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Applying For Food Stamps
The food stamp program helps low-income people buy food. While it is a federal government program, it is run by both state or local agencies. This article explains who are eligible and how to apply for food stamps.
Anyone can apply for food stamps. To get food stamps, you and the other people in your household must meet certain conditions. Everyone who is applying in your household must have or apply for a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or have status as a qualified alien.
The following qualified aliens are eligible for food stamps without a waiting period:
The following legal aliens are eligible without a waiting period even if they are not “qualified aliens:
The following qualified aliens are eligible if they have lived in the U.S. for five years in qualified status:
Most able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 must register for work to qualify for food stamps. Many people may be required to participate in an employment or training program. Some college students also may be eligible.
Generally, your household cannot have more than $2,000 in resources. But, if your household includes a person age 60 or older or who is disabled, the limit is $3,000. Resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are not counted for food stamp purposes. Resources include cash, bank accounts and other property.
Not all the things you own count. For example, your home and the land it is on do not count for food stamp eligibility. A car or truck counts differently depending on how it is used. Most states now use TANF rules in place of food stamp vehicle rules if the TANF rules are more beneficial to the food stamp household.
Most households also must meet an income limit. Certain things do not count as income and can be subtracted from your income. Your household may qualify for other income exclusions if it includes a person age 60 or older or disabled. The income limits vary by household size and may change each year.
Food stamp applications are available at any Social Security office. If you and everyone in your household are applying for or already getting SSI payments, any Social Security office will help you fill out the food stamp application and send it to the food stamp office for you.
All others, including those applying for or getting only Social Security, must take or send their food stamp applications to the local food stamp office or to any Social Security office where a food stamp representative works. When you are interviewed, you also should have:
You can find out how much you may be able to get online through the Food Stamp Pre-Screening Tool, Click Here.
The Social Security Administration is a valuable resource for information about all of Social Security’s programs. There are a number of things you can do online.
You can call them toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. They can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. They can provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day. You can use their automated response system to tell them a new address or request a replacement Medicare card. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call their TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
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