By: Nikki Nies
America’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides assistance to eligible, low income people and families to purchase food for better health. Previously known as Food Stamps,SNAP is the largest assistance program fighting domestic hunger, it works collaboratively with state agencies, nutrition educators and local organizations to provide the best access to SNAP’s benefits.
The Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool can be access online to quickly find out if you qualify for SNAP benefits. The tool can be accessed at: http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns/ . The tool takes into account resources, income, deduction, employment requirements, immigrant eligibility and special rules for elderly and disabled. Benefits vary state to state, find out when your state offers benefits on the USDA’s SNAP website.
Specific foods that can be purchased include breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, bottled water, poultry and dairy products. In addition, seeds and plants can be purchased. SNAP does not allow the purchase of baby diapers and wipes, beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, tobacco,hot foods, pet foods, nonfood items (i.e. soap, paper products, household supplies, vitamins and medicines).
The monthly SNAP benefit amount is dependent on number of people within household, monthly income available to meet needs after deductions from gross income.
To apply for SNAP benefits, find your local office at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach/map.htm .