When an individual or household falls on hard times, the federal government sometimes offers assistance in the form of housing vouchers, supplemental income or food stamps. Food stamps are coupons that low-income families can use to purchase food. In order to qualify for these benefits, applicants need to show that they are suffering from significant financial hardship.
Definition of Financial Hardship
In order to qualify for the food stamp program, applicants must meet both a resource limit and an income limit. As long as the applicants' current household income and resources fall beneath these required limits, they will be eligible to receive benefits. It is not necessary to show that anyone in the household has lost employment or income.
Households applying for food stamps must meet an income limit. Income limits vary based on the number of people in the household and may change over time. If someone in your household is disabled or over the age of 60, you may be able to exclude some of your income from the application.
Households applying for food stamps must also meet a resource limit. Resources include bank accounts, property and cash. You do not need to include your home or the land it occupies when you report your resources. You may or may not need to include your vehicles depending on the regulations in your state. Some states exclude the value of all vehicles from your resources, some exclude one vehicle per adult and some exclude only one vehicle per household. The typical resource limit is $2000, though this limit may be higher if a member of your household is disabled or over 60 years of age.
All applicants must present a valid form of identification such as a birth certificate or driver's license. Applicants must also provide proof of income for all members of their household. Documents that prove income include Social Security checks, pension checks and pay stubs. It may also be helpful to show proof of childcare expenses, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills and medical bills.