Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Obama Phone eligibility and benefits

If you qualify for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, you may also be eligible for an Obama Phone. Let’s briefly review how much assistance the program provides, how the program works, who qualifies for it, and how to enroll.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously called food stamps, provides financial assistance to low-income families and individuals to help with the high cost of groceries. It allows them to buy food at grocery stores, convenience stores, some farmers’ markets and some co-op food programs.

SNAP is run and regulated by the Federal Department of Agriculture. However, most SNAP benefits are physically administered at the state or local level. Eligibility for the program is based on the number of people living in the household and the monthly income and expenses. Benefits are provided on a monthly basis via an electronic card. SNAP serves a wide range of individuals including young, elderly, disabled and those who are employed.

How much assistance does SNAP provide?

SNAP funds are automatically loaded onto an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card each month, which works just like a debit card. The amount that each household receives depends mainly on how many people live in it. The following chart provides an example of the maximum amount of money that households can qualify for.

People in HouseholdMax Monthly Allotment
1$194
2$357
3$511
4$649
5$771
6$925
7$1,022
8$1,169

Are you eligible for the SNAP?

Not everyone is eligible to receive SNAP assistance. The federal government has created certain criteria that must be met in order for an individual or family to qualify for the SNAP program.

Financial Resources – A household cannot have more than $2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account. If at least one person is 60 or older, or disabled, the household is allowed to have $3,250 in countable resources. The value of homes and property is not counted as a resource. Most states do not count the value of vehicles as a resource, but some do. Those on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and most retirement pension plans do not have to meet the resource requirement.

Employment – In most cases, individuals receiving SNAP benefits are required to be employed. Those without dependents who are between 18 and 50 can receive SNAP assistance for only three months in a 36-month period if they are not employed. Exceptions are made for disabled individuals and those over the age of 60.

Income – Households are only eligible for SNAP if their income falls below a certain amount. The only exception is a household where all members are receiving TANF or SSI. Household income must fall below both the net and gross limits listed below.

Household SizeGross Monthy IncomeNet Income
1$1,265$973
2$1,705$1,311
3$2,144$1,650
4$2,584$1,988
5$3,024$2,326
6$3,464$2,665
7$3,904$3,003
8$4,344$3,341

How to enroll in SNAP

Enrollment in the program begins by filling out an application form and submitting it to the nearest local or state SNAP office. Applicants are then assigned a case worker who invites them to the office for an interview. During the interview, applicants must provide proof of household income and expenses. Those who are unable to visit an office in person can appoint a designated representative to go on their behalf. This must be done in writing. Those who are unable to locate a SNAP office or need an application by mail can call the SNAP hotline number for their state.

It typically takes 30 days to process a completed SNAP application. However, families in extreme situations can request an emergency expedited review which typically only takes seven days. After approval, the local office will provide the applicant with an EBT card via mail. EBT cards can only be used at authorized food sellers and for authorized food purchases.

Immigrants are also eligible

Immigrants are eligible to receive SNAP benefits if they are legal residents and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. Those who are on disability or are under the age of 18 do not have to meet the 5-year residency requirement.

In addition, some illegal immigrants who are permanently granted residency in the U.S. or who are admitted for humanitarian reasons can also obtain SNAP.