Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAPS, is a benefits-for-food program administered by the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service. The mission of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program is to provide food to people in need. Each year, over 40 million people receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program is more commonly known by its former name, food stamps. Yet since paper food stamps are no longer disseminated, and since a negative stigma has been attached to the term "food stamps," the program is now known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

Under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, qualifying individuals and families receive government assistance to purchase food through the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer accounts, or EBT cards, which work a lot like debit cards. Once an individual is approved for SNAPS benefits, money is added to the EBT card, and the EBT card can then be used like a debit card to purchase food at qualifying establishments, such as convenient stores, grocery store, markets and co-ops.

If you're interested in applying for benefits under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, you need to fill out an application, which can be obtained online or from your local Social Security office. You will need to provide extensive information about your household members, income and expenses, as well as any resources you possess, such as bank accounts or cash. In order to qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, your household is allowed no more than $2000 in "countable" resources, or $3000 if at least one person in the household is age 60 or older. Your household must also have a gross monthly income that is 130% or less of Federal poverty guidelines and net household income that is 100% or less of Federal poverty guidelines. Your local Social Security office can help you fill out the food stamp application and send it to the food stamp office for you.

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