SNAP FAQs: 8 Things You Need to Know

Top 8 Things EVERYONE Should Know About SNAP

( – If you’ve found it hard to eat due to lack of funds, you’re one of millions of Americans facing nutritional deficits and food insecurity. Instead of skipping meals or enduring stress related to where your next meal might come from, it’s time to learn more about the United States Department of Agriculture’s Snupplemental Nutritional Asisstance Program (SNAP). The purpose of SNAP is to stamp out hunger across the nation and provide individuals and families with healthy food selections.

Here are 8 things you should know about SNAP if you are facing hunger this season.

SNAP Fact 1: SNAP is Food Stamps

Yes, SNAP and food stamps are one and the same. You can get SNAP from the state, and there are some criteria you have to qualify for before getting approved. Specifically, you need to meet minimum federal income requirements as the program is specifically for low-income individuals struggling with food insecurity. About a third of SNAP recipients are disabled and/or older citizens, while the remainder are families in need, usually including children.

SNAP Fact 2: Low-Income? You May Qualify

Every state has a different requirement for SNAP eligibility, so you have to check at the state level. However, there are also federal guidelines for SNAP. To qualify, you need to make 130% or less of the federal poverty line. You’ll also need to have $3,750 or less in assets if you have a family member who is older or disabled, or $2,500 or less otherwise. This includes some college students in work-study programs employed at at least 20 hours per week.

SNAP Fact 3: Average SNAP Benefit Amount

The average SNAP benefit amount is $239 per month, but it depends greatly upon where you live, cost of living, and whether you have children in school. Savings, household bills and utilities, and income are also huge determinants. A five person household may receive up to $748 per month.

SNAP Fact 4: The Goods You Can Get

What can you get with SNAP benefits? SNAP benefits generally cover food items that are not hot at purchase. Frozen meals, plants, seeds, frozen meat, bread, pasta, snacks, and more are all on the menu. SNA{ recipients can’t purchase tobacco, alcohol,live animals, vitamins, pet food, supplements, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, hygiene products, paper products, or medicine with their SNAP benefits.

SNAP Fact 5: SNAP Isn’t Taxed

Stores are typically not permitted to charge taxes on any SNAP purchases. The exception occurs when the listed food item price already has taxes included and it’s not separated as a line item during the checkout procedure.

SNAP Fact 6: You Get an EBT Card

If you’re awarded SNAP benefits, you’ll get an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which is similar to a debit card in function. Whenever you’re eligible for a benefits refill, the card will get reloaded. You can use the card at warehouse stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and grocery stores — check signs or ask if you’re in doubt of eligibility regarding your benefits use in a particular store.

SNAP Fact 7: You Can Get Benefits In As Little As 30 Days

The application process requires a lot of information including proof of identification and citizenship/ residency, as well as income and expenses. However, you should have a decision (and hopefully funding) within a month. If your case is one of extreme poverty, you may also receive retroactive benefits.

SNAP Fact 8: SNAP Benefits Last Six Months, But You Can Requalify

Most times, benefits last for about half a year until you have to qualify for them again. In most states, that can happen online, and is much simpler than your initial qualification. The idea is to provide recipients with the help they need to get back on their feet.

If you think you can qualify for SNAP, you should give it a try. Food insecurity is not something any person or family should have to live with. Get access to the food you need in as little as 30 days via your nearest state agency.

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