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Nutrition, it's a SNAP!

Being a college student is hard work! Not just academically, but   financially too. As tuition increases, many students struggle to make ends meet. Sometimes grants and loans don’t stretch far enough and students are forced to work low-paying jobs. For some, this still is not enough to get by. Having to choose between buying groceries or a $125 textbook is a tough decision that many students have been forced to make at some point in their college careers. As if taking a full class load wasn't stressful enough!

Fortunately, help is available for qualifying students. Many students are surprised to learn that they may be eligible for Food Stamps. This program has helped millions of low-income people since the Great Depression. Food Stamps have undergone many changes since then, including having its name changed in 2008 from the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to emphasize the program's focus on nutrition.

Students who meet income guidelines may qualify if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
* are a full-time students who work at least 20 hours per week
* are a full-time single students who are caring for children younger than the age of 12
* are a full-time two parent students who are caring for children younger than the age of 6
* are at least half-time students who are actively working any hours in a work-study program

*** Note: federal financial aid including Pell grants, Perkins loans, Stafford loans and most work-study is not counted as income against student eligibility.


Here are some additional SNAP facts:
* SNAP is a nutrition support program designed to help people stay healthy through difficult times.
* Over half of all US citizens will use SNAP at least once during their lifetime.
* SNAP is not a charity. As a taxpayer, you are paying into this program and, when needed, you can reap the benefits.
* There are enough SNAP dollars for everyone that needs them. As a matter of fact, about 20% of Oregonians who are eligible for SNAP do not apply.
* Students receiving SNAP can defer their student loans while they are receiving benefits.
* Applying for SNAP is easy. In most cases, you will not have to apply more than once a year.


How to apply for SNAP:
1. Fill out an application for services. Applications can be picked up in the lobby of any DHS Self-Sufficiency office. Call Oregon SafeNet to find an office near you - 1-800 723-3638. You can also download applications in several different languages at http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/assistance/foodstamps/snap-info.shtml
2. Return the application to the office and get it date stamped. While you may fax or mail the application you’ll still need to follow up with the office to meet with a case worker. Call Oregon SafeNet to find an office near you, or visit http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/localoffices/locations.shtml
3. The office may be able to see you the same day you turn in your application, or you can set up an appointment with a caseworker
4. Bring the following items with you:
a. Identification
b. Social security numbers of everyone applying for benefits
c. Proof of income for the last 30 days
d. For non-citizens, proof of legal status for everyone applying for benefits


How to use SNAP once you are approved:
SNAP benefits will be made available to you on a monthly basis. Funds appear on your Oregon Trail EBT card. Your EBT card looks and works like a debit card. You swipe it as you would a debit card, select “EBT” as the payment method, and enter the pin # that was assigned to you. No one except the cashier will know that it is an EBT card and not a debit card.

To learn more about SNAP, visit:
http://www.fns.usda.gov/fsp/faqs.htm
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1274

To learn more about SNAP eligibility, contact: Oregon SafeNet at 1-800 723-3638