Section 2 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (formerly known as the Food Stamp Act of 1977) states, in part: Congress hereby finds that the limited food purchasing power of low-income households contributes to hunger and malnutrition among members of such households. Congress further finds that increased utilization of food in establishing and maintaining adequate national levels of nutrition will promote the distribution in a beneficial manner of the Nation's agricultural abundance and strengthens the Nation's agricultural economy, as well as result in more orderly marketing and distribution of foods. To alleviate such hunger and malnutrition, a supplemental nutrition assistance program is herein authorized which will permit low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet through normal channels of trade by increasing food purchasing power for all eligible households who apply for participation.
The federal program, named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is designed to promote the general welfare and safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's population by raising the levels of nutrition among low-income households.
In Missouri, this program is called the Food Stamp Program. Under the Food Stamp Program, eligible households, called eligibility units (EUs) in Missouri, receive an allotment determined by taking 30 percent of the EU's net income after deductions and subtracting that amount from the Thrifty Food Plan Allotment for that EU size. Most EUs have to spend cash in addition to Food Stamp benefits to purchase an adequate diet. The total value of the allotment is adjusted annually to reflect changes in food prices as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is the method by which certified EUs receive/use Food Stamp benefits. Refer to Section 0150.000.00 of the General Chapter for the EBT Manual.
The EU may use its Food Stamp benefits in any grocery store, anywhere in the United States, authorized by FNS to accept them. The benefits may be used the same as cash to purchase any food or food product prepared for human consumption. Benefits may also be used to buy seeds and plants for use in gardens to produce food for personal consumption by the eligible EU. Benefits cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco, soap products, paper products, and hot foods or hot foods prepared for immediate consumption. Under certain conditions, members of an eligible EU who are 60 years of age or over and their spouses may use Food Stamp benefits to pay for home-delivered meals and other meals prepared especially for elderly persons.
Food Stamp benefits cannot be used for any eligible food purchased prior to the time at which benefits are presented to authorized food stores or meal service. Neither are benefits used to pay for any eligible food in advance of the receipt of food, except when prior payment is for food purchased from a non-profit cooperative food purchasing venture.
When transacting Food Stamp benefits by EBT, the EU cannot receive change.
The legal basis for program administration and determination of the level of participation for households in the program is set forth in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (formerly known as the Food Stamp Act of 1977), as amended by the Food Security Act of 1985, the Hunger Prevention Act of 1988, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the Farm Bill of 2002, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 renames the Food Stamp Act the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and renames the federal program the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) effective October 1, 2008. The program is still called the Food Stamp Program in Missouri.