Your Guide to SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

When people think of bills, they usually think of rent, a car note, a phone bill, utilities, etc. However, a bill that many people overlook is the cost of groceries. Food is a necessary part of life which means households need to buy groceries every month. But, groceries can be expensive, especially for families that have children to feed! That is why households may be in need of some support when it comes to this expense. Luckily, the government understands just how much of a burden paying for groceries can be. That is why there is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

What is SNAP?

People also call SNAP “food stamps”. This is a federal program that gives Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to qualifying low income households. This card will get funds on it every month from the government. The funds on the card can be used towards qualifying groceries. However, it’s important to note that the cards can only be used at locations that accept them as a form of payment! 

The amount of funds you will receive every month depends on a variety of factors. Factors include the family size as well as income level. However, there are limits to how much people can get. These limits can change every year. For Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024 the following household sizes have a maximum monthly benefit of:

  • $291 for a household of 1
  • $535 for a household of 2
  • $766 for a household of 3
  • $973 for a household of 4
  • $1,155 for a household of 5
  • $1,386 for a household of 6
  • $1,532 for a household of 7
  • $1,751 for a household of 8
  • $219 for each additional person (after 8 family members)

Who Qualifies for SNAP?

Not everyone will be able to qualify for this assistance opportunity. That’s because it is only supposed to help people dealing with hardships. However, the specific qualifications will vary depending on the area. That is why the best way to confirm eligibility is by asking your state agency. You can also submit an application in order to see if you are eligible. It’s important to keep qualification guidelines in mind. However, it’s also important to be aware of the other side. There may be some criteria that can automatically disqualify an individual from this support program. People may consider themselves ineligible if they are a college student, specific type of legal immigrant, or on strike. Again, the best way to confirm is by submitting an application or getting in touch with your state agency.

What are Qualifying Groceries? 

Like we said earlier, EBT cards can only buy qualifying groceries. This includes: 

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Snack foods
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and/or plants that produce food for the household to eat
  • Other foods similar to the ones mentioned above

However, there are some common groceries that will not qualify. Some ineligible groceries include:

  • Alcoholic beverages like liquor, beer, and wine
  • Tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars
  • Vitamins
  • Medicines
  • Supplements
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered before store pick-up)
  • Non-food items

Bottom Line

There are plenty of people that have a hard time handling the cost of groceries. That is why SNAP exists. This can help people handle grocery expenses by providing Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to qualifying households. The amount of funds that they can receive will vary depending on factors like income, number of family members, and more. To learn more about this program you will want to get in touch with your state agency. 

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