The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the United States Food Stamp Program, can help low-income residents in Pennsylvania and other states to provide their families with regular, nutritious meals (along with the name change, particular focus has been given to the nutritional value of eligible foods). Those who are eligible for the SNAP in Pennsylvania will get their hands on a pre-filled ACCESS card, which essentially acts as a bank debit card and can be used to purchase food items at Pennsylvania area grocery stores and supermarkets.
Determine your family's gross monthly income. In order to receive food stamps in Pennsylvania, your family's income before taxes must be below 130 percent of the poverty line. That means that, as of Oct. 1, 2009, if you have one person in your household, you can qualify for SNAP if you earn less than $1,444 per month before taxes. Families of two must earn less than $1,943 per month, and families of four must earn less than $2,941 per month (see Resources section for link to full list of income limits).
Calculate your deductions. If you pay for heat, air, water or phone services in your home, you may be eligible for deductions based on your income. You will also receive a standard deduction of $134 per month, along with other deductions for child care, a portion of the cost for your rent or mortgage and some health care costs for family members that are elderly or disabled (see Resources link for more qualifying deductions).
Use an online food stamp calculator. Once you've gathered your information to determine eligibility, use an online calculator (see Resources) to help you determine your monthly food stamp benefit in Pennsylvania (and once you have determined eligibility, you can also apply for benefits directly through the link in the Resources section).