Although food stamps recipients must follow certain rules to sustain their benefits, how you’re supposed to “use them or lose them” is misunderstood.
While the actual stamps have been replaced by a card better known its acronym, EBT (electronic benefits transfer), you actually don’t have to use up the entire balance by the end of the month.
According to the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which administers food stamps, unused benefits remain on the card for up to one year.
However, if you stop using the card for a full year, the state government will remove the benefits from your card.
Food Stamps and States
Each state has its own application for applying for food stamps, many being similar in guidelines whether applicants have jobs. There also exists the possibility of losing all or some benefits should your household income increase.
You are also responsible for reporting honestly to the government these changes to your income and proof of employment.
Should you fail to do so, you might be banned from the program, or, worse, face a fine or jail time, particularly if you lie or withhold information multiple times.
Timing of Benefits
When benefits start does vary, though. States will typically go by case number, when you signed up, or the last digit of your social security number.
You can review the full list of states on the USDA website here. How much you receive also varies and is dependent on net income of your household and how many people there are.
In order to qualify, your gross monthly household income must not exceed 130% of federal poverty guidelines. In addition, your net monthly household income cannot exceed 100% of federal poverty guidelines.
Food Stamps Help in Tough Times
Going through tough times can be discouraging and defeating; it’s nice to know there are ways to get help such as SNAP.
Readers, are you now or have you ever been on food stamps? If so, how quickly did you use up the benefits each month?
EBT in the Age of Coronavirus
In times like the COVID pandemic, it is vital to use any resource available to you. With congress dragging their feet in getting stimulus taken care of, you need to be aggressive in getting all the assistance you can. You’ve payed into these systems with your tax dollars, let those tax dollars work for you! During the pandemic, certain enhancements to the EBT program have been put in place. You may qualify for more EBT than you normally would, or be able to pick up free meals for your child from their school (even if they aren’t going in-person). If you believe you may qualify, go to https://www.usa.gov/food-help to get all the necessary info in getting food assistance during this crisis. With such high unemployment numbers, there are so many out there that qualify and don’t even know it.
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Trey LaRocca is a freelance writer, financial sales worker, and tech guy. When he isn’t out and about or at work, he’s usually at home enjoying some video games and a beer. Currently residing in Newport Beach, this California Kid can be found at the beach on any given weekend. Trey has years of experience in day/swing trading, financial analytics, and sales.