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In today’s post, we’re going to uncover ten little-known facts about the Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the food stamp program. The Georgia food stamp program provides eligible, low-income households with monthly cash benefits to purchase nutritious foods from approved grocery stores. This program is mandated by the Georgia Department of Human Services.
In the past year there have been many changes affecting the Georgia food stamp program. The new program changes require that all “able-bodied” adults that do not have children have a job or are enrolled into job training. If they do not fulfill these requirements, they will only be permitted to college food stamps for three months in a three-year period.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Georgia program, check out our 10 Facts about the Georgia Food Stamp Program below.
1. SNAP is a new name for the food stamps program. Food stamps were renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2008. SNAP offers nutrition assistance to about 43 million eligible, low-income households nationwide. The program is federally funded by the United States Department of Agriculture through the Food and Nutrition Service. Every state offers SNAP to benefit people living in that state. In Georgia, the program is administered through the Department of Family and Children Services to about 1.6 million residents.
2. Benefits are distributed on a card. If you qualify for SNAP, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that can be used like a debit card at most grocery stores and farmers markets for the purchase of food.
3. Benefits can only be used to purchase food. The program cannot be used to buy paper products. That includes paper towels, toilet paper, vitamins, medicine, shampoo, toothpaste, pet food, alcohol, cigarettes or tobacco. However, seeds and plants that can produce food are permitted.
4. You must qualify as poor by government standards. To qualify for food stamp benefits you must have no more than $2,250 in countable assets. Your home and land do not count as countable assets.
5. Who lives in your household matters. If you live with someone over 60 years old, or a disabled person, you are allowed up to $3,250 in countable assets.
6. Your income must meet requirements. Your gross income can be no more than 130 percent of the Federal poverty level. This means, for a family of three, the total amount of money you make before taxes cannot be more than $2,184 per month. For smaller households it’s less, and for bigger households it’s more. If an elderly or disabled person lives with you, you don’t need to meet this requirement.
7. Average monetary benefits received is less than $300 per month. According to an analysis of 2014 data, the average family in Georgia on food stamps received about $281 a month. That’s about $3.12 per meal for an entire family. For 2017, the average national household monthly payout for food benefits is $252.80.
8. A Social Security number required. If you’re applying for SNAP benefits, every member in your household must have a Social Security Number in order to be considered in the application process. If a persona in your household does not want to be counted or receive SNAP benefits, then they do not need a SSN.
9. You don’t have to be a citizen. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive SNAP benefits, but you do have to obtain a legal alien status to qualify.
10. If you lie, you WILL be penalized. Applicants who lie, cheat or falsify documents to obtain food stamps can be barred from the program for one year or permanently, fined up to $250,000, imprisoned up to 20 years or all/any of the above. Any household member who intentionally breaks the rules may not receive benefits for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and permanently for the third offense.
For the full article on “11 little known facts about Georgia’s food stamp program,” please refer to the original article on AJC.com. For more information on eligibility and recent changes in Georgia and how to apply for food stamps, or SNAP, visit the Department of Family and Children Services.