Ways & How

Ways to Qualify for Food Stamps

Ways to Qualify for Food Stamps

In these financially challenged times, it is not rare to find families and individuals on food stamps. Thankfully, the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been helping low income families obtain food items that could have otherwise been difficult for them to get without food stamps. Through food stamps, families meet their nutritional needs. To see if you can benefit from SNAP, read on to know how to qualify for food stamps. Here’s a general checklist of requirements that you would have to meet in order to apply for food stamps.

  1. You should be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien with Social Security. A qualified alien is one who has been in the U.S. for 5 years and is a lawful permanent resident.

  2. If you are a legal immigrant born on or before August 31, 1931 and have been in the country legally since August 1996, you can qualify.

  3. According to sections 207 and 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), refugees and asylum seekers may qualify for SNAP.

    Immigrants from Cuba and Haiti are also qualified to have food stamps under section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act. For Amerasian immigrants, section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1988 states that they are qualified for food stamps.

  4. Your household income should be below the prescribed limits in order to qualify. If you belong to a family of two and your household’s total income every month before taxes does not reach $1,354, you can qualify for food stamps. If you belong to a family of three, your monthly household income should be below $1,698. A family having four members should have a total monthly income of less than $2,043 to qualify for food stamps.

  5. There is also the available resources requirement. A household should have $2,000 or lower in resources that can be counted. If a disabled or elderly (60 or older) person lives with the family, $3,000 and below in countable resources is allowed. Countable resources include cash, a bank account, and other property. However, not all property can be considered as countable resources.

  6. These are just a few of the basic things you need to know to find out if you can apply for food stamps. You can find more specific and helpful information on the USDA FNS website regarding food stamps and how to qualify and apply for them. In some cases a few of the other requirements and benefits vary from state to state, so it pays to do some research. Some websites that give information about food stamps have online questionnaires you can take in order to find out if you are qualified for food stamp benefits.

The tip here is to really know your standing in terms of finances, resources, and citizenship before going to the nearest Eligibility Services office in your area. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, don’t be ashamed of applying for government assistance. People all experience hardship at various times in their lives, and it is only right that government programs like SNAP exist to help them out. However, it is also their responsibility to determine whether they are indeed eligible for benefits and are prepared with the requirements so that their application for aid will be accepted. By knowing how to qualify for food stamps, you will make the otherwise tedious process of applying for SNAP benefits less stressful.


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