What Are The Difference Between Food Stamps Vs. Food Pantry?

Food Stamps Vs. Food Pantry
Food Stamps Vs. Food Pantry

These two names can sound confusing to some of us, and we get it. They both have food to their names. But the food stamps and food pantry are two completely different organizations. This article will briefly discuss the food pantry or food bank, as we already have an entire page dedicated to the food pantry here. But will discuss food stamps in full. But first, what is the difference between food stamps vs. food pantry?

A food pantry is a charity organization that accepts food items from companies and people who have more and then distributes the food items to people who have less for free. Food stamps are funded by the United Food Program to support families and individuals on low or no income with money to buy food. 

What are Food Stamps?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps, is a United States government program that provides monthly benefits to low- and no-income people to buy food. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is the world’s largest public assistance program.

Although SNAP has been around since 1939 when it was known as the Food Stamp Program (FSP), on November 1, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law a US$40 billion economic stimulus package that included provisions for improving and expanding it. As a result, the name was changed from FSP to SNAP in 2009 during Barack Obama’s first month in office.

History of Food stamps

The origins of government programs providing food to poor people go back to the New Deal era. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Federal Government provided cash, in the form of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, to states to supplement their relief programs. Then in 1943, the United States Congress passed the Food Stamp Act, which authorized a federal food stamp program for homeless people and those with low income to provide them with a food allowance.

Along with farm subsidies, these programs are seen as responsible for improving and expanding nationwide agricultural production had never been achieved or was challenging due to extremes of weather and soil conditions.

SNAP was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to supplement food supplies for low-income neighborhoods with high unemployment and for, senior citizens and the disabled who were unable to work. In addition to providing access and opportunity for low-income Americans, it was designed to improve nutrition among the poor, especially children at risk of malnutrition from excess hunger.

SNAP eligibility is determined by the household’s financial characteristics, such as income, assets, family size, farm ownership, and residence in an eligible state or territory. The amount of SNAP benefits received is determined by household size and income. Eligibility begins with receipt of an Application for Assistance (FA) form sent by either the State or USDA. The application is completed and signed by the applicant, providing a Social Security number, annual gross income, and any other information the state agency may require.

In addition, some states provide benefits to singles without a disabled child or elderly or disabled person; this is known as categorical eligibility.

Under SNAP rules, applicants must have assets that fall below certain limits. In 2014, single households (no other adults) with assets less than $2,500 (excluding vehicles) were eligible for benefits in every state. Amounts vary based on household size; for instance, the limit was $3,500 for two-person households in 2014 and increased to $4,000 in 2015; it is indexed in increments of $250 for each additional person after that.

After determining the number of assets and income, the rules require that a household may have no more than $2,000 in countable resources. Resources are cash or other liquid assets, such as savings accounts. A limited number of financial instruments not considered resources include:

  • Some savings bonds.
  • Insurance policies with a cash value.
  • Retirement accounts such as 401(k).
  • A few others.

A “resource” can also be a home or car. However, the value of the household’s primary residence is not included as a resource.

Exclusions are made for certain assets, such as the primary residence, one automobile per household, burial plots, personal effects, and certain education savings accounts. Households entering the program after January 1, 2002, need only comply with the $2,000 resource limit.

Most states use their SNAP standards for determining eligibility and benefit levels. States must have 85% of households with incomes at or below 130% of their poverty level participating; otherwise, they may face penalties from USDA. Some states have additional eligibility requirements concerning income and assets (such as liquid assets).

How do Food stamps work?

SNAP benefits are provided in the form of food stamps. Participants must register each month with their state’s Department of Human Services and may need to visit a local food bank or another assistance program for additional help. The amount of assistance varies by household size and income, but you must supplement all benefits. The amount of SNAP benefit per household depends on how many people (and children) live in the household and its gross income calculated before any deductions for rent, utilities, or other expenses.

What are the benefits of Food stamps (SNAP)?

Below are some food stamps benefits families and individuals get for receiving SNAP.

  1. Households’ access to SNAP benefits impacts the health and happiness of its members, especially youngsters.
  2. Improvements in young children’s health for households receiving more SNAP.
  3. SNAP expansion also reduced Medicaid expenses.
  4. SNAP has a significant impact on families’ health and economic well-being.
  5. SNAP’s ability to reduce food insecurity is beneficial to local economies.
  6. Participation in SNAP decreased the percentage of families overall experiencing food insecurity and the percentage of households experiencing extremely low food security by around 17 and 19 percent, respectively.
  7. Following SNAP for six months, there was a roughly 33 percent reduction in child food insecurity.

Who benefits the most from food stamps?

The households with the fewest means to buy food are the primary focus of SNAP. Approximately 92 percent of SNAP payments go to families earning at or below the federal poverty level and 54 percent to those earning at or below half of that amount. These characteristics make SNAP a potent instrument for reducing poverty.

Do food stamps affect your future?

No. Receiving government assistance has no impact on your credit scores, just as the amount of your wage has no bearing on it. In other words, you shouldn’t be concerned about what it means for your credit score if you reside in a low-income home and are qualified for food assistance.

Can college students get food stamps?

Unless they qualify for an exception, students enrolled at least half-time in a higher education institution (such as a college, university, trade, or technical school) are ineligible for SNAP benefits. What constitutes the higher education institution decides half-time enrolment.

What is the difference between Food stamps and Food pantry?

We have put together some differences between a food pantry and food stamps, and they include the following:

  1. Everyone is qualified for food banks, but only some qualify for food stamps.
  2. Food pantries must wait in lines while food stamps go into an account.
  3. Typically, churches or other groups organize food banks, while the government runs food stamps. 
  4. You often receive a box of food donated to a food bank while you get money with food stamps.
  5. Typically, it consists of canned or boxed food, with the occasional addition of fruit, meat, dairy, or bread, while food stamps are a form of monthly money. 
  6. Since the boxes are usually pre-assembled at a warehouse before being distributed, you rarely get to choose what you get while you buy what you need with food stamps.
  7. The primary distinction is that you may purchase whatever you want, in any quantity, with food stamps, but all you get from a food bank is food. 
  8. You get what you get, and the meal can wind up in the garbage if it’s something you can’t or won’t eat because of allergies or personal preferences.
  9. You can only use food stamps in stores that accept them.
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