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Perhaps you've already heard about the food stamp programs. This nutritional assistance is provided to the unemployed, working, disabled or elderly, families, and children that have passed the eligibility requirements. Since the program has requirements, not everyone can avail of the benefits.
Food Stamps or SNAP
At present, the food stamps are now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Instead of issuing the conventional paper stamps, people receive a plastic card. It looks like a credit or debit card and you can only use it for buying food items. At times, you can also withdraw cash from a recognized store in your area.
Some people are ashamed to apply for food stamps but you can also find ones that are taking advantage of the system. Still, the latter is minimized because the program recipients are evaluated regularly. It is important that you comply with the requisites like attending job trainings. You should be actively seeking for a job while being covered by the program. The job training can help you a lot because you can enhance your skills. You will have a chance to get a better paying job.
Aside from having a low income, or perhaps you're unemployed there are other thing that the program looks into. The personal assets are also checked although the home and the house are exempted from the evaluation. The household should have at least $2,000 or less, or $3,000 for those with a disabled or elderly member. The application forms should be submitted in the concerned office locally or online (if the state has a website for the SNAP program).
A case worker will usually interview you after you've submitted the application form. Make sure that you attend the personal interview, but in some states, a phone interview may be enough. Comply with the needed paperwork and you will soon be in the long waiting list of potential program recipients.
The less fortunate ones still have a chance to put healthy food on their table. You shouldn't allow poverty to get in the way of giving your family their basic needs, especially food. This is where food stamps can be very useful.
What's the Program About?
What are food stamps? Basically, this is a program that is funded by the federal government to provide assistance to families. Today, it is called as SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The changed name of the program was made to enlighten the people that the food assistance is only 'supplemental'. This will correct the notion that those under the food stamps program are lazy people who are relying on the government for food.
Every person has a right to good health and this can be achieved if the poor or low income families are given SNAP benefits. Such benefits can be given to a family or individual that meets the eligibility requirements. Not everyone can avail of the program and since it is offered for a limited period, families or individuals should file for renewal. The concerned office or agency will decide if a renewal is necessary.
Duration of the Program Benefits
The program recipients are evaluated regularly and if the program thinks that the family is ready to stand on their own, the benefits can be given to other deserving families. For a household with no child, the program benefits are given for three months at the maximum for a three-year period. The adult should also work for about 20 hours each week or for the unemployed, they should attend job training programs.
There is also the emergency SNAP program benefit or otherwise known as expedited food stamps. However, the requirements are different. The monthly income should be below $150, or if the income is not enough to pay for the monthly utilities or mortgage.
EBT Card – How to Use It?
The food stamp or the SNAP program is now using the electronic balance transfer card or EBT. The magnetic strips can be found at the card's back and this is what the machine scans when you make a purchase. When you are notified that you're a program recipient, you will have to visit the concerned agency or office to decide on the PIN that you will use. The personal identification number is very important because you have to provide it every time you buy from a qualified store.
Changing the PIN is very easy and all you have to do is call the agency's telephone number. The EBT card functions like a bankcard. It will be swiped at the machine and the purchases you've made will be deducted from the balance that you still have. The PIN code only consists of four numbers and the cashier will allow you to enter it personally. You won't be charged anything when you use the card and you don't have to consume the account balance in one purchase. In fact, you can use it several times as long as it has enough money.
Making a Purchase
Every month, the money will be deposited automatically to your account. If you want to find out the existing balance, just check the receipt that you get from the store. Another way to find out is to check with the customer hotline that is designated for EBT card users. The telephone number will depend on the state where you live.
Some program recipients can get cash back using the EBT but this is only possible if you are receiving cash welfare benefits. To get the cash back, you can tell the store owner about it and the card will once again be swiped on the machine. Learn how to use the EBT card and you can buy food with ease.
Once you become a recipient of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, you will be issued an electronic balance transfer card. The card looks like a credit card and you can use it when making a purchase at a 'Quest' store in your area. Keep in mind that such card can only be used to buy food items.
The New Food Stamps
The EBT card has replaced the checks and food stamps that were usually given to the program beneficiaries. The reason why the paper stamps were replaced is because the paper can easily get torn or damaged. It is also secured and safer rather than carrying the checks or cash. The faster payment will make it easier for you to settle your purchases. It is also convenient and the card can last for a long time without getting damaged easily.
There is a need to check your transaction history and account balance before making your purchases. All you have to do is provide your user ID and password. Once you're logged in, you will know the account balance. You will also be able to monitor the purchases you've made in the past months.
Every time you make a purchase, there is a need to provide your PIN. This personal identification number should be kept a secret. The program will provide you with a PIN but if you find it hard to memorize the numbers, you can choose your own PIN. Make sure that no one else knows the number because others might use it when they get hold of your EBT card.
Keep your card in a safe place and be sure to bring it when you go out shopping. Locate the stores with the 'Quest' mark and you can look around the store. The storeowner knows the items that are excluded by the program, so just stick with food items.
Food Stamp Benefits
Are you finding it hard to provide food on the table? This is not good for you and your family. It will make children unhappy and can even lead to malnutrition. Even if it is a bit embarrassing to apply for food stamps, you will have to do it eventually so that you can receive the needed assistance. Each state has eligibility requirements that potential beneficiaries should comply with. Simply show proof that you are in need of financial assistance and wait for further notification.
The household is a very big consideration when applying for this program. At present, the food stamp is called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. In terms of household resources, you shouldn't have more than $2,000 or $3,000 in the case of households with disabled or elderly. Even if you have properties or a car, these things are usually exempted and are not included in the evaluation.
Filing applications for food stamps can be done personally or online. The latter is possible if the state offers this option. Just in case you are currently receiving SSI payments, you have a high chance to avail of food stamps. Instead of the getting the paper stamps, you will now receive an electronic balance transfer card that you can use to purchase food items from the authorized stores in your area. All you have to do is look for the 'Quest' mark on the store's window or door. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed, so don't try to include them in the purchase.
In some cases, you will also be allowed to make cash withdrawal if there is a need for it. Just make sure that you keep you PIN safe because this is needed every time you use the EBT. The food stamps is the key to putting healthy food items on the table.