Your food worries could be quickly washed away if you started receiving SNAP benefits or food stamps. Before you make the leap to apply for such services, here are some basics.

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As you think of ways to keep your family fed, it may seem like every solution is just another obstacle. For instance, you could get a second job, but since you have kids to care for, hiring a babysitter could be more trouble than it’s worth. You could also cut back on food costs to save money, but that could mean that starvation enters the picture, which isn’t ideal for any family.

What’s another option besides working more or saving money? Getting food assistance from the government. And while there are several ways to do so, SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the best of the bunch.

Let’s take a quick look at how this program works, so you can see if it would be a good fit for your nutritional needs.

Applying for SNAP

As with most government programs, you’ll need to apply for SNAP to receive benefits. During that application process, you will have to meet specific requirements to become eligible.

Since SNAP is meant to help feed low-income families, it comes as no surprise that your income and resources are looked at before receiving any food stamps.

Gross and net income are part of this eligibility equation. In other words, your local SNAP office will first look at what income you bring in from work, pensions, etc. You can then use deductions for childcare, utilities, and more to come up with a net income

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Meeting gross and net income requirements are just part of the puzzle. Your resources, including bank accounts, extra cars, etc. will also be looked at to make sure they don’t exceed a certain level. You can also not have felony drug convictions, be an undocumented immigrant, or a college student (in most cases) to be eligible for SNAP.

All of these eligibility specifics can be found by contacting your local SNAP office, where you can also kickstart the application process.

Using SNAP Benefits

If you apply for SNAP and qualify for food stamps, you will most likely receive benefits loaded onto a card. This EBT card works just like a debit card, so any worries about whipping out actual food stamps like people used to do are erased.

Can SNAP benefits be used for everything under the sun? No, as they’re mostly meant for food and nutritional necessities.

You won’t be able to buy lotto tickets, liquor, or tobacco products with SNAP. However, you can fill up your fridge and pantry with essentials like meat, milk, eggs, bread, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and more.

Using SNAP is much easier than ever, as the program is now accepted in many stores. You can bank on your big grocery chains receiving food stamps. However, if you want to be sure where you can use your SNAP benefits so you there’s no trial and error involved, use this handy SNAP Retailer Locator. It’ll give you a map of local stores that will accept your benefits.


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