The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka SNAP or food stamps, is a program ran by the United States Department of Agriculture. The program helps low-income individuals and families buy food. Applying for food stamps is easy. You can find an application through a local food stamp agency or online via the agency’s website. Though anyone can apply, not everyone is eligible for food stamps. Married couples, individuals and families with children must meet the income and household resource tests in order to qualify for the food stamp program.
Joint Income Requirement
Families that are eligible to receive food stamps must have a household income that does not exceed gross and net income limits. Net income is the amount of money you make after taxes. Gross income is the money you receive before taxes. Married couples can have a combined maximum net income of $1,372 per month and a combined gross income of $1,784. Pay stubs, or tax returns if you are self-employed, are used to verify your income.
Joint Countable Resources
To qualify for food stamps, you and your spouse must not have more than $2,250 in countable resources. This limit applies to households of all sizes. Your countable resources include the amount of cash you have on hand, your individual and joint investments, and the fair market value of each of your vehicles. If you have an elderly person age 60 or older living in your home, your countable resource limit is raised to $3,500.
Household members include more than you and your spouse. You may have roommates, relatives or adult children living in your home. According to food stamp regulations, a household member is someone you share meals and expenses with. In addition to your combined income, you must also report the income of household members on your food stamp application. The countable resources of other household members are also considered, with the exception of elderly or disabled persons or persons receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Things to Consider
Once your food stamp application is approved, your certification period begins. A certification period is the length of time you can receive food stamp aid. During the period, if you or your spouse has a sudden change in income or resources, you must report the information to your case worker. Your case worker may adjust your allotment to accommodate the change, or wait until you recertify.
Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.