What You Need to Know about the SNAP Program

(Daily360.com) – With the rising cost of groceries, many Americans have struggled to keep up—especially larger families with higher food needs. Fortunately, the federal government understands how difficult affording food can be for most families. In response, they developed programs to help lower income households. One of the most popular support programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

What is SNAP?

Created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this program aims to provide nutritional support to qualifying households facing food insecurity. SNAP provides eligible recipients with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which is recharged monthly. Recipients can use these funds to purchase qualifying groceries. Recipients can only use EBT cards at stores that accept them as payment.

The SNAP program looks at factors like their income level and family size. The maximum monthly benefit by household size is as follows:

  • One-person household: Monthly maximum of $250
  • Two-person household: Monthly maximum of $459
  • Three-person household: Monthly maximum of $658
  • Four-person household: Monthly maximum of $835
  • Five-person household: Monthly maximum of $992
  • Six-person household: Monthly maximum of $1,190
  • Seven-person household: Monthly maximum of $1,316
  • Eight-person household: Monthly maximum of $1,504
  • Each additional person after eight family members can get a maximum benefit of $188

SNAP Eligibility

SNAP is a nationwide program; however, specific eligibility requirements will vary by state. This is because the cost of living can vary across state lines or even within them. Contact your state agency for more information if you want to apply. They will be the ones to determine your eligibility. Applications are prioritized based on the level of need of the household. Additionally, most college students and even some legal immigrants may automatically be ineligible. Once your application is submitted, you will generally find out whether or not you are eligible within 30 days.

SNAP Eligible Groceries

The monthly funds on your EBT cards can only be used to purchase qualifying groceries. This includes groceries like:

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Dairy products
  • Fish, meat, and poultry
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Canned foods
  • Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat
  • Snack foods
  • Water
  • Other foods similar to the ones mentioned above

Remember, not every type of grocery qualifies for SNAP. The following grocery items are not eligible for SNAP benefits:

  • Alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, and liquor
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from the water, and animals slaughtered before store pick-up)
  • Medicines, vitamins, and supplements
  • Non-food items
  • Tobacco products like cigarettes
  • Paper items or other household cleaning items.
  • Personal hygiene items such as shampoo, toothpaste, or deodorant
  • Clothing

Bottom Line

When looking at the rising cost of living, including grocery purchases, many people can feel overwhelmed or that no help is available. That’s not the case! Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help people avoid food insecurity. While SNAP is a nationwide program, its eligibility requirements and maximum funding vary by state. That is why states are the ones to determine an applicant’s eligibility. This program will provide monthly funds onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

The funds can be used towards qualifying groceries at participating locations. Look for the state-specific signage or ask an associate if their location accepts EBT cards. Remember, not every type of grocery is eligible, so knowing what you can and cannot buy is essential. The amount of funds you will receive every month depends on factors like your income level and family size, among other things. If you have any questions or need more information, you will want to contact your state’s agency.

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