America On Path To Hunger
For a growing number of Americans economic conditions have gone from bad to worse. According to a federally funded report on hunger released by the Department of Agriculture, nearly 15% of all American families in 2008 were not able to adequately feed their families. Fifteen percent represents nearly 50 million Americans. The report indicates that most of these 50 million have already begun to reduce their daily intake of food.
Hunger is even more troubling when we consider the children of America. It now believed that nearly one in four children are on the brink of hunger. This number is more then 4.3 million more than in the previous year. Economic experts believe these numbers are likely to rise significantly in 2010.
As economic conditions worsen, more people are forced to apply for social assistance such as food stamps. It is advisable to understand the basics of how the food stamp program works and who qualifies.
Qualifying For Federal Food Stamps
The food stamp program is federally funded. Anyone is eligible to apply for food stamps. To qualify for food stamps however, you and the other people in your household must meet certain economic criteria. Everyone who is applying in your household must have a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen or have a qualified alien status. This is extremely important to the qualifying process.
You can obtain food stamp eligibility applications at your local Social Security office. You will likely be later interviewed by a food stamp representative and you will be required to present your driver’s license or state identification card, birth certificate or alien card. It is advisable to be both cooperative and respectful when meeting with your representative.
You will also need to demonstrate proof of income such as cancelled checks or pay stubs for each member of your household. Since the allotment of food stamps are usually determined by household income, additional information might be asked of you or the other people claiming under your household.
Put together an itemized list of your home expenses such as the amount you pay for rent and utilities, and such items as medical bills, necessary car payments and daycare expenses. Make sure you are as complete as possible and include all sources of income and expenses – even if you think it is not directly relevant to your situation.
Household Income Requirement
Under the food stamp program, in order to receive food stamps, an applicant’s monthly household income cannot exceed $2,000. However, the limit jumps to $3,000 if any member of the applicant’s household includes a person 60 years of age or who is medically or psychologically disabled. Income is construed broadly in this context and includes all personal resources an applicant may have such as cash, bank accounts, stocks and many other forms of personal and real property.
Also, the income of people who receive SSI or benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, are not counted against the food stamp income limit for purposes of qualifying for food stamps.
Homeless Receive Priority Processing
The food stamp applicant who is homeless can request and will usually obtain immediate and advanced processing of their food stamps. Otherwise most applicants can expect a formal response to their food stamp application request within thirty days.
Finally, if you are in need of public assistance, check out your federal or state funded low-income housing programs. There is also assistance with the payment of home energy bills. It is also advisable to get familiar with the current federal and state funded programs designed to assist people in serious money trouble. These new programs include the American Housing and Foreclosure Prevention Act and the Credit Card Reform Act of 2009.
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