Why Is the Food Stamp Office Asking for a Bank Statement?

Don't worry -- the food stamp office is simply verifying your situation.

Having to apply for food stamps assistance is stressful enough, then you find out you've got to supply very personal proof of your situation and the stress increases. Unfortunately, it's simply part of the process. If you truly do need help, don't let this part of the application scare you off. It can seem invasive and discouraging, but the caseworker at the food stamp office just needs to make sure you're telling the truth about your circumstances.

Proof of Income

Your caseworker at the food stamp office might use your bank statements as a way of proving income if you don't have pay stubs or an earning statement from your employer, according to the California Department of Social Services. Additionally, if you're self-employed and don't have a copy of your latest tax return, your caseworker might use your bank statements to verify your income.

Proof of Assets

Bank statements also show how much money you have on hand, which is considered an asset, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A family with no elderly or handicapped members is allowed to have up to $2,000 in assets when it applies for food stamps and up to $3,000 if there are elderly or handicapped people in the family. Your caseworker needs to verify that you don't have more than these amounts in your bank account.

Other Proof

Your caseworker may need to see more than just your bank statement to verify your income and assets, according to the California Department of Social Services. She may also need to see proof of dividends you own, stocks you've invested in, retirement account statements, certificates of deposit and and statements of credit union accounts.

Timeline

You have 10 days from the time your caseworker requests your bank statements and other forms of proof to turn them in, according to the Michigan Food Assistance Partnership. After your caseworker has all the information she needs, she'll evaluate your situation to see if you're eligible for emergency benefits, in which case you'll begin receiving benefits within seven days of your completed application. If you don't, then your case will be completed within 30 days.

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