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  • Writer's pictureNick T.

5 Things You Should Know About SNAP

Updated: Oct 4, 2023



What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal assistance program in the United States. The goal of SNAP is to provide low-income individuals and families with funds to purchase food. SNAP is a critical safety net program aimed at combatting hunger and promoting nutritional diets.



Eligibility

In order to be considered eligible for SNAP benefits, you must be classified as low income. Your household’s gross monthly income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line. The poverty line varies depending on the size of your family. Additionally, your net assets must fall within a certain range. For households with a disabled member, or a member older than 59, assets may not exceed $4250. In all other cases, assets must not exceed $2495. Different states may have slightly different criteria, so make sure to research your state’s specific requirements.


Disqualifying Factors

Certain circumstances will prevent or limit your participation in SNAP, even if you meet all income criteria. For example, individuals on strike, individuals without documented immigration status, and some college students are considered ineligible. Unemployed adults under the age of 49 who are not disabled are limited to three months of SNAP benefits per three years. Exemptions to this rule include pregnant individuals and individuals who live with their children in the same household. This three-month limit was suspended due to Covid-19, but it has since been reenacted.


Application Process

In most states, you can apply for SNAP benefits online. The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service’s website can help you determine if your state accepts online applications. Otherwise, you’ll need to mail in an application. You can print the document or acquire one from your local SNAP agency. Once you're approved, you will be certified to receive assistance for a predetermined time window. When that window is up, you’ll need to reapply in order to keep collecting benefits. SNAP recipients are expected to report any changes in income throughout their certification period.


Benefits

The value of your SNAP benefits will vary depending on the size of your household and your location. If you are qualified, you will receive your benefits in the form of an EBT card. Your card can be used to purchase items at participating grocery stores, superstores, and convenience stores. If you need a good credit card, this site can help you get approved, even with poor credit. Benefits can be used on most food items. You may also redeem your SNAP benefits for plants or seeds if you intend to grow your own crops. Some food items are not covered by SNAP. These include alcohol, hot food items, food from restaurants, and vitamins.

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