People living on a low income often need financial assistance to help them purchase healthy food. Without this assistance, people may purchase low-quality food or skip meals altogether, causing their health to suffer. The food stamp program, also known as SNAP, provides food assistance. Everyone has the right to apply for benefits and appeal their case, if necessary.
Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program depends on income level, household resources and residency status. The household must meet both a gross and net monthly income. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture reports that as of 2010, a family of six can make no more than $ 3,200 gross and $ 2,461 net. The family must also have limited funding in bank accounts, stock and bond accounts and retirement accounts. Most residents, including U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, can apply for SNAP.
SNAP recipients that voluntarily quit their jobs or do not participate in a state-run workforce program may lose their SNAP benefits. For example, California residents who voluntarily quit their jobs can lose their SNAP privileges for one, three or six months, according to the California Guide to the Food Stamp Program. Applicants who provide inaccurate information on their application may lose their right to benefits. Recipients who sell or give away their benefits may also lose program eligibility.
If the Department of Social Services finds that an applicant does not meet the requirements and closes the SNAP case, the applicant can reapply at a later date if his situation changes. For example, if an applicant has a decrease in work hours or pay that puts him under the income limit, he can reapply. At the end of the SNAP benefit period, the department of Social Services will close the case. A former recipient can reapply for benefits at any time. However, disqualified applicants cannot reapply during their probation period.
Requesting a Hearing
All applicants have a legal right to appeal any decision made regarding their SNAP benefit case. After applying for SNAP, applicants will receive a letter stating the decision in their case. The letter includes a form the applicant can complete and mail in to request a fair hearing. Applicants and recipients can also request a fair hearing by calling the Department of Social Services office or visiting the office in person.