Applying for food stamps is as simple as gathering the appropriate documents and submitting them to your local Social Security office. With food stamps, an eligible person can receive government assistance for purchasing certain food items from a list determined by the government. However, in order to be eligible for food stamps, you and your household must meet certain requirements.
When applying for food stamps, make sure every member of the household has a valid Social Security number and proof of legal residency. The income for the household must also be beneath a certain level; this varies by state. Financial resources must also be below a set number in order to qualify.
Make a visit to your Social Security office, and ask to speak to a food stamp representative. The interview will focus on questions about residency, income, household members and bills. You will need to provide proof of identity, so plan on bringing a driver's license, birth certificate or alien card.
You'll also need documentation that verifies rent or mortgage amounts, child care payments, utility costs and even any medical bills you are paying. Proof of income is also necessary to process a food stamp application. Proof of income could be pay check stubs, bank deposit information, pension documents or Social Security papers. The food stamp representative will examine the application and either approve or deny, based on the information given.
When you are approved for food stamps, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Years ago, eligible people received a booklet of stamps that could be used at the grocery store for food. Now, the EBT card works much like a debit card. A certain amount of food money is allotted to the card each month, and you can use it at the grocery store to purchase certain food items. It cannot be used for non-food items and unapproved items. When the card amount is at a zero balance, it is not renewed until the next month; therefore, it's important to use it wisely to ration out food needs throughout the month.
Curious how to qualify for food stamps? While there are many exceptions to food stamp rules, you can use basic knowledge and a handy worksheet to determine whether or not you might qualify.
Learning how to check a food stamp balance online can help you stay on top of your spending habits and know what benefits you have left. Checking your balance online is easy, if you know where to go.