If you make a living that's close to the federal poverty guidelines for a family of your size, you may qualify for food assistance. Food assistance provides you with a certain amount of money to spend on food for your family each month. It is supposed to supplement your regular food purchases, rather than pay for all of your food. In Indiana, the Department of Human Services must make a decision regarding your food stamp eligibility within 30 days of your application. If you are facing an emergency, you can get expedited food stamps within seven days.
Expenses Vs. Income
As of 2011, you qualify for expedited food stamp service if your expenses are more than your income. The state of Indiana considers only such necessary expenses as food, rent, utilities and gas to be expenses for this purpose. For example, if you are paying $1,800 a month in necessary expenses and make only $1,300 a month, you will qualify for expedited service. You do not qualify, however, if your necessary expenses are only $900 a month and luxuries such as eating out or unnecessary purchases add up to more than you earn.
Expedited food stamp service exists for the purpose of getting help quickly to people who are facing such a severe financial crisis that they are in danger of starvation without immediate assistance. Thus, Indiana families must meet all criteria for regular food stamp assistance to qualify for expedited service, and in addition not have enough money to cover their necessary expenses. In Indiana, your net income (income after deducting shelter costs and standard deduction) must be less than the federal poverty guidelines for a family of your size.
The larger your household, the higher the income limit is for any food stamps. You also may be more likely to qualify for expedited food stamps with a larger household size, as you may have more expenses, especially if you are the only one in the house making money. All adults living together count a household if they prepare meals together, even if they are not related to one another.
How to Apply
Visit your local Department of Human Services office to apply for expedited food stamps. Fill out the food stamp application, listing the names and Social Security numbers of all adults living in the household and all income coming into the house. On the back of the form, answer the questions regarding expedited service. If you answer "yes" to one or more questions, you probably qualify for expedited food stamps. Your representative will interview you after you complete the form to determine your eligibility and tell you his decision.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.