The SNAP Program provides monthly benefits that help low-income households buy the food they need for good health. You may qualify for SNAP if you:
- Work for low wages
- Are unemployed or work part-time
- Receive welfare or other assistance payments
- Are elderly or disabled and live on a small income
APPLYING FOR SNAP
You may apply for the SNAP program by applying on-line at: www.njhelps.org
If you do not have access to a computer you may call us at (908)526-8800 and request that a SNAP application be sent out to you.
Once we receive your SNAP application you will receive a letter informing you of the date and time of your scheduled telephone interview. During this interview the worker will explain the program rules and answer any questions you may have.
If you are applying for public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or General Assistance (GA), you may apply for SNAP at the same time. If you do apply for TANF or GA you will receive a letter informing you of the date and time of your face to face interview.
MEETING ELIGIBILITY RULES AND PROVIDING PROOF THAT YOU ARE ELIGIBLE
Listed below are some of the basic eligibility rules and the kinds of proof you may be asked to provide.
If you have trouble getting documents or information you need, the worker will help you. If the documents are not available, you may give the name of someone, such as your employer, who can confirm your statements.
CITIZENSHIP: U.S. citizens and only certain legal aliens may qualify. If members of your household are not U.S. citizens, you will have to provide proof of their status from the Immigration and Naturalization Service before they can qualify for SNAP.
Even if some members of your household do not meet the citizenship requirements, those who do may qualify for SNAP.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS: You will have to provide a Social Security number for every household member, including children. If any household member does not have a Social Security number, he or she will have to apply for one. If you are otherwise eligible for SNAP, you can receive them for a limited time while you are waiting for your Social Security number.
WORK RULES: Able bodied adults without dependents are only eligible to receive SNAP for 3 out of each 36 month period unless they:
- Work at least 30 hours per week
- Participate in a Department of Labor training program
All unemployed adults with children over six must register for the SNAP Employment and Training Program.
PERSONS ON STRIKE: Households with persons who are on strike because of a labor dispute are not eligible unless they would have been eligible before the strike. Eligible households cannot receive a higher allotment because of a decrease in the income of the striking member.
RESOURCES: Under SNAP rules, some resources are counted and some are not. The worker will explain which are counted. For households in which at least one member is over age 60 and with a gross income greater than 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, the resource limit is $3,250. Some of the resources that will not be counted are:
- Your home and surrounding lot
- Household goods and personal belongings
- Life Insurance Policies
Examples of resources that will be counted are:
- Cash and money in savings accounts
- Stocks and Bonds
- Land and buildings, other than your home and lot, that do not produce income.
Acceptable Verifications: Bank books or statement and proof of other countable resources.
INCOME: Under SNAP rules the income of all the members of the household is counted. In order to qualify, the total income must fall below certain limits which are determined according to household size. All income must be verified.
Acceptable verifications: Recent pay stubs or a statement from your employer; benefit letters from Social Security, Veterans Administration, the unemployment office or private pension program.
After adding all your household’s countable income, the worker will allow certain deductions to be subtracted. The following deductions are allowed for all households:
- A standard deduction, to cover basic household expenses
- A 20% deduction from the income you earn
- A deduction for the actual costs of dependent care and/or a portion of high shelter expenses. There is a maximum on the amount of these expenses that may be deducted. (Dependent care includes care for children and disabled adults, if this care is needed so that a household member can work, look for a job, or get training or an education leading to a job).
Households with members who are disabled or age 60 or older may qualify for two extra deductions:
- A deduction for medical costs over $35 a month that are incurred by members who are disabled or age 60 or older. These costs are deductible only if they are not covered by insurance, a government program, or some other source.
- An extra deduction for high shelter costs.
Acceptable verifications: Bills or records of payments for the following:
- Dependent care costs, such as babysitter,
- day care center, or attendant for a disabled adult
- Rent, mortgage, or property taxes
- Insurance on the structure, but not the contents of the home
- Telephone, electricity, gas, oil, water, sewerage, garbage collection, and installation costs for utilities
- Medical bills and proof of any reimbursement, such as an insurance policy or statement from an insurance company or agency paying these bills.
Benefits are issued through a Family First card that looks like a credit card and is used to access benefits at grocery stores that display the Quest logo.
USING YOUR SNAP BENEFITS
SNAP benefits may be used for food and for plants and seeds to grow food for your household to eat.
SNAP can not buy:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco or cigarettes
- Household supplies, soaps, and paper products
- Medicines or vitamins
- Any other non-food items
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot foods that are ready to eat, such as barbecued chicken
- Pet foods