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Applying For Food Stamps During Trying Times

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    Millions of Americans have had their lives upended seemingly overnight and have suddenly found themselves in need of assistance for possibly the first time in their lives.

    Legislation making its way through Congress provides $15 billion in additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as Food Stamps. The additional money will help ensure the program will be able to assist people who were recently laid off or furloughed suddenly.

    For many people, this will be the first time they have applied for Food Stamps and the application process will be new to them. To start off, you will need to begin the application process by visiting your states SNAP website. That is because SNAP is a Federal program run by the individual states.

    You will be asked to provide proof of identity of all members of your household, proof of income, and proof of residence. *Note* some states will require you to submit additional documentation. Refer to your states application for more information.

    After you submit your application you will be interviewed by an employee of your states Department of Health Services (or equivalent) who will determine whether you are eligible for benefits. If your application is approved then your benefits will be effective based off your application date.

    These are certainly unique and scary times, but the SNAP program can be a vital tool for individuals and families who suddenly found themselves in need of assistance.

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    Great info. You are 100% right about so many Americans are (or will soon be) applying for food stamps for the first time in their lives. And all these people likely wouldn't have ever applied if not for economic downturn completely halting the economy.

    Luckily the stimulus will help this program. Is there any word on if SNAP benefits will increase in any states, or is this new money just going to states in anticipation of greatly increased demand for the program?

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    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    Luckily the stimulus will help this program. Is there any word on if SNAP benefits will increase in any states, or is this new money just going to states in anticipation of greatly increased demand for the program?

    I looked at a couple of articles, and it seems like many states are speaking the same language. Texas, North Carolina, and Missouri, just to name a few, are already asking the government to expand their SNAP benefits either by eligibility, length of time, or by increasing the variety of food products that can be purchased.
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    The average person has got enough to even get good. We need help!!!
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    Here in Georgia, my pregnant daughter with a 4 year old, just started receiving food stamps. Yesterday when she was checking her funds for next month, they were taken away. She is due next month & her place of work has been closed down due to crisis. Why would they take her food stamps?
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    I recently read that my state of Oregon is now allowing Food Stamp recipients to purchase their groceries online and have them delivered to their home. However, Food Stamps will not be able to be used to pay "courier fees" like delivery cost and other surcharges. But if you can manage to pay the fees then you can shop online and have your groceries delivered.

    It is nice to see some states getting creative during these uncertain times. I've heard a lot about unemployment claims being very difficult to process throughout the country but not much about Food Stamps.

    Has anyone recently applied? If so, how was the process in your state?

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    leewade0810 Wrote: Here in Georgia, my pregnant daughter with a 4 year old, just started receiving food stamps. Yesterday when she was checking her funds for next month, they were taken away. She is due next month & her place of work has been closed down due to crisis. Why would they take her food stamps?

    I'm sorry to hear about this. Was your daughter able to get it worked out? I can't imagine why the state would take away benefits shortly after she was approved.

    Also, has your daughter applied for WIC benefits? It is a program specifically for pregnant women and women with young children up to age 5.

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    Nooney Wrote: Just wondering why they would cut off my daughters snap benefits in a pandemic when she has three babies to feed? Now it all falls on my shoulders we’re going through enough without having to worry about how we’re gonna feed kids oh an no option to reapply they shouldn’t have done this it’s horrible

    Is it possible your daughter didn't renew her application towards the conclusion of her benefit period and the state merely assumed she no longer needed them? States typically require Food Stamp recipients to reapply every three or six months on average.

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    JFoster Wrote: I looked at a couple of articles, and it seems like many states are speaking the same language. Texas, North Carolina, and Missouri, just to name a few, are already asking the government to expand their SNAP benefits either by eligibility, length of time, or by increasing the variety of food products that can be purchased.

    States are certainly trying to get creative in making sure their citizens can continue to keep putting food on the table during these difficult times, but the USDA recently issued a blanket denial "of certain requests to adjust Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations" states submitted to address the COVID crisis.

    Among the requests denied by the USDA are:

    • Waiving restrictions on [college] students’ eligibility.
    • Providing emergency allotments that exceed the maximum benefit for a household’s size.
    • Waiving the state agency’s responsibility to reduce or terminate benefits when a household’s circumstances change or the household is found to be ineligible.
    • Treating all applications as if they are eligible for expedited processing.
    • Waiving requirements to use documentary evidence as the primary source of verification for all items except residency and household size.
    • Waiving requirements to verify gross non-exempt income.

    While I appreciate the USDA's desire to prevent fraud, these blanket denials will have a chilling effect on people trying to make sure they have access to quality food during trying times. We should be doing everything in our power to make it as easy as possible to get food assistance, not make it even more difficult.