No matter how much you keep up with the proper paperwork, maintain your records with your caseworker, or try to maintain your food stamp benefits there are times when food stamps may be denied.
The short answer is yes. Many families make do with the small allowance given by the USDA for food. However, the money is actually meant to supplement an income, not pay for all the groceries that a family might need. There are also limits on how much you can receive. This is to ensure that everyone gets a fair share who applies and is eligible, in which case there are stringent eligibility rules as well. You have to make sure that you are requesting food stamps while not being able to afford food as the food stamp program or SNAP, is only available for individuals or families with little to no income, who are disabled or elderly. In most cases, college students are not eligible to receive food stamps. However, families are not meant to live on food stamps alone.
There is actually a pre-screening tool available for those who are not sure of their eligibility or who want to find out how much they can receive. The pre-screening tool is available through the government located here. You can also locate the nearest office to you by clicking here. There are several factors that will help you decide what you can do with food stamps and how much you will receive to purchase food with each month.
Before you begin the pre-screening tool, you should look at day care expenses, medical bills, the amount of your earnings, rent or mortgage costs each month, utility bills, child support payments and VA payments. These factors are used to determine how much money you have coming into your household and how much you have to spend out-of-pocket on your living expenses or medical expenses, if you are elderly or disabled.
The pre-screening tool is designed to take you through the process, first going through where you live to get an idea of the asset limits and income restrictions in your area. These are different for each state. The amount of food stamps allowed is also different by state. This is because of the cost of living in different areas. For example, the cost of living in New York City is not the same as the cost of living in Lincoln, Nebraska. As you go through the pre-screening tool, it will ask you about different income and assets that you may have. There are certain things that do not count against you, such as your house or car. These are not part of the asset limitations.
At the finish, you can see if you're eligible and about how much you can receive each month for food. Remember that this amount is not total, meaning that your interview and application process may give you more or less than the pre-screener tool suggests that you may be eligible to receive. You should always consult an office directly and start an application if you think that you are eligible. In some cases, you can receive expedited funds in as little as 7 days.