Food Stamp Policy Changes Make More People Eligible
Anyone may apply for food stamps. The program not only helps households where income is at poverty level, but also helps more financially stable families and individuals that may be experiencing temporary crisis. Due to recent state policy changes which exempt most resources for eligibility, more people may qualify for food stamps benefits. As of March 2008, resources such as property, stocks, bonds, certificates, and bank accounts are exempt for most families and will not cause ineligibility of benefits.
"We believe these changes will open the door for more families who may have fallen on hard times, but will especially help more senior citizens become eligible," said Batisa Edwards, program director of Food and Nutrition. "Property such as land ownership is one of the leading causes for continued ineligibility for many seniors."
In Georgia the food stamp participation rate among seniors is only about 7 percent. To help get the word out to seniors about the policy changes, the state's outreach includes collaborations with a network of public and private senior centers as well as partnerships with churches. "We are continually looking for ways to let more people know they are eligible," said Edwards.
A single person is eligible for food stamps if their gross income is $1,107 per month or less; $1,404 for the elderly or disabled; $1,484 for a two person household; $1,861 for a three person household; $2,238 for four people; $2,615 for a family of five and $2,992 for a family of six. The amount of food stamps benefits a household receives is based on the number of people in a home, household income, and the amount of deductions used in the budgeting process.
Currently in Georgia more than 980,000 people receive food stamps per month. About 52 percent of the benefits go toward children and about 41 percent toward adults. If you're interested in applying for food stamps please contact your local Department of Family and Children Services.