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Former Food Stamp Worker Shares Secret To Getting More Food Stamps

Updated on July 25, 2011

SNAP (aka: Food Stamps)

The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance) program was started in 1961 as a pilot program to fill a need. There were still thousands of people having difficulty making ends meet since the economy had not completely recovered from the Great Depression and the USDA helped by giving out free food products (powdered milk, cheese, and other foodstuffs) to financially eligible people. The government later issued actual paper coupons in different denominations, giving it the name Food Stamps. To deal with the stigma attached to that name, the Federal government decided to change the name of the program to "SNAP", but many people continue to use the phrase Food Stamps.

In spite of Federal funding, each state has it's own application form, a hotline number for questions, and a website where you should be able to print an application. Several states allow you to apply online, but you will need to check with your state to see if yours is on the list. Most states have begun the 211 service which is also a resource for finding out about food stamps in your city or county.


The actual food STAMPS looked like play money
The actual food STAMPS looked like play money | Source
The new food stamp cards have only been around for a few years
The new food stamp cards have only been around for a few years | Source

Tips on Getting More Food Stamps

Yes, it's true that the amount of food stamps your family is eligible for depends on how many are in your household and what your monthly income is. The total amount you are eligible for is measured on a sliding scale. For instance, a household size of 1 with no income is eligible for about $200 in many states. If you make $500 per month, you will not get the full $200, but may be eligible for around $125, with the most you can make per month around the $1200 limit to be eligible for even $1 in food stamps. Only a worker can make the determination.

Also, keep in mind that resources may count. Ordinarily, a household may have up to $2000 in resources, such as money in the bank, CD's, property value if the property is not lived on, etc. In 2009, the government issued new rules on resources because of the worsening economy. They stated that until the Fall of 2010, resources would not count against a person's eligibility.
The rules would extend depending on how well the economy was recovering. Check with your local offfice to get an update on resources. Many workers in our office used to fume that a person could have a million dollars in the bank if they had lost their job or had no other income then they could still be eligible for food stamps.

Now, here's a huge tip: the amount of food stamps you are eligible for is based on the size of your household.However, what is a household? It is people who live and eat together in your home. Your household could be just you, or you and a child who lives with the other parent IF the other parent is not getting food stamps on that child and IF that child spends at least one night in your home each month.One lady even added a teenager whose grandparent lived next to her because the teenager was spending several nights each week at her house with her kids. If two friends share a house, and one of them is working, but the other is not, then the person who is unemployed can still get food stamps using his zero income if he or she states that they are a separate household and stores and prepares food separately.

Now--your income: If you are fortunate to live in a state that has gone to the Benefit Review Reporting system, and you are unemployed, you can apply for food stamps tomorrow morning and be approved for the maximum amount, find a job next week, and still continue to receive the maximum amount for the next 5 months, until it's time for your review, at which time the computer will accept the new income amount. Be prepared to explain how the bills are getting paid, but don't let it discourage you from applying.

Finally, remember that if you have worked before, you have paid taxes. Taxes are what keeps the food stamp program going. So, if you find yourself in need of food stamps, those are YOUR tax dollars--don't feel discouraged about having to apply!

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      Angela 2 months ago

      It all depends on your state. Your household size, monthly income & monthly bills. If Suzie's bringing home 2000 a month and her bills are only 700$. You have money for food. I make about 1600 month. Sometimes a little more.. Rent is 750$ electric is 230$ Water is 166$ Phone is 90$ . my state doesnt include car notes because you chose to lease a vehicle. If you cannot afford food, how can you afford to lease a car & the full coverage insurance? I know you need a vehicle to get too work and places. But I'm a mother of two. Paying for cabs everywhere. I'm living at my means. I get 586$ a month in MD. Two kids me & my husband..

