeless people. They can use it in exchange for a low cost meal.

Beer, liquor, wine, tobacco or cigarettes and non-food items including paper products, paper, household supplies, pet foods, medicines and vitamins, hot foods and food items that require to be eaten inside the store cannot be purchased using SNAP Benefits.

 

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