Home / NewTech / Grocery Vouchers and SNAP: What It Is, How to Sign Up, and Everything You Need to Know

Grocery Vouchers and SNAP: What It Is, How to Sign Up, and Everything You Need to Know

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The Coronavirus crisis has set Millions of Americans are unemployed. If you̵

7;ve lost your job, have fewer hours, or can’t work because of caring for loved ones during the pandemic, chances are you may need help putting food on the table.

Approximately 26 million adults in the United States are suffering from food insecurity or lack of access to food amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Between 8 and 15 million children currently lack enough to eat, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

If your family is struggling or hungry, SNAP is the place to go. Here’s what it is – and how to know if you qualify.

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What is SNAP?

SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “Grocery Brands”. If you don’t make enough cash to cover grocery bills for you and your family, you may be eligible for monthly SNAP benefits to cover the cost of produce, meat, dairy, bread, and cereal.

How much you get depends on your income and how many people are in your household. The maximum monthly grant for a family of four is $ 646.

To get SNAP, you must first meet specific criteria, including:

Income: SNAP measures both your gross and net income. Both limit values ​​vary depending on the household. For a family of four, your gross monthly income must be $ 2,790 or less. Your monthly net income cannot exceed $ 2,146.

Citizenship: SNAP is available to US citizens and some residents who meet certain criteria (see the specific qualifications for the latter with the US Department of Agriculture, which administers the program). To qualify, you must have lived in the United States for at least five years, received disability assistance, or be under the age of 18.

Job: When you’re not working, you must provide information that you are applying for a job, that you have not voluntarily cut or quit your job, that you are taking a job if one is offered, and that you are in employment programs if your state requires it. Children, seniors, pregnant women and people with physical or mental reasons are excluded.

Even if some household members are not eligible for SNAP, states will determine the eligibility of the remaining eligible household members.

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How to apply for SNAP

SNAP is available at the state, not the federal level. Find your state’s agency to apply.

You will be notified within 30 days of your application if you are entitled to benefits. You may need to hold an interview and review the information in your application such as: B. Payroll. If you are eligible, you will receive benefits based on your application date.

When you receive benefits, you are given an electronic power transfer or an EBT card that is similar to a debit card. Your benefits are automatically loaded onto your card every month and you can use your card in participating grocery stores and grocery stores. Some farmers markets also accept EBT. So you should check to see if your local options have this advantage.

SNAP during COVID-19

With millions of Americans unemployed and children staying home without school meals – this is the only time some children eat – more families are turning to government-sponsored programs like SNAP.

The number of families participating in the SNAP program rose from 6% to 17% between February and May as many households faced layoffs, school closings and other difficulties. The First Coronavirus Response Act for Families, which went into effect on March 18, has reduced the SNAP permission restrictions. For example, she did without the necessary documents and the job interview. At the same time, the application process has been simplified to cope with the influx of families in need applying for SNAP, so that many families can start receiving benefits within a week of submitting their application.

But the changes could be short-lived. The CBPP notes that the USDA would like processing to return to normal by September, even though many families continue to struggle to make ends meet. The USDA is also denying some government exemption requests, such as B. for the admission of students (currently limited to at least part-time students). Some state exemptions end on August 31st – in other states the exemptions ended as early as June.

When SNAP flexibility ends, many households may experience an interruption in SNAP support. This can increase food insecurity, child hunger, and other difficulties. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the Trump administration had proposed Cut millions of dollars from the SNAP program.

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Other dining options

If you don’t qualify for SNAP or are looking for other nutrition programs, this is one you should check out.

  • USDA National Hunger Hotline: If you are currently facing a food shortage, call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm ET (4:00 am to 7:00 pm PT) each day. Someone can help you find food aid now.
  • WIC: The special nutritional supplement program for women, infants and children is available to women and children with low incomes. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, meet income requirements within six months of having a child or a child under the age of 5, you can qualify for the WIC. Eligibility is determined by each state and you need to find your state agency to apply.
  • Community or religious organizations: Look for food donations in your area to see which organizations are providing food to those in need. Also, look for foodpantries.org.
  • 2-1-1: Call 2-1-1 wherever you are and you will be connected to community resources that can help you with any of your needs, whether it’s housing, medical assistance, or food insecurity.

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