The food stamp program, now known as the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), exists to help low-income families put food on the table. It’s a means-tested benefit, so your eligibility depends on your income and assets. Your income will also determine the level of your benefits. In Alabama, the program is administered by the Department of Human Resources.
Any household applying for food stamps must make no more than 130 percent of the federally-determined poverty level. For a family of two, this level is $1,579 per month in gross income. If you are concerned about whether you are eligible you can use an online pre-screening tool (see Resources) to determine your eligibility.
The total amount of your household assets cannot exceed $2,000. This includes cash in checking or savings accounts, stocks and bonds or other financial assets. If one member of the household is over 60, this asset limit is raised to $3,000.
If you are already receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income payments, you are automatically eligible for food stamps in Alabama. You still need to go through the application process, but you will not be turned down.
You must calculate your net income to determine the level of benefits you will receive. This is your gross income, minus deductions for dependent children, medical costs for the elderly and disabled and shelter costs (see Resources). Divide your net monthly income by 3 and subtract the result from the maximum benefit allowable for your household size. The result is your monthly benefit level. The maximum monthly benefit for a family of two in Alabama is $367.
You must apply for food stamps through your local county office of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. The DHR’s website lists the location of local offices. If you feel you have been denied food stamps unfairly, you can request a hearing within 90 days by contacting the Food Assistance Division of the Alabama Department of Human Resources in Montgomery.