Feeding a Family in Hard Times

Applying for Food Stamps is a hard decision for many. But for many families it is the only way to feed their families during times of unemployment, illness, or family crisis. The program is now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The application for SNAP can be downloaded on the government website for your state or you can do directly to the program’s office and fill out an application there. This application asks about the size of the family, income and assets. The purpose of asking for this information is to determine whether or not the family, or individual, qualifies for the program.

Most people who are underemployed, receive low wages, are homeless, unemployed, or receive other government assistance are accepted into the program. Assets include money in the bank, investments and equity in a car over $15,000. Normally your home and the land it sits on are not counted as assets for this program. If you are in doubt about qualifying you can fill out the application and see if they approve it.

When you go to the interview bring documents that will prove your income. If you have a job, get a statement from your employer about your recent wages or bring your last four paystubs. If you are unemployed then bring proof that your job ended and that you have filed for unemployment or registered to find a job with the unemployment office. Also bring your last tax return. To show the assets that you have, bring bank statements, for every household member, for checking, savings and investment accounts. Bring titles to your cars and documents for loans you have on them.

In order to show the members of your household you should have social security numbers for each household member. You should be prepared to list your household expenses for each month as well.

If your application is approved you will be issued a SNAP card. This card works just like a debit card at any store that accepts the SNAP card. You run it through the credit card machine and enter your PIN number. Not everything you buy, even at a grocery store, is covered under the SNAP program. Items that are not food like toiletries, medicine and cleaning supplies are not covered. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are also excluded along with food items to be eaten on premises.

For those in need of financial help, especially in need of help with getting food, filling out a Food Stamp Application and submitting it as soon as possible could get you help immediately.

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