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Food Stamps

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Food stamps are a federal benefit offered to low income families and those that need assistance getting healthy food for their family. The program has officially changed their name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) though it commonly referred to as food stamps.

Determine your Eligibility

Before applying for food stamps, or SNAP as they are now called, you need to meet certain qualifications. First of all, if you are between 18 and 60 and are able-bodied, you will need to register to work in order to receive food stamps. Eligibility depends on your citizenship or alien status, family size, age, income status, and whether or not you have a social security card. If you are not a US citizen, you can expect a waiting period, however the following eligibility criteria do not require a waiting period: Under 18 years old, Blind or disabled immigrant with disability benefits,  Anyone born on or before 1931 or after 1996, A refugee or asylee admitted under section 207 or 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Fill Out an Application

Most states give you five options for applying for food stamps; online, in person, by mail, by phone, or by fax. The application for each method will be the same, though applying in person or online can get you an interview more quickly. Contact your local health and human services office to find out how, when and where to obtain an application for food stamps. Fill out the application in full and truthfully as you will be asked to provide documentation providing your household size, address, citizen status, and income.

Schedule an Interview

After receiving and processing your application, a caseworker from the health and human services office in your area will contact you. They will schedule a date and time for an interview. This interview may be in person or by phone, though in most states they prefer to conduct the interview by phone. The caseworker is going to go over your application details, verifying the information, and might ask for more detailed information such as what your work search has been like.

Submit Documentation

You will also have 30-60 days to submit documentation that verifies the information in your application. This includes your social security number and photo identification, pay stubs or tax returns, utility bill with your name and address, and proof of your legal non-citizen status if you are not a US citizen. You can also provide other information such as your housing costs, medical expenses, and child care expenses.

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