Can Students Get Food Stamps?

Q: College is so expensive I can barely afford to eat. Can college students get food stamps?

A: In some cases, the answer is yes. Anyone can apply for food stamps but college students are not always eligible. However, if you need this type of assistance you definitely should take a chance and apply.

Citizenship Requirement: To get food stamps, you and the other people in your household must meet certain conditions. Everyone who is applying in your household must have or apply for a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or have status as a qualified alien.

Work Requirement: Most able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 must register for work to qualify for food stamps. Many people may be required to participate in an employment or training program. Some college students also may be eligible.

Resource Limits: Generally, your household cannot have more than $2,000 in resources. But, if your household includes a person age 60 or older or who is disabled, the limit is $3,000. Resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are not counted for food stamp purposes. Resources include cash, bank accounts and other property.

How can I apply for food stamps?
Food stamp applications are available at any Social Security office. If you and everyone in your household are applying for or already getting SSI payments, any Social Security office will help you fill out the food stamp application and send it to the food stamp office for you.

All other applicants, including those applying for or getting only Social Security, must take or send their food stamp applications to the local food stamp office or to any Social Security office where a food stamp representative works.

When you are interviewed, you also should have:

1. Identification such as a drivers license, state ID, birth certificate or alien card.
2. Proof of income such as pay stubs, Social Security, SSI or a pension for each member of your household.
3. Proof of how much you spend for child care.
4. Rent receipts or proof of your mortgage payments.
5. Records of your utility costs.
6. Medical bills for those members of your household age 60 or older, and for those who receive government payments such as Social Security or SSI because they are disabled.

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