A Complete Guide to SNAP Benefits


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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP, is the largest federal nutrition assistance program. In 2021, 41.5 million Americans participated in the SNAP program, which provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families by allowing them to purchase eligible foods from authorized retail food stores via a card electronic transfer of benefits.

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Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about SNAP.

What is the difference between SNAP and food stamps?

The SNAP program and food stamps are one and the same. The SNAP program was formerly called the food stamp program, or simply food stamps, because of the stamp books people used to make purchases. Today, the stamps have been replaced by electronic benefit transfer cards, which look like debit cards and are accepted at most grocery stores and many other retailers that sell groceries, including Walmart. , Target and Amazon.

Read more: What is SNAP and is it the same as food stamps?

Who is eligible for SNAP?

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) sets eligibility requirements, with the amount of a family’s SNAP benefit based on their income and certain expenses.

To be eligible for benefits, a household’s income and resources must meet these three criteria:

  • Gross monthly income, which is a household’s monthly income before the application of program deductions, must be equal to or less than 130% of the federal poverty level. For a family of three, the poverty line used to determine SNAP benefits in the 2022 federal tax year is $1,830 per month. One hundred and thirty percent of that amount is $2,379 per month, or about $28,550 per year.

  • Net income, which is household income after deductions have been applied, must be at or below the federal poverty level.

  • Assets must fall below certain thresholds. Households without a member aged 60 or over or with a disability must have assets of $2,500 or less, and households with such a member must have assets of $3,750 or less.

Learn more: SNAP Benefits: How is eligibility determined?

What items can be purchased with SNAP benefits?

Foods that can be prepared at home are generally eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. Hot foods when sold and foods sold for consumption in store are not eligible.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, these foods are eligible for SNAP:

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Meat, poultry and fish

  • Dairy products

  • Breads and cereals

  • Snacks and soft drinks

  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household

Keep Reading: SNAP 2022: What Items Can Be Purchased With Your EBT Food Stamps?

What SNAP benefits are available in my state?

Although SNAP is a federal program, benefits are administered by individual states. This means that benefits are unevenly distributed across the country. Although eligibility requirements and benefit levels are uniform in all states except Alaska and Hawaii, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, how benefits are calculated may vary from state to state. state to state.

Here is a general overview of the maximum and minimum allowances in each state:

  • For the 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC, the maximum benefit for a family of four is $835 per month.

  • In Alaska, a family of four can receive between $1,074 and $1,667 per month, depending on their rural/urban designation.

  • In Hawaii, the monthly limit is $1,573 for a family of four.

  • The minimum benefit is $20 in DC and the lowest are $48, $40 in Alaska, and $38 in Hawaii.

Find out the details in your state: SNAP benefits available in your state in 2022

What else you need to know about SNAP

For more information on SNAP, check out some of GOBankingRates’ most read stories on the subject:

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Dawn Allcot, Andrew Lisa and Josephine Nesbit contributed to the reporting of this article.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: A Complete Guide to SNAP Benefits


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