The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, ensures that low-income households have access to healthy and nutritious foods in a fight against hunger. The SNAP program provides food assistance to millions of qualifying Americans each year. To qualify for food stamps, a household must meet the following requirements:
- Citizenship and immigration status
- Income and assets
- Work-related qualifications for continued eligibility
To obtain SNAP, you must either be a U.S. citizen or a lawful non-citizen who has lived within the U.S. for at least five years, is currently receiving disability-related benefits or assistance or is younger than 18 years of age. Additionally, unless exempt, households must meet SNAP work requirements to receive food stamps for more than three months in any given three years. To meet these requirements, adult participants who are not exempt must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
SNAP is primarily an income-based program to help needy families with the cost of food. To qualify, your household’s income cannot exceed the income limits for your family size that are set each year. Income limits include both net and gross income limits with deductions made for certain household expenses, such as shelter costs. Additionally, your household cannot exceed asset limits. Countable assets include bank accounts, cash, certain vehicles.
Information About SNAP Benefits
If approved for SNAP benefits, you will receive a determination letter by mail that will include your household’s allotment. Your allotment refers to the amount of food stamps that your family will receive each month. Your benefit amount will be determined by your household’s size, household’s income, applicable expenses and the maximum benefit amount.
Benefits will be deposited automatically on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card on the same date each month. The day that benefits become available varies between state programs.
SNAP benefits can be used towards the purchase of nutritious food items. You may use your food stamps to buy food such as:
- Dairy products, including milk, cheese and yogurt.
- Frozen, canned or fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Bread and cereal products.
- Meat, poultry and fish.
- Snacks foods and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Food-producing plants and seeds.
Under no circumstances will you be able to use your EBT benefits for non-authorized purchases, including items such as:
- Liquor, beer and wine.
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products.
- Vitamins, supplements and medicines.
- “Hot food” items, such as ready-to-eat meals.
- Non-food items, including cleaning supplies, hygiene items or pet foods.
- Live animals.
To determine your continued eligibility for SNAP, you will need to complete a renewal requests on a semi-regular basis. However, you must also report any significant changes to your local SNAP office.
After having obtained our comprehensive guide, you can expect to receive a vast amount of information and resources that may be able to provide you with further assistance. Our experts have compiled this information on your behalf, which will be provided to you over the next few days. In the meantime, it essential that you keep an eye on your inbox. Furthermore, you can learn about additional resources that you may be eligible for, including discounted service and government grants for low-income households, in the sections that have been provided below.
How to Qualify for Low-Income Government Grants
Government grants are monetary awards that recipients do not generally need to repay unless the grant money is not used for its original intended purpose. While there are several government grants available to low-income households, each type of grant will have its own eligibility requirements that must be met to qualify for the grant as well as specified purposes that grant funds can be used for. Depending on their qualifications, applicants may be able to obtain a government grant such as:
- Financial aid for higher education opportunities, including the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the Pell Grant.
- Housing grants offered by the VA.
- USDA Section 504 Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation grants.
If you are a student seeking higher education, you may qualify for free financial aid based upon your financial need, academic eligibility and citizenship status. Education grants are one of the most common grants available. Not only can you receive these grants on a federal level, but you may also qualify for grant programs through your school or private scholarships.
If you are a disabled veteran with a service-connected disability, you may qualify for a grant that can be used towards the purchase of a home or the repair of a home that you already own to accommodate your disability. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides grants to qualifying disabled veterans to assist veterans in retaining their independence.
If you are a senior citizen and a homeowner, you may qualify for the USDA Section 504 Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation grant if your home requires repairs or renovations to remove a health hazard, remove a safety hazard or provide disability access. In addition to age-based qualifications, you must be considered low- or very-low-income to receive grant benefits.
Should you receive a government grant, you must use the grant for its intended purpose. Any misuse of funds could result in your grant being automatically converted to a loan.
About Discounted Services That May Be Available to You
The best way to find cheap cable and internet is by comparing the price of each provider within your area. If you already have a provider, you must review your package carefully to determine if you are paying for any additional services or if you are paying extra for one or two channels that you enjoy. A popular alternative to cheap cable TV for low income households is to cut the cord entirely and subscribe to one or two streaming services.
If searching for low income car insurance, you should begin by reviewing your current policy to ensure that you do not have more coverage than you need or any additional costly services. You can also speak with your insurance agent to determine if you qualify for any discounts. Once you know your policy is the lowest that it can be, take the time to shop around and compare your current price to those with competitors to make sure you have the best deal.
Low income home loans can be obtained through federal loan programs, including FHA, VA and USDA home loans. These loans assist low-income families in becoming homeowners by reducing mortgage eligibility requirements and reducing down payment amounts that must be provided to purchase a home.
How to Find Affordable Health Insurance Opportunities
If you need cheap health insurance, you should submit an application on the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov right away. In doing so, you will find cheap insurance quotes that are available within your area.
When purchasing a plan from the Marketplace, the price that you can expect to pay in monthly premiums will differ based upon your income and the policy that you want. Income-based tax credits are automatically applied to your insurance choices after you submit your application. However, it is important to review other fees that each health insurance policy may include, such as:
- Copayments and coinsurance.
- Out-of-pocket maximums.
Based on the information that you provide the Marketplace when completing your application, you will be notified if you or someone within your household may qualify for a state or federal health insurance program, such as Medicaid or Medicare. If you are eligible for either of these programs, the Health Insurance Marketplace will also forward your information on to your local office. Once your local office has received your information, they will attempt to contact you for further information to determine your eligibility.
Medicaid is a cheap health insurance program that is available to qualifying low-income persons at little to no cost. Coverage and eligibility requirements do differ between some state programs. However, you must generally be considered low income and be a U.S. citizen or hold a qualifying immigration status to receive coverage.
Medicare provides comprehensive health insurance to senior citizens and disabled persons. Beneficiaries of Medicare can select the “Parts” of Medicare that they would like included within their policies to choose what type of coverage they want. Medicare participants who are also eligible for Medicaid can potentially receive additional covered services and have their Medicare costs reduced or eliminated. Qualifying for both Medicare and Medicaid is known as being “Dually eligible.”