If you are struggling to put food on the table, you are not alone. Many low-income and lower middle-class families face food insecurity, and food assistance programs can be a lifeline. One of the most significant food assistance programs in the United States is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. In this article, we will discuss what SNAP is, how it works, and recent changes to the program.
What is SNAP?
SNAP is a federal program that provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families. Participants receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that works like a debit card to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers. The program is designed to help families supplement their food budget so they can purchase healthy food and meet their nutritional needs.
How does SNAP work?
To be eligible for SNAP, you must meet income and resource requirements. Your income must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level, and you must have less than $2,250 in countable resources, such as money in a bank account. Once you are approved for SNAP, you will receive a monthly benefit amount based on your household size, income, and expenses.
Recent Changes to SNAP
In 2021, there were significant changes to SNAP benefits. The most significant change was an increase in benefits due to the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 increased SNAP benefits by 15% from January 2021 through September 2021. This increase provided an average of $27 more per person per month.
Another change to SNAP is the removal of the work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). This requirement had previously limited SNAP benefits to three months out of every three years for ABAWDs who were not working or in a job training program for at least 80 hours per month. This change means that ABAWDs can now receive SNAP benefits without having to meet the work requirement.