Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - formerly known as the Food Stamp Program - provides low-income individuals and families with food benefits until they are able to become self-sufficient.

The purpose of SNAP is to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. The program is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food & Nutrition Service. SNAP helps low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Recipients spend their benefits (in the form of paper coupons or electronic benefits on debit cards) to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores.

Eligibilty – To receive benefits a household must meet certain eligibility standards. A few of them are:

  • Income and Resources – Households must meet income and resource standards .
  • Work Requirements – With some exceptions, able-bodied adults between 16 and 60 must register for work, take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by the assistance office, and accept or continue suitable employment. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the program.
  • Non-Citizens – Certain non-citizens such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence are also eligible for the program. Eligible household members can get assistance even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible.
The USDA provides eligibility guidelines that you can use to determine if you might be eligible for nutrition assistance.

Benefit Amount – The amount of benefits an eligible household receives depends on the number of people in the household and the amount of income the household has. For example, a household of three people with no income can receive up to $526 a month in benefits. Households with income are expected to use about 30 percent of their own money, after certain deduction have been allowed, for food.

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