Financial Education

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

People in extreme poverty in the United States can often go hungry. Learn how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps these people.

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by Sabrina Paes

Published on 12/17/2022

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): get help with your food costs

supermarket
Learn all about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program! Source: Pexels

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program. This program provides low-income individuals and families with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance to purchase food.

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Housing Assistance

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This Program is an entitlement program, meaning that all eligible individuals and families apply for benefits. Learn more about this Program, who is eligible, and your benefits.

What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s primary food assistance safety net.

SNAP provides low-income households with electronic benefits that can be used like cash to buy food at participating stores.

The federal fiscal year 2023 gross monthly income limits for a family of three are $1,920 per month. This is 130% of the poverty line. The other line is $2,495 per month (130% of the poverty line).

The poverty level is higher for bigger families and lower for smaller families. To receive SNAP benefits, households must meet certain income and resource limits and comply with program rules.

Households that contain an elderly or disabled member may have higher incomes and still qualify for SNAP.

Most able-bodied adults without dependent children can receive SNAP benefits for only 3 months out of every 3 years.

Several major factors have recently affected Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily increased SNAP benefits by 13.6 percent.

In addition, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-171, 2002 Farm Bill) directed USDA to increase SNAP benefits by 10 percent. This increase helps account for higher food prices.

However, this provision was not funded. As a result, no benefit increase was provided in October 2008, but higher benefits were provided in subsequent months.

In this sense, that happened when Congress appropriated increased funding.

Therefore, various provisions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have temporarily expanded eligibility. Besides that, this enhanced benefits for many low-income households since March 2020.

These provisions are discussed first before describing regular program rules that will be in effect for the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY2023).

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What are the benefits of receiving SNAP benefits?

supermarket
See the main benefits you can get from this program! Source: Pexels

According to the USDA, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues electronic benefits that can be used like cash to purchase food.

SNAP helps low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled, and others feed their families. Your principal benefit is to prevent hunger and enable very poor people to access food security.

You must meet certain income and resource guidelines to qualify for the program. For example, your household’s income must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level.

If approved for SNAP benefits, you will receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used as a debit card at participating stores.

SNAP benefits can help you stretch your food budget and put healthy and nutritious meals on the table.

In addition, SNAP provides the essentials for the daily life of poor families. Thus, there is virtual assistance to promote greater equality among American citizens.

What products can you buy with SNAP?

There are no time limits for receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) as long as the household remains income eligible and reports any changes in circumstances.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance can purchase any household food, including fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, bread and cereals, snack foods, and non-alcoholic beverages.

In addition, you can use Supplemental Nutritional Aid to purchase seeds and food-producing plants.

However, the program establishes some foods that are not accepted for purchase with the benefit. In this sense, you cannot use the benefit of consuming addictive elements such as alcohol and cigarettes.

In addition, SNAP is intended for the purchase of human food only. That is, it is prohibited to use it to purchase food for pets.

Who is eligible for SNAP benefits?

As you can see, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally-funded program that assists low-income families. To be eligible for SNAP benefits, households must have an income at or below 130 percent of the poverty line.

The family size, with larger families having a higher poverty line, determines the recipient of benefits. For example, the poverty line for a family of three is $1,920 per month.

Eligibility for the program is based on financial need, with the program intending to help those who have difficulty affording food.

To be eligible for SNAP benefits, households must meet certain income requirements.

Gross monthly income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line. Additionally, net or household income must be at or below the poverty line.

Additionally, assets must fall below certain limits for a household to qualify for SNAP benefits.

For example, households without a member who is 60 or older or has a disability must have assets of $2,750 or less to be eligible.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can play an important role in helping low-income individuals and families afford food.

How to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

vegetables
Find out how to apply for SNAP! Source: Pexels

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally-funded program that provides low-income individuals and families with financial assistance to purchase food.

SNAP benefits are provided as an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. This card is used for cash to purchase food at participating retailers.

Moreover, SNAP helps to improve food security for millions of Americans by providing access to nutritious food. The program also helps to boost the economy by stimulating spending on food items.

In addition, SNAP benefits can be used to purchase seeds and plants for gardening. In this sense, the program allows recipients to grow their food.

However, to be entitled to this benefit, it is essential to know how to apply for it. To apply, you will need to have possession of your personal data.

That is your family income, housing, and the number of family members.

But you must gather these supporting documents. After all, these documents will be presented to confirm the information. So, just fill out the online form, attach the documents and wait for your evaluation.

Moreover, if you want to learn about a different program to help needy families, read our post below to learn about TANF!

hands holding a paper with the format of a family

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Some families are in very fragile situations financially and need government help. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program to provide this support.

About the author

Sabrina Paes

Content Writer, Copywriter, and Ghostwriter. Content marketing professional with 5 years of experience. Specialist in investment, finance, and technology niche. MBA in Marketing at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Content Writer by Rock Content, and University of California (UCDAVIS).

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