SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; it provides government funding to low-income Americans to help them buy healthy food. SNAP is an entitlement benefit for all Americans, both for those who live alone and for families. People of any age can receive SNAP benefits. The benefits are delivered on a plastic electronic benefits transfer card, or EBT. Users can present the card at grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers' markets and other locations to help pay for groceries.
SNAP was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service helps connect Americans in need with their local SNAP benefits office, where they may submit an application to join the program. Those interested in applying for SNAP may also find information on where to apply in the telephone directory; SNAP offices are listed under Food Stamps, Social Services, Human Services or Public Assistance. Each state has a separate SNAP application form.
To be eligible for SNAP, households must meet income and resource requirements. Households must fall beneath a certain threshold of countable resources, such as a bank account, to meet these requirements. In most states, retirement benefits, real property and Supplemental Security Income are not counted. States have different rules regarding whether vehicles are counted; in some states, vehicles are exempt.
Households must also meet gross and net income tests to be eligible for SNAP. These rules are different for the elderly and disabled. FNS.USDA.gov lists the income requirements for SNAP applicants; the income limits are higher for those who live in Alaska and Hawaii. It also lists deductions, including dependent care deductions, medical expenses, child support payments and the costs of homeless shelters.