Low-income American households that reach a certain threshold of need can apply for SNAP benefits, the Federal government’s system that is intended to give financial support to those with problems making ends meet. Currently, the food stamp system provides food care to more than 40 million people across the United States.
In Washington, the SNAP program is coordinated by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). This entity issues and reviews the applications, and then also emits the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, that is used as a debit card to purchase all the allowed items. This payment method is accepted at most grocery stores, some farmers’ markets, convenience, big box stores, and some online stores, like Walmart and Amazon.
Who is Eligible for SNAP benefits in Washington?
In order to qualify for SNAP benefits in the state of Washington (EEUU), individuals or families must meet certain requirements. These demands are meticulously monitored by the authorities to prevent fraud or the delivery of money to people who do not need it. This ensures stability and justice when it comes to providing aid so that it reaches those who actually are needing it.
The current requirements for SNAP are as follows:
- Must be a legal citizen, or a legal immigrant
- Must be a legal resident in the state of Washington
- The household income must be under the SNAP benefits income limits, according to the household’s size (read below)
- With some exceptions, you must work or participate in an employment and training program
- Have a maximum of household’s resources (read below)
For 2023, this is the income limit in the state of Washington (household size, montlhy income (200% of the Federal Poverty Level, FPL), and monthly net income (100% of the FLP), respectively:
- 1 person: $2,266 / $1,133
- 2 people: $3,052 / $1,526
- 3 people: $3,839 / $1,920
- 4 people: $4,625 / $2,313
- 5 people: $5,412 / $2,706
- 6 people: $6,199 / $3,100
- 7 people: $6,985 / $3,493
- 8 people: $7,772 / $3,886
- Each additional member: add $787 / 394
What are the maximum resources to apply for SNAP benefits in Washington?
Currently, in Washington, the household resource limit is $2,750, which includes cash or bank accounts for family groups without people over the age of 60. If your household consists of at least one person over the age of 60, the resource cap is $4,250.
Now, these resources are not accounted:
- A home and lot
- Resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; also known as welfare)
- Certain retirement and pension plans (withdrawals from these accounts may be considered as either income or resources, depending on how often they occur)
SNAP benefits Can be used to buy non-food items like diapers or soap?
SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items such as diapers, soap, toilet paper, or other household supplies. SNAP is specifically designed to provide assistance for food purchases, including fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, bread, and cereals. Non-food items like cleaning supplies, paper products, and personal care products are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. However, it’s worth noting that there are other government programs, like the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, that may provide assistance for items like baby wipes and diapers.
Applying for your SNAP benefits: a step-by-step guide
To apply for SNAP benefits in the state of Washington, once you’ve determined you qualify and have gathered all the documents, you must visit the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) website to start with the procedure. Regarding the documentation, they usually request identification documents (such as a driver’s license or ID card), proof of income (pay stubs, tax returns, etc.), proof of residency (utility bills, rental agreement, etc.), and Social Security numbers for all household members. Take a look at the Washington Connection website for a better comprehension and to fill your application. You can also get in touch with the services’ office by the phone number 877-501-2233.
If you require person-to-person assistance, you can visit a local Community-Based Services office in your area to apply in person. Use the DSHS Office Locator (www.dshs.wa.gov/office-locator) to find the nearest office.
Once your application is submitted, you may be required to participate in an interview with a DSHS representative. The interview can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through a video call. During the interview, be prepared to provide additional information and clarify any details related to your application.
If the DSHS requests any additional documentation or information to process your application, make sure to provide it promptly. This may include additional income verification, expenses, or other relevant details.