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      Kim 9 months ago

      I've been reading these comments below. You folks need to go, in person, demanding answers from a social worker at the health and human services Dept. The govt (like most ppl) won't give things up ,even if owed to you, unless you make your case loud and clear. Write to your local reps, Congress, everyone and everywhere. And look for local food pantries, they have lots of great foods they will hook you up with if you just bring in your last paycheck stub showing your income. Churches help too. Post ads on Craigslist "in need of food please, anything you can spare" and I guarantee you will get lots of assistance for more than just food! Just be assertive and ask for more help. Ask for a different case manager and so.eone to review your case. Look into your income minus your bills and what expenses you have and what you are left with and exactly how much you really are qualified for and send your proof into your local H&H Services Dept director or bring it in with your knowledge of everything. This kills me to see how many ppl are suffering this way when I know soooo many folks who know how to milk the system and get so much they aren't even qualified for, it's sickening. Keep searching the internet on basically how to legally milk the system, the money is all there to assist you but yes, there is something terribly wrong with the system. Go do what you can to stand up and make sure you get what you need and whatever more you can get!!

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      To the "get a job" response 10 months ago

      Get a job is an easy response for someone like yourself who is probably a single, male with no children... Reality check... I am a mother to two beautiful girls and a step mother to 4 handsome boys... We only receive $541 per month in food stamps... We are living in a small, apartment size home where rent is $950 per month... I am an Assistant Manager making $13.25 per hour and have consistently worked since the age of 16... My husband is forced to stay at home to get our 10 and 8 year olds off the school bus and to watch our 2 year old... When my husband "got a job" not only did we lose our food stamps but the "extra" income being provided by my husband didn't go to the bills that needed to be paid... But instead to solely supplement the lost income from food stamps and to pay for daycare... It forced us into a situation of being smart and having my husband at home to clean the house, make the meals, get our kids showers, get the kids to bed, do the laundry for 8, do the dishes for 8, do the yard work, have someone home on days and summers when the kids are out of school, and to deal with it all solely while his wife away at work... The stay at home parent role goes far to unnoticed and unappreciated by ignorants as yourself!!! When I am at home my husband is a volunteer EMT and fire fighter giving back to the community since it does not restrict him to certain hours like a "real" job would... So before you so rudely tell someone to "get a job" maybe you should think twice... To all of you mothers and fathers out there who don't have it so well off as Mr. Joshua Saraceno, I as a WORKING mother to six understand your pain and frustration with the system!!!

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      Joshua saraceno 16 months ago

      Get a job

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      Shanon Bramblette 17 months ago

      I recommend that if you don't get enough fs to support your family on, that you look into local food pantries & soup kitchens. That's what helps my family when our fs runs out.

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      Tirza Rice 19 months ago

      my ma and i both get ssi together both of us get at least about 733 each but yet we go half on the bills (which the bills are expensive!!!) and also not only that my ma and i both make our own seprated meals and also we buy our own shampoo ect. and also our own house hold items and ect. and also our own cell phones and go half onto the internet bill which 195 an month inorder for me to get updated and keep in contact with my big sister.... and also not only that my ma and i only get about 16 dollars an month for the both of us and also ive just applied for our own food stamps.... and also i HAD TO LIKE LITERUALLY SELL ABOUT ALL THE STUFF I HAD ELECTRONICS ECT!!! just inorder to get food into our bellys.... and also ive gotten ALL the electronics as GIFTS!!! from my big sister... I HAD TO SELL ALL OF THEM TO GET FOOD!!! now all i have is 2 new 3ds xl that my big sister has gotten me for xmas... HOW IS 16 DOLLARS GOING TO FEED BOTH MY A AND I!!!

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      Isabel garcia 20 months ago

      I need more foo stamps .so can you please put more food stamps in my card.thank you

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      Ann 22 months ago

      I am 65 cannot retire working a full time job in the school every two weeks i bring home $537.00. I have a mortgage of $537.81, a car note of $222.33 and my car insurance is $114. Plus utility bills where's the food?????? I only got $16 a month...i need more food stamps.

