A lot of people in the U.S. do not have access to healthy food and resources. Hunger is one of the world’s biggest problems, and the Coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the situation.
Due to this reason, the U.S. Government has started several programs for people who do not have access to basic resources. This includes problems like not getting clean water or healthy food. When it comes to food, the SNAP program, which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is one of the biggest programs in the country for food.
In this article, you can learn about how you can apply for the SNAP program, including the following steps and information:
- SNAP Overview
- How to Apply
- Special Info for the Unemployed
- Tips for the Unemployed
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aims towards ending hunger and moving people towards self-sufficiency. It provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of families for the purchase of healthy food.
This program, among other financial assistance programs set up in the United States, is aimed towards helping low income individuals and those whose extenuating circumstances put them in need of help buying food and groceries.
You can learn more about this program by visiting the SNAP Page. If you or someone you know needs this service, you can visit this page for more information on the subject.
While in need of this assistance, you may even find yourself unemployed. In this case, you need worry not completely, as there are still instances in which you can receive the benefits as long as you meet requirements. Later in this article, you we will discuss some ways to remain eligible for SNAP even if you are unemployed.
More Facts About SNAP
There are some aspects of the SNAP program that you may want to consider. for instance, the amount of benefits you are limited to is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan. This plan’s estimates will actually change each year based on inflation and the cost of goods.
The SNAP benefits that you receive will likely not be enough to cover all the food you need. It’s likely that you will have to supplement these benefits with your own cash from time to time (hence the name “Supplemental”).
Not everyone will be eligible for the SNAP program. You need to have an upper limit on your annual income and resources to be eligible for it. You will also need to provide proof of your household income to get the benefits of SNAP.
SNAP eligibility requirements are supposed to be strictly adhered to, and you must apply in the state in which you live. The Net Monthly income for a household of 1 should be up to $1,064.
You can check out the remaining prices according to household size by visiting the SNAP Income Eligibility page. For families with elderly or disabled members, there are special benefits and rules to make the application process and benefits easier. Please note that you can also avail of SNAP benefits if you are homeless.
The elderly include people who are 60 years old or older, while there is a certain set of rules for disabled individuals. You can check out more information about this on the SNAP Elderly and Disabled page.
How to Apply
If you’ve gone through the eligibility page and you meet the requirements needed to apply for the SNAP program, you will need to apply in the state in which you live. You will need to contact the state office of your residence, and take it forward from there.
Most state forms are available on the web, but if it is not, you can contact the local SNAP office to request a form. If you want to apply, head on to the SNAP State Directory Page and click on your state of residence. You will get a popup giving you the State SNAP information and the applications, making it easier for you to apply to the program.
However, do note that eligibility requirements may change. As such, you should always check the official website for the most recent and accurate information.
If you are found eligible, you will get benefits dating back to the date of your submission. You will also receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which you can use as a debit card. The card is automatically recharged every month with the benefits of the program, and you can walk into an authorized food store or retailer and purchase the items that you need.
Some stores do not accept payment in the form of SNAP, so when looking to buy your goods, you should always verify beforehand that they will accept your benefits when you check out. You can do so by checking the store’s website or calling them before visiting.
All food items are available under the SNAP program, including fruits, vegetables, meat, and poultry. You can find a more detailed list of what you can buy by checking out the What Can SNAP Buy page. It’s also important to know that certain items cannot be bought with SNAP benefits, such as vitamins, supplements, medicine, alcohols, tobacco, cigarettes, live animals, hot foods, non-food items like cleaning supplies and cosmetics, and prepared foods.
Special Info for the Unemployed
While most individuals who become eligible for SNAP benefits will be employed but making a low income, it is possible in some cases to be eligible for the benefits if you are unemployed. However, it is important to note that there are particular stipulations involved.
The following stipulations apply for unemployed individuals to be eligible for SNAP benefits. It’s important to note that these benefits also only last for three months within a 3-year period, unless you meet certain qualifications.
- You must be registering for work, not quitting a job out of choice or reducing hours; take a job opportunity if it is offered to you; and you must take part in employment and training programs if assigned by the state that you live in.
- If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents, you must be involved in a work program for a minimum of 20 hours weekly if you want to be eligible to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 3 year period.
The following individuals, however, are exempt from these stipulations: seniors, children, pregnant women, and those exempt due to physical or mental health circumstances.
Tips for the Unemployed
Should you find yourself unemployed while looking to lean on SNAP benefits, you will need to be taking clear actions and steps towards regaining employment. Because of this stipulation, we thought you would benefit from some helpful tips and advice on how to seek new employment.
The following pieces of advice are good advice to take whether you are looking to get SNAP benefits or not, although they are particularly helpful if you are looking to quickly regain employment.
Regularly Search and Check Online Job Board Websites
If you are unfamiliar with online job searches, you should start to get familiar. This tool can be one of your biggest assets as you search for a new job in this modern world.
The art of the online job application is a tricky process but can be mastered with some practice and studying.
There are various sites you can use to search for jobs, including but not limited to Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, LinkedIn Jobs, and more. These websites are great and convenient because they will save you a lot of time in your search.
Oftentimes, you can upload a copy of your resume to the website after you create an account, which you can easily attach to any online application you submit.
Prepare a Stellar Resume and Cover Letter
Two of the most important documents you will need in any job search process are the resume and cover letter.
While a resume is your chance to show off your skills and education in a factual manner, the cover letter is the opportunity to express your specific interest in the job in question.
Preparing an up to date resume listing your most recent and relevant experiences is key. In your cover letter, you can highlight what you know about the company you want to work for, as well as how you can make a good asset to their team.
These tips will help you maintain your job search as you remain unemployed and rely on the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Bottom Line
SNAP is an excellent measure taken by the U.S. government to ensure that everyone, especially people who do not have the necessary means, get access to healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.
If you or someone you know can benefit from this program, be sure to check it out as a means of help to you and your family. You won’t know if you are truly eligible until you try and apply for the program. Reaping the benefits of SNAP could make the difference between eating and going hungry.