Take Charge Thursday: Determining food stamp eligibility

United Way assists people with figuring out their eligibility for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

With a call to United Way of St. Joseph County’s 2-1-1 center, callers are asked to answer six simple questions to determine if they qualify. Some of those questions include: how many members are in your household? Is there anyone over the age of 60 or under 16? Does anyone receive disability benefits? As well as how much is the household income?

If a person or family qualifies, 2-1-1 will then direct them to the division of family resources with the state.

United Way gets the standards of qualification directly from the Indiana State Family and Social Services Administration, which in turn are based off of federal poverty levels.

According to United Way, many people who are eligible to receive benefits aren’t receiving them simply because they are unaware they qualify. That’s why it’s urging people to call their help center and find out.

“We will ask them if they've applied for SNAP or are receiving SNAP, and the point is we want to make sure if you're eligible that you're getting the benefits you deserve to help your family thrive,” said Brian Metzler, an information services and quality assurance manager at United Way.

Metzler said the goal is to help families improve their economic statuses, “To help your family move to a different income level perhaps 13:54 or at least keep kids in school, they're fed and work better in school.”

United Way provides other resources including food pantries and information regarding where EBT cards are accepted. Metzler said they also list out financial resources for individuals seeking assistance with things like electric or gas bill payments and prescription drug cards.

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