One of the biggest struggles for those filing for disability and without income is how do I feed myself and my family and how do I pay my bills. There is help for food services if you meet the income requirements. The food stamp program is now called SNAP which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP's purpose is to help with nutrition by providing monthly benefits to eligible low income households with the means to buy the food they need for good health.
There are several ways to apply for food assistance. To apply for benefits, you can apply via online but you must register for an account first. You can also complete an application and fax, mail, or bring the signed application to your County DHR office for processing. You can go online to find the office nearest you or call your local SNAP office. You generally receive an answer within 30 days, but most applications are processed within as little as 7 days.
To get SNAP benefits, you must apply in the state in which you live and have to meet certain requirements including resource and income limits. You will have to give proof of income during an interview over the phone or in-person. Currently, households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older or is disabled. These amounts are updated annually.
However, certain resources are NOT counted when determining eligibility for SNAP:
- A home and lot;
- Resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and
- Most retirement and pension plans (withdrawals from these accounts may count as either income or resources depending on how often they occur).
Vehicles are counted except in certain situations. If you already receive TANF, SSI or other assistance, you may be automatically eligible to receive SNAP benefits. There is a lot that goes into calculating if you meet the income requirements but generally if eligible, a single person could get up to $192 a month in SNAP benefits.
Additionally, SNAP has work requirements. Generally, the program states you must either register for work, not voluntarily quit a job or reduce hours, take a job if offered, and participate in employment and training programs if assigned by the State. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in disqualification from the Program. In addition, able bodied adults without dependents are required to work or participate in a work program for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months in a 36-month period.
Some special groups may not be subject to these requirements including: children, seniors, pregnant women, and people who are exempt for physical or mental health reasons. This exemption is where those filing for disability get help. SNAP has a form that you have to get from their office for a physician to complete noting you are unable to perform the work requirements. If your physician completes this form then your benefits can be extended longer than the 3 months. You still generally have to renew your verification every 6 months or a year. Call or look online for your local SNAP office.
This is just one of the resources we encourage our clients to contact for assistance during their application process. If you have filed for Social Security disability benefits you may have additional questions regarding filing your claim or what other resources are out there to help you. Please call one of the experienced disability representatives at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation. Gardberg & Kemmerly specialize in helping the injured and disabled.