The food stamp program is a federally funded and federally run entitlement program. The program is intended to for use by low income families. Users typically gain access to the program by acquiring an access card which they can use at the local grocery store.
- What Can a Person Buy with Food Stamps?
- Who Is Eligible for Food Stamps?
- What Is a Food Stamp Household, and How Does One Apply to Be One?
- What Type of Information Does the Food Stamp Office Typically Need to See?
- What Is the Cut-Off to Receiving Benefits?
- Do I Need a Lawyer Regarding the Food Stamp Program?
Persons with access to the Food Stamp Program can buy most food items, but cannot purchase prepared foods with the access card. They also cannot buy alcohol, cigarettes, paper products, cleaning products, or pet products with the food stamp card.
Generally, anyone may receive food stamps unless they fall into one of the food stamp program’s exceptions. If you are any of the following, you may not receive food stamps:
- An unemployed capable childless adult, between 18 and 50, who has recently received unemployment benefits
- A person who has recently violated food stamp rules, or failed to comply with food stamp rules
- A person who cut off work without good reason
- A person who is enrolled half-time in college who is not also working 20 hours per week
- A person living in an institution that already provides meals
- A person on strike
- A person who is an undocumented immigrant
- A person having US military status
A food stamp household is a group of persons living together who purchase and prepare meals together. One applies to become a food stamp household by application. At least one person from the household typically has to interview face-to-face to verify work history and later receive benefits.
Note that sometime a representative of the office will come to the household to verify some of the information. The food stamp office typically needs the following in the interview process in order to distribute the stamps:
- Truthful statement of the income sources in the household
- Social security numbers of all parties hoping to receive stamps
- Immigrant status of any party wishing to receive stamps
- Utility bills for the household
- Medical costs and disability benefits, if any
- Home address
A family may not receive program benefits it their gross income is more than 130% of the federal level.
Although you may not need a lawyer to get stamps, you may need a government lawyer if your local branch of the program is improperly administered. A group of concerned citizens can work with an attorney in something called a class action if they believe the local food stamp office is unfairly discriminating against parties.