This article is fully devoted to providing you with information on how to increase your food stamp benefits. We did quite extensive research on your behalf to provide you with tricks and all other ins and out regarding this beneficial program.
First things first, let’s start by telling you what Food Stamp is. Food Stamp was the former name for a governmentally supported program, which is now called SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
So now you know that Food Stamp and SNAP are one and the same – a program that provides families that are financially less fortunate with a specific amount of dollars to be spent on food. With the use of EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) the food is purchased at grocery stores and/or restaurants.
Food Stamp or should we say SNAP helps numerous low-income individuals and families put food on the table and get the amount of nutritional value needed.
Thought the SNAP support is great and very helpful, it is often too low to enable individuals or families decent/healthy meals throughout the month, thus it is important for you to know how to increase your food stamp benefits as much as possible.
How to Increase Your Food Stamp Benefits?
Have you asked yourself that question before? How to increase your food stamp benefits? It is a very important question and the right answers can help you turn things around noticeably.
As promised above, herein we will do our very best to provide you with useful information that will help you increase your food stamp benefits and enjoy the parks of proper nutrition more easily. There are many aspects that we must cover for you to learn how to increase your food stamp benefits. To make things as simple as possible, we created several paragraphs.
Know the Food Stamp Algorithm
This is the first step – Knowing the algorithm. If you don’t know the rules or how things work, it is impossible to win, right? So, in this section, we will have a detailed look at the algorithm used to determine the amount of support you receive.
Here is the Food Stamp algorithm (3 steps):
- Gross income – Deductions = Net income
- Net income X 0.30 = Family Contribution (FC)
- Maximum Payout – FC = Your monthly food stamp payment
- Gross income is the amount of money you make. This is prior to taxes and insurance are taken out.
- Deductions are various expenses, such as medical expenses, rent, child-related expenses, and other expenses. The food stamp office counts those as your deductions. YOU CSN SEE THAT IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO LET THE FOOD STAMP OFFICE KNOW ABOUT ALL YOUR EXPENSES.
- Net income is then multiplied by 0.30, by doing so the SNAP ensures that you pay at least 30% of your food cost. This is called the Family Contribution (FC).
- Maximum Payout is determined by the number of people in your household. To get the amount of your monthly food stamp support, you have to deduct your FC from the maximum payout applicable for your household. Here is an example of the amount in reference to the number of people:
- 1 in household = $192 max
- 2 in household = $353 max
- 3 in household = $505 max
- 4 in household = $642 max
- 5 in household = $762 max
- 6 in household = $914 max
- 7 in household = $1,011 max
- 8 in household = $1,155 max
- Each additional person past = $144
Major Benefits Under Government Food Stamp Program
Know Your Household Size – Do not skip this section!
Now you know that the size of your household will determine the Maximum Payout, thus it is extremely important to know who counts as a household member by the food stamp definition.
In order for a person to count as a household member two conditions must be met:
The individual must live in the same home
You must share and prepare food with them
If you have a rather unique situation and find it difficult to determine the size of your household, make sure to consult with the food stamp office.
Use EVERY Deduction Available to You
As explained above, it is extremely important to use every deduction available to you in order to get the maximum amount of food stamp benefits. It is important to fill out each section (if applicable for you) in order to receive the maximum possible support.
If you already receive the highest possible amount of support, then you don’t have to go into details, however, if you are not that it absolutely makes sense to go into details and make sure you are listing all deductions.
Here is a list of deductions that might be available to you:
- The standard deduction for Food Stamps (this is based on the household size) – it starts at $164. The standard deduction is automatically given to you, thus you don’t have to claim it.
- 20% Deduction from earned income (Section N)– This deduction favors those that are working and deducts 20% on all your earned income (wages from a job).
- Housing Cost Deduction (Section O) – this is an important section and must be filled in. The expenses that count as housing cost deductions include house rent and mortgage, utility costs (heating and cooling included), water bill, taxes on your home, home repair costs due to natural disasters, and cell phone bills.
- Cost to Support Others Deductions (Section P) – this is the section where you must list the expenses towards supporting others; your childcare, child support, costs for an adult with disabilities, and alimony payments.
- Medical cost deduction (Section Q) – this section is for people over 60 years old or those with disabilities. Here is a list of disabilities that are considered: Receives SSI benefits, a disabled veteran, Receives disability retirement, and Railroad retirement disability. Below is a full list of a medical expense that SNAP considers as deductions:
- Medical care provided by a qualified health professional
- Dental care
- Rehabilitation care
- Outpatient treatment
- Nursing care
- Diapers for children with disabilities
- Hearing aids
Above, we have covered the most important deductions. There are additional ones, so make sure to ask a local SNAP office to assist you.
Contact Your Food Stamp Office to Have Your Benefits Recalculated
Remember that you can request SNAP support recalculated anytime there is a change in income, which includes all the deductions listed above. In case you have submitted your application without including any of the deduction, you can ask for a recalculation. You don’t have to wait until the next year. The best person to speak to is your case manager.
Other Things to Consider
Above we have presented you with details regarding the most important aspect of Food Stamp, which are deduction, however, there are other tricks things to consider. We have listed them herein.
- Special Diets – In some states and areas you are able to raise your Food Stamp support due to special diet requirements. Make sure to ask your case manager if this might be applicable in your area.
- Farmer’s Markets – There are many farmer markets giving extra food when Food Stamp is used.
- Gardening – In some states, Food Stamp can be used to buy seeds, fruit trees, and vegetables for you to plant and use on a recurring basis.
- More Discounts – There are many additional local discounts that apply to your EBT. Use the internet or ask the local Food Stamp office to learn about all possible benefits.
- Store Bonus Programs – For instance, Walmart, Ibotta, and Costco all offer cashback programs you can benefit from.
- Home Delivery – there are several home delivery options that accept Food Stamp, including Amazon, Shoprite, USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, Fresh Madison Market, Fresh Direct, Schwann’s, Safeway & Albertsons, and others.
- Government Phones – Government runs a program called Lifeline Assistance which provide low-income Americans to access government free phones and cheap cell phone plans. To meet for the program, you’ll need to meet certain income criteria or be enrolled Food Stamps (SNAP) program.
- Internet and Laptops – Various organization have discount facilities for internet and laptops under Food stamps program. All low-income and disabled peoples can apply to get discount or even free internet or laptops under government food stamps program.
In addition, you should keep in mind that your Food Stamps are calculated based on the month that you apply for benefits, thus it makes sense to apply on the month that will give you the most benefits and not on the moth you have the highest income.
Throughout the article, we have provided you with detailed information regarding the food stamp algorithm and other rules, which you should keep in mind when applying. If you already applied for SNAP and believe that you can get a better result, ask for recalculation.
Make sure to keep in mind all the rules and details provided above, especially the details regarding the deductions, which is where you can benefit the most.
We hope you will get a solid SNAP and get the food you need and deserve.
Now you know how to increase your food stamp benefits so make sure you get as much support as you possibly can. What you eat matters a lot, it is essentially what you are made of. As such, it is extremely important to be able to afford the food that will provide you with the nutrients your body craves for.