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      rere 2 years ago

      When you be truthful to them you get less and when u lie to them you get more I feel just tell them about you and not the rest of you all and the other parent can get the rest of the family

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      karen 2 years ago

      This goes to clarrisa " illegal aliens " dont even qualify to get food stamps so get your facts straight . Only if they have kids that are born in the U.S would qualify so i dont think they get billions just for one kid

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      Clarissa 2 years ago

      i am mother of two children and am the only income in my house. my childrens father lives with us but he doesnt work cause it wouldnt be cost effective with two small children. i might make 1700-1900 a month and only receive 211 dollars in food stamps for four people to eat off of each month. what i want to know is how are these illegal aliens getting a thousand in food stamps every month and they only have one kid and both parents are bringing in thousands of dollars a month. thats what i want to know. we treat illegals better than we treat our own citizens and thats what pisses me off.

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      missy 2 years ago

      Im io n ss disability and i cant get but 30mth stamps whats that gonna feed a small dog food?i have alot of housr bills abd medical bc medicare only pays part and i have copays of 30.0-40.00ea visitweekly who can affors this and buy food pay rent utilities car insururance touletries on 1000.00 mth this bs but if i had no job i could get free medical and 200.00mth food stamps house this fair im not able to work got a host of medical problems can barely walk

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      Bob 2 years ago

      If you cannot work due to disability you should apply for disability benifits.

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      Deborah Priestly 2 years ago

      Isn't that screwed up? I mean it kind of reminds me of Hitler in a way. Passively aggressively the system is trying to kill us off EITHER by making us eat bad food (high in carbs, starch and fat) -- OR not allowing us enough money in stamps to eat anything of HEALTHY worth. I am 55 years old and worked my whole life UNTIL MY SEIZURES got really bad. Do I deserve this struggle? Do any of us?

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      Deborah Priestly 2 years ago

      I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts and am on SSDI for GRAN MAL EPILEPSY, can't work because I have about one big fall down seizure a week. And I am on about 2,500 mg. of medications to calm down my brain. Guess what I get a month for food stamps ... $50. I have a rep payee at Vinfen and social workers, neurologists, doctors you name it. How am I supposed to live on 5 dollars a day. I am definitely not eating right. My big sister agrees that I am being treated in a non human way. Comments anyone?

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      melissa 2 years ago

      im a single mother and i get $ 0

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      dorothy 2 years ago

      I get $730.00 a month and only receive $74.00 a month in food stamps , I'm having trouble keeping food on the table how can I get extra food stamps.

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      Deanna 2 years ago

      I am a hard working pregnant mother of a 5 yr old boy. With $800 a month. Plus rent, car note, gas and bills. And only get $16 a month. SeriouSeriously? This system is screwed!!

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      Tonya 2 years ago

      I am a single working mother of two. I bring in less than 1,900 a my,rent, bills, car expenses and one basic phone line costs me 1,750 on average not including ANYTHING else and i get $34.00 seriously? Something is wrong with the system!

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      William 3 years ago

      I can only get $39 in food stamps, and there are 4 in my family: my wife, a 9 year old grandson, and a 2 year old grandson. Our income together is about 2,000 per month. Why can't I get any more than that? I have been told it's because they are my grandchildren and not considered foster children. What is the problem? I am disabled because of a stroke, heart attack, and dementia. My wife cannot work because she has to take care of us. therefore, her income is her retirement. WE NEED MORE FOOD STAMPS.

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      Nancy 3 years ago

      I spend more on Pepto Bimal, cause My body isn't getting the right nutrition on $20 a month in food stamps.

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      Licia 3 years ago

      I see a lot of people get bunches of food stamps. I don't even get $100 per person on my case.

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      shannon 3 years ago

      How can get more food stamp

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      DontDoIt 4 years ago

      FYI: if you lie to your caseworker about purchasing and preparing food separately, you will lose your food stamps. Take it from me...

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      ae 4 years ago

      THANK YOU!! i have been turned down twice in Tennesee, but i'm trying again!