Thursday, August 11, 2011

How To Receive Florida Food Assistance - You May Qualify

A Maze Of Rules And Mystery, But Many Can Qualify

Many people have discovered a United State Department of Agriculture program that gives individuals up to $200 a month to buy breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy, and plants and seeds to grow food.

If your monthly income is at about the minimum wage level or less, you probably qualify for the maximum amount $200 a month allowed by the program. And since 2008, cash in the bank and property owned is not figured in the calculations. The program looks only at your net income.

And those 60 or older have special rules that up the allowable gross income level to $1804 per month, and no limit on assets. Surprisingly, those in that age group can have unlimited gross income in some states and still be qualified as long as they have less then $3,000 in assets, not including a home, income producing property, and car. Eligibility is calculated on net income. 

It will take up to 30 days to receive confirmation of eligibility and the application is made online, taking about 30 minutes to complete. Special rules allow very low income families with no assets, emergency qualification within 7 days.

About 1 in 7 Americans are now taking advantage of the food program. There were 45,753,078 individuals from 21,581,234 families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance credits in May, 2011. (Florida calls the program Food Assistance. Before 2008 it was called Food Stamps.) 

In 2008, the government changed rules and the program name in order to attach less stigma to receiving "food stamps." Since then, because of more publicity by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, and as a result of the shaky economic conditions throughout the country since 2008, the numbers enrolled in the program and costs have about doubled.

The program cost $6.1 billion in May, with average monthly benefits at $133.80 for each enrolled person or $283.65 per family.

For more information and to pre-screen eligibility before applying:

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