Americans are no doubt experiencing the economic crisis below the belt. Due to the recession and that, many are being laid-off from their only means of income; they cannot avoid being dependent on the government’s aid and food stamps. The so-called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a food stamp program by the federal government that has been assisting populous non-income and low-income individuals and households for many years. At first, it started in the form of coupons or stamps with color-coded denominations from $1, $5 to $10 worth, which are used to purchase food items. However, the food stamps were over-hauled and it became a plastic card or debit card. Now, the SNAP or food stamps program has evolved and it extended more Americans yearly, approximately 44 Million of the population on May of 2011 and serving each person with $133.12.
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Who is eligible for SNAP?
In general, any individual or members of a household who have no income and resources are eligible for the food stamps program. No means of income and resources includes those such as vehicles, financial accounts and other properties, but it does not include resources like house and land and people receiving retirement plans or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or anyone aided by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). On the other hand, vehicles are classified and can be counted as part of the resources depending on how said vehicle is used. Household applicants, who are not employed or are employed, yet low-salary earners, the part-timers, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless are much qualified for the food stamps program. For income earners, in order to be eligible for food stamps, they have to reach certain income boundary. Of course, several items do not count as income based, hence they can be taken away from your income.
It is different when the household has members who have disabilities and elderly ages 60 above. The income boundary varies based on the size of the household and may modify yearly. However, applying for SNAP would not be that easy unless you meet certain requirements. The applicant must have applied or have a Social Security Number and that he/she must be a citizen, national or qualified alien of the United States. If you are interested to apply and not sure whether you are qualified or not with the program, an online pre-screening test is available and can be easily accessed anytime. Further, you can always visit a local SNAP office or in case, you have been receiving payments from your SSI or have applied for the same, an application for the food stamps program can be filled out in said office and they will just forward the application for you to the SNAP office. If you considered yourself as eligible for the program, make sure to prepare the documents necessary for the application such as proof of identity or any valid identification card, proof of income, proof of expenses like utilities, child or elderly care, rental payments, records of medical bills and the like. Indeed, food stamps program is a beneficial assistance for households in America.