Bad financial health coupled with rising food prices and layoffs have compelled Americans to resort to food stamps. The food stamps program was formulated by the federal government to supply food to the needy citizens of the country. Families with low or no income can reap the benefits of this program. Eligible candidates obtain monthly benefits in the form of electronic cards or food stamps, which can be used to procure food from authorized food stores.
Before one gets to know how to apply for food stamps, an individual should get acquainted with the eligibility criteria of the program.
To qualify for food stamps, an individual should be at least 18 years old. He/she must be an American citizen with a social security number. In some cases, non-citizens are also offered food stamps, if they pass the stringent requirements outlined by the state regulations. What one should also know over here is that there are certain resource limitations as well.
One’s household income should not be over $2,000 in cash or assets. That being said, the home and the land of the applicants are not considered for this limit. The limit is $3000, if any of the household members is over 60.
Since food stamps are a federal program, the application process varies from one state to another. One’s best bet would be to apply for the program directly by visiting the local SNAP office or social security office, especially when one expects quick service. In emergency cases, certain percentage of the approved benefits is offered to the applicants on the same or following day. On the other hand, non emergency cases can take up to 30 days for approval.
Fortunately, most states entertain online applications as well. One must pay a visit to the concerned website and fill up the application form. The application processing starts as soon as one submits their application online.
Those who resort to the offline method to obtain food stamps have to undergo a personal interview with the concerned authorities. In cases wherein an individual is unable to show up for the interview due to disability or any other valid reason, an authorized person can be appointed to process the application. If one fails to appoint a representative, the officials conduct an interview over the phone or might show up at your home.
One must be ready with certain documents that need to be produced in front of the concerned officials such as the social security number, income proof, education degrees etc. One will be briefed about the required documents by the concerned authorities. Those applying online can check the concerned website to get an idea about the documents required to be produced.
Once the interview and documentation part is taken care off, your application will be processed. You will shortly receive a mail that will confirm the status of your application. The approval period could be anywhere between six months to a year. As such, one can also re-apply upon rejection.