Reason for the Program:
Quite simply, the Oklahoma Food Stamp program exists to help those in need. It allows low-income households to obtain important, nutritional food items from authorized grocery stores at no cost.
There is an online chart available to test your eligibility. You'll need to make sure you have income information handy as well as any and all regular bill amounts including rent or mortgage, child support, utility bills, day care expenses and medical bills.
In general terms, your monthly net household income must be below $903 in a household of one person, $1215 with two, $1526 with three, $1838 with four, $2150 with five, $2461 with six, $2773 with seven and $3085 for eight. In addition, your current bank balance and other resources must total less than $2000 ($3000 if a person disabled or 60 or over is living with you).
If you think you're eligible, you need to begin the application process. You can obtain an application:
Needed for Application:
When applying, you'll need to make sure you have the following for all household members: social security numbers, earned and unearned income, resource information such as bank accounts and vehicles, bill amounts such as utility and mortgage/rent and any medical and/or child support expenses.
If you need help filling out the application, you can set up an interview at your local County Human Services Office. They can take you through the process of application and determining eligibility, but you'll need to bring items such as identification, all pay stubs, rental agreement/mortgage statement, utility bills, canceled checks for other expenses and any other relevant financial documents.
These days, those approved into the Oklahoma Food Stamp program no longer receive paper food stamps. Instead, you'll receive what's called an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card. It works in the same way a credit card or check card works, with benefit amounts stored magnetically.
Benefit amounts are called "allotments." Allotments are figured by multiplying a household's net monthly income by .3 because the program expects households to spend 30% of resources on food. That result is then subtracted from the maximum allotment amount ($668 per month in Fiscal Year 2010 for a household of four people).
Only For Food:
Your Food Stamp EBT card can only be used to buy food or plants/seeds to grow food. You cannot use food stamp benefits for such items as pet food, soap, cosmetics, toothpaste or household items. In addition, food stamps can't be accepted in the purchase of alcohol/tobacco products or hot foods.
Other than those exclusions, your buying options are quite extensive. Nearly any grocery food item, food preparation item or food preservation item can be purchased using your food stamp benefits. Human Services Offices recommend a focus on nutritional foods and often offer Nutrition Education to assist you.
After grocery shopping, you'll use your Food Stamp EBT card just like any other credit or debit card, sliding it through the POS (Point-of-Sale) terminal at the grocery store. You will then receive a receipt showing your available monthly benefits. You should keep these receipts as a record and to help you know how much of your benefits remain.
And Just a Bit More Information... If you need more information on the Oklahoma Food Stamps program, contact your local County Human Services Office or call 1-866-411-1877.