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How to apply for food stamps in the US

Food stamps, more precisely called benefits of the Supplemental Food Aid Program (SNAP), are available to US citizens and citizens who meet certain requirements and take the time to apply at the local US office.

Фото: Depositphotos

Фото: Depositphotos

This additional aid was once issued in the form of paper stamps - hence the phrase “food stamps”, but nowadays most states issue it in the form of a plastic debit card. If you think you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, keep reading to see if this is the case.

Standard law



1. A valid social security number will be required. You and everyone in your family should have a valid social security number if you are applying for your family.

  • On an additional note, you and everyone in your family must also be US citizens or residents.
  • If you are a legal foreigner, you can also qualify as long as certain conditions still apply. See the “Special Cases” section for more information.

2. Determine the value of your counting resources. An applied family will not have more than $ 2 000 counting resources. If the 1 person in the family is incapacitated, or at least 60 years old, then you can have up to $ 3 250 counting resources.

  • Some resources are uncountable. These include homes, land and most retirement plans. Resources of people receiving Additional Social Income, or those who receive assistance under the program for families in need, are not counted.
  • Your car may or may not count as a resource, depending on the state in which you live. When a car is posted, the market value (“blue book value”) of the vehicle is used. Currently 39 states have eliminated the value of vehicles entirely, 11 states have eliminated the value of at least one vehicle in a household, and 3 states are charging an amount higher than the standard SNAP assigned auto, set at $ 4 of current market value to determine what significant part of the cost is taken into account.

3. Make sure your total monthly income is low enough. Gross income is the amount of money you earn before SNAP deductions apply. You must be at or below 130% of the poverty line to qualify in most cases.

4. Calculate if your net income is low enough. Your net income refers to the amount of money you receive after SNAP deductions are applied. This amount must be at or below the poverty line.

5. Register as a worker or student. In most cases, every able-bodied person in a household between the ages of 16 and 60 must be registered as a full-time or part-time employee or student in order for your family to qualify.

  • If you are 18 to 50 years old and have no children, you can get benefits for the 3 month in the 36 month period if you are not working or not participating in community service / employment / training program outside of the standard job search.
  • You must register as a worker, get a suitable job and participate in the employment / training program if you are able-bodied and are between the ages of 16 and 60.

Deductions and benefit estimates

Фото: Depositphotos

Фото: Depositphotos

1. Know what deductions you may claim. Certain conditions that could put a strain on your financial situation can be deducted or deducted from your total income. Each deduction has its own value, so you must know this value before taking this deduction.

  • You can deduct 20% of earned income.
  • Subtract a standard $ 149 deduction if your family has 1 to 3 people, or a standard deduction of $ 160 if your family has 4 and more.
  • You can post a care deduction when needed — for work, training, or education. This value can vary from state to state.
  • Subtract medical expenses for the elderly or disabled if they are more than $ 35 per month and are not covered by someone else.
  • Subtract legally owed alimony.
  • Check with your staff if you have a homeless household. You could deduct $ 143 for housing costs.
  • Subtract the extra housing costs, which account for more than half of the family’s income after other expenses are taken into account.

2. Subtract deductions from your total income. After you have deducted your deductions, the value that remains will be your net income. As mentioned earlier, your net income must be at or below the poverty line for you to qualify for the program.

  • See Standard Compliance to determine if your net income is within the appropriate range of values.

3. Calculate your estimated expenses for food. Regardless of how much you earn, it is assumed that you must spend 30% of the family's net profit on food.

  • Round the value to the nearest integer.

4. Determine the percentage of your monthly benefit. Subtract 30% of your net income from maximizing family benefits with your number of people to determine your SNAP share for each month.

Special cases

Фото: Depositphotos

Фото: Depositphotos

  1. Please note if there are older people in your family. Elderly is considered a person from 60 years and older. If he is part of your family, there are a few exceptions to apply.
  • If you are the head of the family and cannot apply because of age or disability, you can appoint your authorized representative in writing to apply and have an interview on your behalf.
  • Older people from federally subsidized housing for the elderly may also claim benefits, even if the property provides food; the same applies to persons with disabilities living in non-profit group housing facilities with no more than 16 residents.
  • Your resources can be no more than $ 3 250.
  • Your family should go through a net income check instead of a gross and net income check.

2. Also note if your family has any disabilities. If there are members of your family who are legally incompetent, the same exceptions that apply to older members apply to this situation. A person is considered disabled if he or she:

  • Receives federal disability or blindness benefits in accordance with the Social Security Act (including SSI or Social Security / Disability Blindness).
  • Receives government disability or blindness payments based on SSI restrictions.
  • Receives a disability pension from a public institution due to permanent disability.
  • Receives an annuity in accordance with the Railway Retirement Act and the right to medical care, or for other reasons is considered disabled by SSI restrictions.
  • Is a veteran who is completely incapacitated, must be constantly at home, or who needs regular assistance / visits
  • Is a living spouse or child of a veteran receiving VA and disability benefits.

3. If you have a foreigner in the family. Even if there is a member of your family who is not a citizen or resident of the USA, your family can still qualify for a SNAP (food stamp) if he / she is a legal foreigner and meets any of the following conditions:

  • He / she is a child under 18 years.
  • He / she is blind or disabled and receives disability or payment assistance.
  • He / she was born no later than 22 in August 1931, and already legally resided in the US in August 22 in 1996 in the USA.
  • He / she is a legal resident and US military.
  • He / she is a refugee recognized in Section 207 of the Immigration and Citizenship Act (INA).
  • He / she found political asylum in the United States in accordance with section 208 of the Immigration Act.
  • He / she has the deportation and expulsion referred to in section 243 (H) or 241 (b) (3) of the Immigration Act.
  • He / she is a Cuban or Haitian participant in accordance with section 501 (e) of the Education Assistance Act for refugees 1980.
  • He / she is a US-Asian immigrant, in accordance with section 584 of the Law on the allocation of foreign enterprises, export financing and related programs in the 1988 year.
  • He / she is a member of the Hmong or Laotian Highland tribe who helped the American military during the Vietnam era.
  • He / she is a Native American Indian born in Canada.
  • He / she is a member of an Indian tribe under section 4 (e) of Indian self-determination and the Education Assistance Act (25 USC 450b (e)).
  • Conditionally released LPRs that are conditionally released for at least one year, conditional applicants and beaten spouses and children can qualify if they have lived in the US for 5 years and have 40 work credits.

For more help in determining your eligibility, take a preliminary online test of the USDA complaint. This tool will help you determine if you are eligible for food stamps based on the information you enter. The tool can be found at:

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