The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps low-income families in the United States too afford food. Before 2008, the program was officially called Food Stamps, and many still refer to it as such despite the fact that most states quit using food coupons or stamps many years ago. The program is funded by the federal government, with administrative costs split between the government and the states. Alabama's food assistance program is overseen by the Department of Human Resources, which accepts applications, approves candidates and allots benefits.
Alabama's food assistance program defines a household as a group who live, purchase food and cook together. Spouses and children are always counted as household members, whether or not they buy or prepare food. Only citizens of the U.S. and legal aliens qualify for food assistance, and the status of all noncitizens will be checked by DHS's Food Assistance Division. You must also be a resident of Alabama and apply at the DHS office in the county in which you live.
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Unless you are pregnant or determined to be physically or mentally unfit for employment, all adult food stamp recipients in Alabama must meet the state's work requirements. All members who are not exempt must be registered for work or employed, and cannot reduce their number of hours or quit voluntarily.
Each household that receives food assistance cannot exceed the maximum gross and net income limits for a group of their size. Gross income is the total wages of everyone in the house, and cannot exceed 130 percent of the federally determined poverty level. Net income is the total income after deductions for earned income, self-employment, medical expenses, child support and housing have been subtracted, and cannot exceed 100 percent of the poverty level. Households in which at least one person is aged 60 or over or disabled only have to worry about not exceeding the net limit.
The benefits your household receives depends on your net monthly income and the maximum allotment for a family of your size. Net income is multiplied by 0.3, and the result is deducted from the maximum allotment. For example, if you household contains four people, the maximum food stamp benefit is $668. If your monthly net income is $1,154, you then multiply this by 0.3 and get a result that rounds up to $347. That difference, $668 minus $347, is $321, which will be your food assistance benefit for one month. If you are not sure how to calculate your net income, a food stamp benefits calculator is available at GetSNAP.Org.