Friday, February 12, 2010

Food Assistance is a SNAP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new name for food stamps, a program that helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need. SNAP is financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, and administered in Pennsylvania by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) through county assistance offices.

In order to qualify for SNAP, low-income families or individuals must meet certain income requirements. For example, under current guidelines the combined monthly income for a household of four cannot exceed $2,931. The monthly income, though, can be higher if the household contains an elderly or disabled individual.

It is also important to note that many other benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) are not considered when applying for SNAP. As a general rule, licensed vehicles are not counted as part of household assets or income.

The only way to be sure if you qualify for SNAP is to apply for it.

The head of household or a responsible family member can apply for SNAP at a county assistance office. You can also download an application online at the DPW website at http://www.compass.state.pa.us/ .

People who qualify for SNAP receive a Pennsylvania Electronic Benefits ACCESS card that works like a plastic ATM or bank card at supermarkets or grocery stores. The amount of your monthly SNAP benefit is placed in an electronic account and the food you purchase is deducted from the monthly amount using the ACCESS card.

If you think you were unfairly denied SNAP benefits, call NWLS to see if we can help resolve the issue.