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Have you fallen on hard times and need help getting food? There are food assistance programs that offer help, the most common being SNAP, or commonly called food stamps. They can provide a monthly check that temporarily allows eligible families to get nutritional food.

If this sounds like it may be you, read on to see if you qualify and how to apply for food stamps.

What Is SNAP?

SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is also known as food stamps. It’s the largest federal food assistance program. It’s intended to help eligible low-income families with nutritional assistance. An Electronic Benefits Transfer card is used as a debit card to purchase eligible food items at participating retail stores.

Who is Eligible to receive SNAP benefits?

Each state has different SNAP requirements. The determining factors for eligibility are based on household income and resources, such as money in the bank or licensed vehicles.

Households with $2,250 countable resources and under are considered eligible for SNAP unless the household has one member aged 60 or older. In this case, the household cannot exceed $3,500 in countable resources. Homes and lots are not counted as a resource, and people who already qualify for Social Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as welfare, do not have their resources counted.

The household must be below both gross income and net income limits unless you are an elderly person. In that case, you only need to meet one of the income limits. If your household already qualifies for SSI or welfare, you may be considered categorically eligible.

Some allowances have been made for those needing food assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak. During the pandemic, SNAP recipients may receive additional funding, and parents can pick up school meals for their children to eat at home. Pregnant women, seniors, families, and people with disabilities can enroll in food programs remotely rather than in person.

How to Apply for SNAP benefits online?

Every state has a different application process, so you can apply on your state government’s website or through your state agency online here. There may be a SNAP Information Hotline available for you to call.

What Can You Get If Your SNAP Application Is Accepted?

The amount of food assistance you receive will be based on 30% of your household income in most states. The maximum allotment you can receive is $204 for one person, with an additional $153 per person in the household.

Food assistance can be used to buy staple foods. Fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, bread and cereals, snack foods, and plant seeds are all food stamp eligible. SNAP benefits cannot buy alcohol, cigarettes, vitamins, supplements, prepared food for immediate consumption, hot foods, cleaning supplies, pet foods, and cosmetics.

Applying for food assistance doesn’t have to be scary. Check to see if you qualify for help in your state, and once you apply, you can purchase food for your household.