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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps): Eligibility Requirements


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While thinking about food assistance can be a humbling experience, it is a safety net that is thankfully there when needed if you qualify.

To be eligible for foor assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly known as food stamps), you and the household you live in must meet certain citizenship, work, income and resource eligibility standards.

Citizenship: SNAP is available to all U.S. citizens and many non-citizens.

Household: A "household" is basically the people you live with - whether you'ae related by blood or marriage or not. There are different regulations for families, people age 60 or over and for people living in an institution.

Work: If you're able to work, eligibility requirements differ if you are working and if you are not working.

Income: The program looks at both Gross Income and Net Income. Allowable income levels vary if your health condition makes you disabled within the definition of the program. A household with an elderly person or a disabled person only has to meet the net income test. There are exceptions to the income test.

Resources: You can have resources of up to $2,000 ($3,000 if one member of the household is age 60 or over). Many resources don't count toward this limit - such as the value of the residence in which you live. There are special rules concerning automobiles.

Eligibility Tool: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a pre-screening tool that can help determine if you are eligible. See: offsite link The pre-screening tool should only be used as a general guide. It is advisable to always check with your local office to determine if you are eligible. Local rules may vary.

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