Food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) s it is now called, can help you get the food you need for your family. If you are on a very limited income or unable to work for disability reasons, you can get access to healthy food with food stamp benefits. However not everyone qualifies for it and you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements.
Read the Eligibility Requirements
The first step to determining your eligibility for food stamps is visiting your local Department of Health and Human Services office, call them, or visit their website. Each state has slightly different requirements for eligibility, citizenship, and application instructions. They will provide you with requirements for eligibility such as being a US citizen or legal non-citizen, meeting certain income requirements compared to how many people are in your family, having a disability or other reason you can’t work, and providing certain documentation to prove what you put on your application.
Gather the Required Documentation
Next you will need to get the required documentation. For each area of eligibility such as income or family size, you will need to provide documentation to verify it. This also helps you determine whether or not you will be eligible. Start with your recent pay stubs or tax returns. You will need to show your income for the last 4 weeks but it helps to back a little further than that. Calculate how much total income you get each month, including from employment or other benefits like social security or disability benefits.
Add Up Your Expenses
Not only will the Department of Health and Human Services office use your income as a basis for eligibility, but they will also take your expenses into consideration. This includes rent or mortgage, utilities, medical expenses, child or adult care expenses, and other expenses you have each month. They will use your required expenses like child care while you work; but not optional expenses such as cable or Internet bills.
Calculate Your Eligibility
Now that you have the basic information ready, you can use an online calculator to determine whether or not you are eligible. Go to your state’s Department of Health and Human Services website and find their SNAP page about food stamps. They will provide you with criteria you need to meet and a calculator that lets you enter your income and expenses and let you know if you’re eligible, and how much you will get each month for food. You can fill out the application or food stamps under the SNAP program either online, by phone, by fax, by mail, or in person.