According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 42.9 million Americans are collecting food stamps. In Texas alone, 15.5 percent of the population is receiving food stamps as more Americans find themselves struggling financially as the economy continues to sour. For Texans considering bankruptcy, or already going through the bankruptcy process, food stamps can mean the difference between feeding their family a healthy, nutritious meal or going without. Food stamps can also help debtors exiting bankruptcy get on their feet financially as they try to find a job, find housing or even just pay off debt that survived the bankruptcy discharge. Below are a few things bankruptcy debtors and those who are not in bankruptcy need to know about qualifying for the food stamp program, now known as SNAP:
- For most adults ages 18 to 50 who do not have a child, they can only receive SNAP assistance for 3 months in any three year period, unless they are pregnant, disabled, working at least 20 hours a week on in a job training program.
- Applying for or receiving SNAP benefits will not impact a debtor’s ability to file for bankruptcy or to receive a bankruptcy discharge. This also applies for any other government poverty prevention program such as social security, section 8, Medicaid and general cash assistance.
- Single people, married couples and even those individuals with assets such as a retirement account, bank account or a vehicle can qualify for SNAP assistance. Bankruptcy debtors should not make the mistake of assuming that they do not qualify for SNAP or over financial assistance programs because they previously had a high income or because they have substantial retirement savings. You DO NOT need to liquidate your assets, such as a retirement account, before you can receive help these programs.
To find out if you qualify for SNAP assistance visit http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/help/food/foodstamps/index.html.