Due to the rising cost, getting food on the table is becoming very difficult today (the Coronavirus pandemic has aggravated this). Most families today struggle even to have a single meal, which is why the government has provided assistance. This happens through Food Stamps from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.
SNAP is a government program that supplements the food budget for families across the country. Now, they can purchase healthy food, which allows them to save enough money to sustain themselves in the future.
With that said, you might want to know what SNAP is all about, how to apply, what the qualifications are, the benefits, and more. That’s why we produced this article.
- What Does SNAP Offer?
- Who Is Eligible to Receive SNAP Benefits?
- What Do You Get Once You’re Approved?
- Keeping Your Family from Getting Hungry
- Improve Your Family by Eating Healthier Food Choices
What Does SNAP Offer?
SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a US government program where it provides important nutritional support for low-income families as well as those who are living with disabilities that cannot go to work.
Older adults with fixed incomes and many other low-income households can take advantage of this program through the application.
The program aims to assist families who need to put food on the table, thus allowing them to reallocate their budget anywhere else to improve their quality of life.
The federal government has granted this program throughout all the states in the mainland USA.
What Are the Things That You Can and Cannot Buy with SNAP?
There are a lot of things that you can purchase through SNAP. Most of the food benefits are put on a Lone Star card that you can use to purchase food items for you and your family.
While you can choose from a wide selection of food using the card, there are still many items that are not covered by the program. Tobacco, alcoholic drinks and food bills that you owe are not eligible through this program.
You may have to pay for them with your own money. Everything else is on the table and can be bought using the card. Ensure you also check the list of eligible food items, as it may vary from time to time.
Who Is Eligible to Receive SNAP Benefits?
SNAP might be open for everyone, but the program will only be eligible for certain groups of people. The program is available for low-income households, so the government will have to assess them and their financial capabilities first.
After the assessment, the program will provide SNAP benefits tailored to their financial capabilities. While many might want to sign up for the program, there are a lot of qualifications before you can receive the benefits.
To qualify, you should have a gross income at or below $2,379 for a three-person household, and your net income should be below or around $1,830 a month after deductions like housing and child care are done.
Lastly, your assets must be below $2,500 a month for a household with an elderly or a disabled individual or $3,750 a month for those living with an elderly or disabled individual.
How Do You Apply for SNAP?
You can apply for the benefits if you are eligible for the program. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding the application process and eligibility. You should try to contact them first before applying.
Once you are ready, you can either call or send an email for the application. Applicants will also need to provide numerous documents and disclose information such as income, identity, immigration status, household composition, and other deductible expenses that they may incur.
Make sure you have already prepared all of this information and documents so that the application process runs fast and smoothly.
What Do You Get Once You’re Approved?
It might take time before you get approved, so it is best to wait patiently. For some, it can be days after your application, while others can take more.
Once determined that you are eligible, you will be sent an electronic benefits card that you can then use to purchase food items at more than 254,000 retail stores all over the country.
In the past few years, most of the benefits were redeemed at supermarkets and food stores, allowing them to purchase food and grocery items. Families must continue to report their monthly income if it begins to increase.
Many households are also encouraged to reapply for the program after six months or a year after they were initially approved.
Changes to SNAP during the Pandemic
Previously called the Food Stamp Program, SNAP is a very versatile program from the US government. It continues to change depending on the country’s current situation and its citizens.
The worldwide pandemic has disrupted many government programs, and SNAP is just one of them. Fortunately, SNAP has also changed as the pandemic has caused a global problem with income and food.
Many of these changes include the application process as well as the approval time for those who applied. It has become much easier for households to apply for SNAP benefits, so take advantage of this if you think you are qualified.
Keeping Your Family from Getting Hungry
During a crisis like the recent pandemic, most families have lost their work and source of income which prevents them from getting the food that they need.
This program aims to protect your family from getting hungry. Anyone eligible for the program will be provided with resources, especially during economic hardships.
As the economy grows and more people earn a stable income, the program also assesses these households so they can accommodate other families in need.
The program’s main objective is to assist and provide temporary food sources for those affected by the financial crisis.
Helping the Economy Bounce Back
SNAP is one of the best ways to help the economy recover from its brutal loss in the past few years. You might think, how does a government program that assists low-income households help the economy bounce back?
Households members of the program usually have a stable income but are simply brought down by financial hardships. By offering them a helping hand to get them back up, these households can get back on their feet and continue their role in the country through employment and other contributions like taxes.
The taxes you pay to the government will help the economy recover. SNAP is an effective method to solve an economic issue.
Improve Your Family by Eating Healthier Food Choices
Apart from the financial assistance, one of the objectives and benefits of SNAP, is the availability of healthy food sources. Many low-income families do not have access to healthy food which can lead to health problems later on.
If the household members are not healthy enough to work, they won’t be able to rise above their current situation. Many of the food purchased through this program can be prepared at home.
SNAP also has nutrition education programs that help families identify healthier food options to purchase.
This is why SNAP only offers healthy food options for those who are eligible thus paving the way for them to get back on their feet in a healthy manner.
Supporting Families That Take Good Care of the Elderlies and the Disabled
Millions of people in the US are living on a minimum wage. There are a lot of factors that prevent them from earning a higher income. Some of them live with an elderly while others have a disabled person.
These individuals need primary care, which can affect the family’s income. Many households eligible for the program often have members belonging to the elderly or disabled. Having such a member can take a toll on the income and food of the entire family.
This is why many households of such nature are encouraged to apply to help them financially. Millions of people in the US take care of the disabled and elderly, and now it is time for the government to take care of the caregivers that have spent their money, time, and effort on caring for them.
SNAP has been proven to be an effective way to help households recover from a financial disaster brought upon by external factors such as the recent pandemic and many other factors.
The program aims to uplift the people of each state to become functioning members of society, thus helping the country sustain itself and grow. Check SNAP’s official website today if you wish to apply.