During the pandemic, SNAP households were given extra money called “emergency allotments”. This meant they could get $95 more in benefits, or enough to reach the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever was more. But when these extra benefits end, SNAP households will go back to receiving their normal amount. Depending on how much money they make, their normal amount may be less than the maximum benefit they were getting before.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, helps millions of Americans afford nutritious foods each year. This program acts as a safety net for struggling households and families and ensures everyone can access healthy meals, regardless of income.
Following the pandemic and amid an inflation crisis, SNAP food stamps are more crucial than ever. If you are part of a low-income household, read on to learn about the amount of benefits you may qualify for, how to apply for help, and the requirements you’ll need to meet to be approved.
SNAP benefits provide monthly deposits on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that can be used to purchase approved foods, including meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, cereals, and bread. Generally, it cannot be used to purchase unauthorized items, such as hot, ready-to-eat meals.
However, there are special rules for these purchases for disaster SNAP, which is available for qualifying households in presidentially-declared disaster areas.
Once approved for benefits, you can use your EBT card at the checkout, similarly to how you would use your debit or credit card. In some states, you can order groceries online with EBT at approved locations.
Additionally, some locations may allow you to order food online with EBT as a pickup option, where you can use your benefits to make your purchase when you arrive.
Your monthly food stamps amount is dependent on several factors, including:
- The size of your household.
- Your household’s income.
- Qualifying household expenses.
Additionally, SNAP food stamps households are expected to pay around 30 percent of their expected food costs, which is reflected in the SNAP benefit amount. Additionally, allotted benefits cannot exceed the SNAP max benefits amount, which is determined by the state you live in and the number of people in your household.
The larger your household size, the more benefits you typically receive from the SNAP program. However, household income is deducted from the maximum allotment.
Fortunately, qualifying household deductions reduce the amount of your household’s “counted income,” so you could qualify for a greater benefit amount or be considered eligible, even when your income is higher than typical limits. The current household deductions you may qualify for include:
- 20% standard deduction from earned income.
- Dependent care deductions when necessary for education, career training, or employment.
- Medical expenses for elderly and disabled household members.
- Excess shelter costs.
Some state programs provide additional deductions, such as for child support payments or homeless households. Once approved for SNAP benefits, funds will be added to your EBT card at the same time each month. Each state program has its own method of determining deposit dates, such as by last name or Social Security Number.