How to Supplement Your Food Stamps

Do you find yourself needing additional groceries while getting food stamps? If so, you may meet eligibility guidelines to receive supplemental nutrition benefits. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of supplemental nutrition programs that provide food supplies to three groups of at-risk beneficiaries.

Learn About Supplemental Nutrition for the Elderly

SNAP beneficiaries ages 60 and older have additional resources available to help them maintain a healthy, nutritious diet. Through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), the USDA provides nutritious food packages to Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which then distributes the foods to local agencies such as food banks and other non-profits. These local agencies provide these nutritional products, along with nutritional education, to low-income elderly residents. CSFP foods are not designed to be a complete diet, but instead provide effective sources of nutrients to complement a typical elderly person’s diet.

About Requirements for CSFP

CSFP beneficiaries must be low-income individuals older than age 60. The current income guideline for CSFP eligibility is 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. The maximum income limit for CSFP eligibility increases with larger household sizes, just as it does with SNAP income eligibility guidelines.

What food does the CSFP provide?

The Healthy foods provided by CSFP may change from year to year. Currently, they include unsweetened juices (orange, tomato and grape), low-sodium and no-salt added canned vegetables (green beans, tomatoes and corn), canned meats (beef chili, chicken and salmon), various dry beans and several ready-to-eat cereals.

How to Apply for CSFP

Potential beneficiaries of CSFP may contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to receive additional information about CSFP. Interested applicants can also get a referral from a local SNAP office.

About Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Nutritionally At-Risk Children

Certain women, infants and children who would like to supplement their food supplies while on SNAP can look into Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The WIC program supplements the diets of pregnant women or recent mothers and their young children. Along with nutritional food, WIC program offers nutritional education, breastfeeding support, counseling and health referrals for its clients.

About Requirements for WIC

WIC beneficiaries must be low-income women who are pregnant or have recently given birth or nutritionally at-risk children who are no older than five years old. Income eligibility guidelines for WIC beneficiaries vary according to household size. For example, a two-person household must have a maximum yearly income of $29,637 (or a monthly income of $2,470) to qualify for WIC benefits. Potential WIC beneficiaries can use an online screening tool to further determine eligibility.

What does WIC provide?

WIC beneficiaries can use a WIC EBT card to purchase approved items from WIC-authorized stores. Approved items depend on the ages of children or the mother’s stage of pregnancy. Items include dairy products, whole grain foods, cereals, peanut butter, eggs, fruits and vegetables, formula and baby food. Unlike SNAP benefits, WIC benefits have an end date, so WIC beneficiaries need to use their benefits before a certain time.

How to Apply for WIC

Potential WIC beneficiaries may contact the Department of Health or a local WIC office and set up a WIC certification visit. SNAP beneficiaries can also obtain a referral from a local SNAP office.

About Supplemental Nutrition for Children at School

Food and Nutrition Service offers a number of supplemental programs designed to address the hunger and health needs of school-age children.

About Requirements for School Meal Programs

To be eligible for the free School Breakfasts and School Lunch programs, children must come from a family with an income that is at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Children from a family that currently receives SNAP benefits are automatically eligible for free meals at school.

What do school meal programs provide?

The School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program provide cost-free, nutritionally rich and age-appropriate healthy meals to eligible school children.

How to Apply for School Meal Programs

To apply for a free-or-reduced school meals program, contact your child’s school and ask for a school meal application. Eligible schools distribute school meal applications at the beginning of the year, but potential beneficiaries can complete and submit a school meal application at any time throughout the school year.