Food Stamps Eligibility
Food stamps are one of the most important services provided by the federal government these days.
It is estimated that as many as 47 million Americans are on the food stamp program.
Today, the program is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and it is an important weekly lifeline to many Americans who have fallen on hard times in the current economic crisis.
In order to be eligible for food stamps, you have to meet certain criteria. These criteria exist to prevent individuals from taking advantage of the program.
One of the easiest ways to find out if you qualify is to use the Pre-Screening Tool at http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/
In order to qualify for food stamps, or SNAPS, households must meet income requirements, unless members are receiving other forms of social assistance. Households must meet both the gross and net income tests.
The income threshold, in that any household making more than these amounts cannot qualify, are as follows for household sizes of::
- One: $1,245 gross monthly income, $958 net monthly income.
- Two: $1,681 gross monthly income, $1,293 net monthly income
- Three: $2,116 gross monthly income, $1,628 net monthly income.
- Four: $2,552 gross monthly income, $1,963 net monthly income.
- Five: $2,987 gross monthly income, $2,298 net monthly income.
- Six: $3,423 gross monthly income, $2,633 net monthly income.
- Seven: $3,858 gross monthly income, $2,968 net monthly income.
- Eight: $4,294 gross monthly income, $3,303 net monthly income.
- Each Additional Member: +$436 gross monthly income, +$335 net monthly income.
There are deductions that are allowed to come off your income, in order for you to qualify for food stamps.
- A 20 percent deduction from your earned income.
- A deduction of $152 for households that have one to three people, or $163 for households of four or higher.
- A dependent care deduction that is needed for work or education.
- Medical expenses for anyone who is disabled or elderly. Expenses must be more than $35 per month.
- Child support payments
- Home costs including electricity, water, telephone, rent or mortgage payments.
In order to qualify for SNAPS or food stamps, you must meet the employment requirement.
If you are able-bodied, between the ages of 18 and 60, you must be at least partly-employed to be accepting food stamps.
The only exemption is if you are elderly, or disabled and are unable to work.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 50, and you have no children who are dependent on you, you can only receive food stamps for three months in a three year period if you do not work, are not in a workfare or employment program, nor looking for work.
In some locations, this requirement is waived. If you are between the age of 16 and 60, and able to work, you must not only register for work, but accept any suitable employment that comes along.
You must also take part in employment training programs that are provided for you by the local SNAPS office. If you do not comply with those requirements, you could be disqualified from receiving food stamps.