Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seriously guys? ...Food Stamps?!

Yes, seriously... food stamps! Government funded assistance in America can be a touchy subject for a lot of people. I’m not going to dive into the pool of debate, but I definitely want to write about Food Stamps in The Unsuccessful blog for those of you that may be curious or completely unaware of the program.

If you are unfamiliar with food stamps/EBT or as they are referred to today, S.N.A.P or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, it is a program available to Americans who qualify to receive a certain monthly grocery allowance. The SNAP is a way for people and families to go to the grocery store and purchase food. The SNAP card will allow you to purchase all food products, with the exceptions of pre-made products, such as deli subs and already baked chicken that you typically find in the deli portion of your local grocery store. It also excludes non-edible products, such as your cleaning supplies, and toiletries. And I think it would go unsaid that you can not purchase any alcoholic beverages, not even cooking wine. Depending on your income, monthly bills, and number of people in your household the state will evaluate and determine how much you qualify to receive each month.  

Contrary to many people’s perspective of this program and the term “Food Stamps”, you don’t literally get a booklet of coupon-monopoly-money-looking-stamps. The SNAP program supplies you with a swipe card, and it works much like a debit card. Once you receive your card, you set up a security code that only you should know. Once that is done your card is ready to be used. During check out at the grocery store, once you swipe it will ask you for that 4-digit security code and your charges will be deducted from your monthly allowance.

Another question most people have is about your monthly limit and if you happen to not use all of it in the month. In fact, if you do not use up all of your allowance, the remaining balance for that month will roll over to the following month.

Nearly all grocery stores in the US accept the program. There should be a sign on the front of your store that will say “We accept EBT” or “We accept SNAP”. Lately, I have noticed that many gas stations also accept the program, and again, you will see the sign near the front door to inform you that they do.  Of course, you can always ask an employee to double check and insure they accept it before you go and load up your cart.

To see if you qualify for the SNAP program, you need to visit your local Department Of Social Services, apply and arrange an interview with a social worker. 

Like I mentioned before, I do not want to step on the toes of anyone with pushing this option, but the SNAP could be beneficial to people who are seeking financial assistance to insure they nutritionally taken care of.  Food is an essential in life, and if you are struggling to afford all your monthly bills, I will suggest this as an option. Plus, just imagine how many packs of Ramen Noodles could be purchased! 

Written By: Elyse E. Tishuk

1 comment:

  1. This program is so easy to get accepted to. As far as I'm concerned; you spend you're entire life paying into programs like these, you may as well get your money back whenever and however you can!