The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known previously and commonly as The Food Stamps Program provides low-income individuals and families across the United States with meal assistance. The United States Department of Agriculture, under The Food and Nutrition Service, operates this federal program. More than 9 million families with children are on SNAP. It is the largest program combating hunger in the United States. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
The amount of SNAP benefit a family is eligible to receive is determined by the size, expenses, and income of each. Single moms can take advantage of this program to meet up with their nutritional needs. A host of goods are made available to beneficiaries of the food stamp program. Goods like dairy products, bread, and cereals, fruits, and vegetables could be obtained.
Food Stamps (SNAP) Qualifications, Eligibility and Requirements
There are several requirements before application for SNAP can be made. Most state agencies have their requirements to determine if you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. All requirements must be met before help is provided. Some of the general conditions in most states have been listed below.
- Income Requirements
Income level of families is a significant factor that determines whether or not they qualify for assistance. Generally, families may be eligible for benefits if their gross income is 130% below the federal poverty level. An individual’s gross income is the amount He or She makes before any form of deductions is made, e.g., taxes, levies, insurance etc.
- Resources Requirement
Resources at the disposal of a family is a requirement for SNAP eligibility. Families may have up to a certain amount in the bank and other countable sources before they are deemed fit to receive support.
- Work Requirements
Certain work requirements will be reviewed before you can receive SNAP benefits. There are two categories under this, and applicants must satisfy the requirement of both.
The General Work Requirements means that if you are between the ages of 16-59 and able to work, you must fulfill some work requirements to receive benefits. This includes registering for work, participating in SNAP Employment and Training, and many more. There are certain exemptions to this rule.
The Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) Work Requirement and Time Limit could allow for you to receive SNAP for more than three months in three years.
Get full details about the work requirements for SNAP at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/work-requirements
- Housing Expenses
Rising housing costs could mean that funds meant for food may have been used to cover housing expenses such as rent, maintenance, and bills. Usually, the amount spent on rent should not exceed more than 30% of the total household income. That is sadly not the case among low-income families that spend more than half of their total income on rent. This eligibility criteria takes this into account and applies to families whose total expenditure on housing is more than 50% of their net income. When the adjusted figure is calculated, it is then used to determine if the family qualifies for SNAP.
Find out if you are eligible for SNAP at https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/recipient/eligibility
How to Apply for Food Stamps as a Single Mother
To begin your SNAP application, visit your local SNAP office. Applicants for SNAP benefits must first fill out a form and return it to the SNAP center. Find the office closest to you by visiting https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/snap-application-and-local-office-locators.
Most states allow for applications to be made online. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory is a directory that shows various how to apply for food stamps in multiple states.
You should use the Food and Nutrition Service (SNAP) Screening Tool to check if you qualify for SNAP before starting your application. For those that require immediate assistance, Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273).
Food Items Under SNAP
Eligible families can get a wide range of food items to cover their needs. Food Stamps can mainly be used for purchasing highly nutritious food. Depending on nutritional requirement, families may be eligible to receive:-
- Fruits and vegetables;
- Meat, poultry, and fish;
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese
- Bread and cereals
- Other food items, such as snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Examples include tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc.
- Seeds and plants, which can produce the food that the family can eat.
Items like alcohol, tobacco products or nonfood items like groceries and medicines cannot be bought using SNAP.
SNAP and EBT
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) distributes its assistance program through the use of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card. This EBT card has the semblance of a debit or debit card. Every month, SNAP benefits are loaded on the EBT card account of families. They may then use EBT to purchase food at participating stores.
The EBT card is easy to use and efficient. For those who want to check their EBT card balance, some states have websites which you can use to manage your benefits https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-ebt-websites . For states that do not have, you can contact your local SNAP center to check your benefits https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/state-directory.