(NationRise.com) – Are you ready for the ultimate guide to SNAP benefits? Learn how to maximize your benefits, understand what SNAP really is, whether you may qualify, which agency funds it, and how to apply for SNAP benefits.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is funded federally by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Department. The goal of the program is to aid low income families and individuals by supplementing their grocery bills every month. This program helps recipients get more healthy food while they strive for self-sufficiency, as opposed to less expensive, less nutrient-dense food options.
All About SNAP
SNAP is the newer term for the food stamp program, or food stamps. Each state handles the application process for SNAP benefits, even though the USDA funds the program. The state agency takes several factors about you (and your family, if applicable) into account when you apply for the benefits. Your income and assets as well as family size and citizenship status are factors used to determine your eligibility.
How Much Does SNAP Provide?
SNAP benefits come in a range based upon the aforementioned factors, but the average SNAP benefit comes out to $239 per month. The location, child care status, size of family, household bills, income, assets, and other factors determine how much money each person receives.
How Long After Applying Before You Can Get SNAP Benefits?
In many states, you and your family can apply to get SNAP benefits online. Once you complete that application, you’ll undergo a phone interview which helps determine your qualifications and benefit amount. Following that step, it takes about a month for the process to complete, and then you’ll get your card.
If you have little or no income available, you can go through an expedited process and may even receive retroactive benefits.
Once You Get SNAP, How Do You Use the Benefits?
You’ll receive a SNAP card in the mail, which is also called an electronic benefits transfer or EBT card. This functions just like a debit card and can only be used in certain locations. To use it, you’ll have to assign a pin number for security.
The EBT card is reloaded monthly with your benefit amount. Don’t forget to verify that a store takes SNAP benefits before shopping there — not all of them do.
What Items Can You Buy With SNAP Benefits?
You can purchase food sold at the grocery store as long as it’s not “prepared.” Prepared foods include food meant to be eaten in a food court or deli meals. You also can’t spend your benefit on alcohol or pet food, paper items, cleaning products, or toiletries.
How Long Do SNAP Benefits Continue?
When you qualify for SNAP, you get the same amount on your card each month for six months. At that time, the agency contacts you to review your case, and if you continue to qualify for the benefits, they continue. Your benefit amount could change based upon changes in your income.
How Do Taxes and SNAP Work?
Products with taxes attached don’t change if you’re using SNAP benefits. However, some states don’t tax groceries at all. In those states, you can maximize your SNAP benefits.
Can You Get SNAP Benefits If You’re In College?
Some college students can qualify for SNAP. To do so, they have to be considered a part-time student and meet other financial requirements. You may need to work 20 hours per week at minimum if you don’t have kids, or you may need to be in your college’s work-study program.
Are you ready to apply for SNAP benefits? For more information, or to apply today, head to Benefits.gov.
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