What is SNAP and is it the same as food stamps?

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SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a government program run by the Food and Nutrition Services Branch of the United States Department of Agriculture. The program provides benefits, in the form of reloadable debit cards, to families in need of financial assistance. Money can be used to buy food such as bread, grains, meat, fish and poultry, dairy products, snacks, and even seeds which can be used to grow food.

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Although SNAP is a federal program, residents apply at the state level. Income eligibility requirements vary by state. In August 2021, for the first time in 24 years, the US government reassessed the Thrifty Food Plan, which is the plan used to calculate SNAP benefits. As a result, benefit amounts increased to reflect current food prices at the time, while eligible food items were expanded to include more fish and red and orange vegetables, according to a USDA press release. . Additionally, the calorie allowance of the Sparing Eating Plan has been increased slightly to reflect a healthy and active lifestyle.

The Thrifty Food Plan helps the US government estimate the cost of a nutritious diet for a family of four. SNAP benefits are calculated using TFP and then adjusted for the number of people in a household.

To be eligible for SNAP, recipients must have a gross monthly income – before any deductions – equal to or less than 130% of the poverty level. For example, in 2022, a family of three may have an income of 130% of $1,830 per month, which is the current federal poverty level. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a family of three with a net income of about $28,550 may qualify for SNAP benefits. In addition, the net income, after deductions, must be equal to or less than the poverty line. Finally, family assets must also meet certain limits: $3,750 if you have someone over 60 or a disabled person in your home, or $2,500 or less if you have no elderly or disabilities in the household, according to the CBPP.

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The SNAP program was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, or simply Food Stamps. Today, the stamp books that people used to cash in their benefits have been replaced by electronic benefit transfer cards, which look like debit cards and are accepted at most grocery stores and many other retailers that sell groceries, including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 and Target. Amazon also accepts EBT cards for eligible food purchases.

For more information or to apply, click here to go to the USDA website.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer with interests in finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. His long list of publishing credits includes Bankrate, Lending Tree and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology and entertainment website. She lives in Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten and three lizards of different sizes and personalities – plus her two children and her husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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