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What requirements do I need to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides financial support for households struggling to pay for food and other nutritional essentials.

Oliver Povey
Update:
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering a boosted food stamp payment for families in 2022, but not all states have opted to take advantage.
ROBYN BECKAFP

Low-income individuals and households can receive support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is commonly known as ‘food stamps’.

The program is funded by the federal government but is administered by the individual states, who typically work with local agencies and charities to offer additional education and training to recipients.

But while SNAP is organised on a state level, the eligibility requirements are the same throughout the country.

In related news: $2,753 monthly check in USA: who gets it and when will it arrive?

Who is eligible for SNAP payments?

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.

For help, there is an eligibility checker on the benefits.gov website. By submitting some of your information you are able to assess online whether you would qualify for SNAP support.

Are there any exceptions to the SNAP payment requirements?

These requirements are the general guidelines for the majority of potential recipients but there are some exceptions for certain groups. If the claimant is elderly, disabled, pregnant or younger than 18 then they may not have to satisfy the employment requirements.

The support on offer is not necessarily limited to American citizens and some groups who are legally admitted into the country can also claim.

The federal Food Stamps help page lists the following as non-citizens eligible for food stamps: “Parolees, deportation withhold status, conditional entrants, Cuban or Haitian entrants, battered non-citizens, refugees, trafficking victims, Iraqi or Afghan special immigrants, Hmong or Highland Laotian tribal members, or certain American Indians born abroad.”

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