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SNAP Benefits: how long does it take on average to approve the application?

Making sure you have submitted all your information correctly could speed up the processing time of your application, but it could still be over a month.

Fresh fruit.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programme, which is commonly known as ‘food stamps’, is the flagship food stamp programme in the US. It supports millions of Americans nationwide and is available to many groups, including those who may not be eligible for other aspects of the welfare state.

It can take the Social Security Administration (SSA) about six weeks to process a SNAP benefits application. A major factor which affects the turnaround time of applications is making sure your application is correct; mistakes obviously make the process longer.

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What information do you need to be in order?

Some of the most important information the SSA needs are:

  • birth certificate,
  • Social Security number,
  • W-2 form,
  • tax returns if you are self-employed,

For people not born in the US, documents pertaining to your citizenship are also required.

What other requirements are there?

Eligibility for SNAP payments is based on three criteria: your household income; the household’s combined resources; and the employment situation of claimants.

Firstly, household income. The upper threshold for eligibility for food stamps is based on the number of people in the household, with a higher limit for households with more people. The maximum gross monthly income is 130% of the federal poverty level, which can be found on these Federal Poverty Guidelines Charts.

To receive SNAP payments most claimants may not exceed $2,250 in countable resources, which includes any money in bank accounts. However for households with at least one person aged 60 or older or who is disabled, that limit is upped to $3,500.

Finally the employment situation of the claimant is also taken into consideration. Recipients may not intentionally leave a job or reduce their working hours to satisfy the requirements. Claimants must be registered to work and take a job if one is offered to them.


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