Learn About Food Stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP food stamps, is a food assistance program for Americans with low incomes. This program was originally known as food stamps and was offered by the U.S. government.

Today, the program is similar in that it allows a way for eligible families to receive monthly allowances to purchase nutritious foods. However, the specific amount of funding that residents receive is based on their income and household composition.

The goal of the food stamps program is to enable Americans to feed themselves and their families despite their low incomes. 

On SNAP, most food items can be purchased. However, there are several exceptions. For instance, certain locations do not accept food stamps. 

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Monthly benefit payments are not unlimited. You will receive a certain amount each month on the same day as long as you continue to qualify. You will continue to receive monthly funding until your renewal. 

This renewal determines whether you can keep receiving SNAP. If you are deemed eligible, you will remain eligible until the next renewal.  

Learn About Food Stamp Benefits

On the food stamp program, you are able to purchase nutritious foods for you and your family. However, there are limits to what you are permitted to buy with your benefits.

For example, you cannot purchase live animals or food that is already hot, prepared and available for consumption. Moreover, you cannot buy non-food items such as medicine, tobacco and vitamins. 

Many other foods are available for purchase. They include:

  • Seeds that will produce food.
  • Fruits and vegetables that are frozen, fresh or canned. 
  • Breads.
  • Dairy products.
  • Snack foods.
  • Fish, chicken and meat.

After acceptance into SNAP, you will receive your benefits within 30 days from the day that you submitted your application. If you meet special income requirements and are determined to have no or very low income, you might be able to begin receiving food stamps sooner. 

Your benefits will come in the form of an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, otherwise known as an EBT card. It functions like a debit card at grocery stores, food marts and supermarkets where they are accepted. In some states, EBT cards are also accepted at farmer’s markets. 

You will receive a deposit to your EBT card every month on the same day. However, the specific day that you will receive will depend on the state that you live in and the system used to distribute benefits. Oftentimes, a beneficiary’s Social Security Number is used. 

In this guide, you will learn about the numerous programs that are available to you. It was crafted by our team to help better understand your options.

Over the next few days, you can expect to receive additional information in your email, so keep a lookout. In the meantime, you can review the sections below. You will find out information about low-cost service and how to obtain affordable health care. 

Basics of SNAP 

The food stamp program is available for both U.S. citizens and certain eligible non-citizens. In addition, those who meet these criteria must also meet qualifications regarding resources and income. 

Household sizes typically determine how applicants can earn in order to receive SNAP benefits. For instance, applicants with many household members can usually qualify at a higher income and receive more benefits from the program as well.

Thus, the household composition also determines the amount that petitioners can receive in funding. 

When you apply for the food stamp program, your gross income is automatically deducted from the household. Typically, 20 percent is deducted from applicants.

This percent is based on excess costs of shelter and the size of the household. These costs include rent payments, mortgage and certain utility bills. 

In addition, most recipients of food stamps are required to meet work requirements. For instance, they must be either be employed or in a part-time work program. This program must be a minimum of 20 hours per week. Although, certain beneficiaries are exempt from this requirement including:

  • Residents with disabilities.
  • Women who are pregnant. 
  • Children.
  • Elderly citizens. 

SNAP recipients who do not fit into any of the above categories must meet work requirements. However, that is only if they wish to receive food stamp benefits for longer than three months with a period of 36 months. 

About Reduced-Cost Services 

If you earn a low income, obtaining certain services at a reduced cost can decrease your total monthly expenses. For instance, you can contact your auto insurer and ask about discounts that you qualify for. 

Moreover, you can obtain a lower cable and internet bill. Many providers have affordable packages for low-income families. Through the federal program Lifeline, you may be able to reduce your internet bill if you qualify. 

Additionally, home loans are an option for low-income households. However, applicants must still meet certain income and credit score limits. Federal home loan programs can result in low or no down payment options as well. 

Learn About Low-Cost Health Care Options 

Attaining affordable health care is possible even if you do not earn a high income. Depending on your income and other qualifications, you can obtain a policy through Medicare, Medicaid or HealthCare.gov. 

Both Medicare and Medicaid are health programs funded by the federal government. Medicaid is targeted toward low-income Americans while Medicare is primarily for seniors and residents with disabilities. Applicants might qualify for Medicaid and Medicare and be considered dually eligible.

If you qualify for Medicaid, you will be able to obtain many basic health care services for free at low costs. Every state Medicaid program is mandated to offer certain basic services.

This includes laboratory services, physician visits and inpatient hospital care. Additionally, many states off optional services such as dental or vision care. 

On the other hand, Medicare is composed of several parts and recipients can choose which ones they want. Thus, they can customize their coverage options. 

Another option for obtaining affordable health insurance is by purchasing a policy through HealthCare.gov. You can receive an insurance quote by inputting personal information like your name, income and Social Security Number. You will also be able to find out if you qualify for any government health care programs.

You will be allotted a certain number of credits that you qualify for. With these credits, you will be able to obtain discounts on private health insurance premiums.