Navigating the healthcare system can be an intimidating process, especially if you are living with cancer. Cancer brings many other challenges as well including financial burdens that can linger long after diagnosis. If you are struggling financially, the SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, can help. SNAP is a government program designed to support anyone in the USA in need access nutritious food. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, the eligibility requirements are simplified. In this blog post, we’ll break down what SNAP is, how it works, who qualifies, and how to apply for benefits. Good nutrition always matters, but especially so after a cancer diagnosis. We hope this information helps you get access to healthy, affordable groceries delivered right to your door. ❤️
What Is SNAP?
SNAP is a federal aid program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It helps low-income individuals and families supplement their grocery budget so they can purchase healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, breads, and more. The amount of money you receive depends on your specific income level and household size.
How Does SNAP Work?
SNAP works through a debit-like card that you can use online, in-person at most grocery stores, and some farmers markets throughout the country. Each month your account will be replenished with the amount of money allocated by the program based on your income level and household size. You will be able to use this card over the course of one month until all of the funds have been used up or your eligibility expires.
Who Qualifies for SNAP?
If you are disabled because of cancer and apply for SNAP, special rules apply. Households with net incomes up to 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines qualify for SNAP benefits. This number changes every year. To view current numbers, visit this USDA website page here. Additionally, households must have assets of no more than $4250. Assets include cash and bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts and other investments and some vehicles. Deductions include expenses like electricity, water, phone, rent or mortgage, medical bills, prescriptions, and property taxes. The complete list can be found in the link above. In 2023, the maximum SNAP payment for a family of four is $939. This amount changes every year so be sure to visit the link for current numbers.
For people living with cancer, a trip to the grocery store can be difficult due to factors such as fatigue or compromised immune systems from treatments. Now, there is an opportunity for those in participating states to access SNAP benefits online through the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot. This pilot program allows cardholders enrolled in the SNAP program to purchase food items online from select stores and have them delivered directly to their doorstep.
Research studies have shown that good nutrition can be beneficial for cancer patients during and after treatment. A study conducted in 2020 and published in Advanced Radiation Oncology determined that maintaining a healthy diet during cancer treatments was associated with improved overall survival, decreased risks of recurrence, and improved quality of life for survivors. Similarly, another study from 2021 indicated that eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables before and after cancer treatment can reduce the risk of recurrence and mortality.
Online Food Delivery Benefits
Online food delivery offers a number of advantages for those living with cancer, including convenience, protection of health, and access to nutritious foods. With online delivery, grocery shopping can be done from the comfort of home without having to handle heavy bags or navigate crowded aisles. Additionally, exposure to potential illnesses can be minimized through reduced contact with other shoppers and store employees. With online ordering and delivery, those living with cancer can have access to fresh produce and other healthy food options without having to make the difficult trip in person.
Online Food Delivery Companies
Nationwide, stores that participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot include Walmart, Amazon, and Instacart. With these stores, you can easily search for eligible food items online and have them delivered to your doorstep quickly and safely. Many local and regional stores also participate in this online program. To locate the stores in your state, please visit the USDA website for a current list.
How Do I Apply for SNAP?
Applying for SNAP benefits is fairly straightforward but there are certain criteria you must meet before you can qualify for benefits. To begin with, you have to prove that you are a U.S citizen or legal resident alien who resides in the state where you are applying for benefits. Additionally, applicants must meet both gross income limits (the total pre-tax income) as well as net income limits (the amount after taxes). In general terms, net income cannot exceed 130% of Federal Poverty Level in order to qualify for benefits. Visit the official USDA website for your state’s SNAP program and complete the online application. When completing the application form, be prepared to provide information about yourself and your household including income, expenses, assets, medical bills, and other related details. The approval process is fairly quick, usually within a week or two.
Using Your EBT Card Online
Once approved, you will receive an EBT card in the mail that is similar to a credit card. Using an EBT card to purchase food online through the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot is a simple and convenient way to access benefits while avoiding unnecessary trips to the store. Here is how to get started:
2. Link your EBT card to your account and receive an authorization code via text or email.
3. Shop for eligible food items online and select EBT SNAP at checkout as payment method.
4. Enter the authorization code that was sent to you and complete your order.
5. Your groceries will be delivered to your doorstep within a few hours.
Through the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot program, those living with cancer can access nutritious food options without having to leave their home. This program helps ensure that people stay safe and healthy while still enjoying convenient access to healthy food options. With Walmart, Amazon, and Instacart offering online delivery services, getting fresh groceries has never been easier. Using EBT to purchase food online is a wonderful way to make grocery shopping simpler and more convenient. Take advantage of these services today.
Meal Planning Ideas
We’ve included some of our favorite go-to meals and snacks below. Since everyone’s taste is a little different, we’ve left it open to find your favorite recipe online. Some of our favorite recipe sites include Food Network, All Recipes, and Simply Recipes. We hope our favs below give you a great start in preparing simple easy meals that taste great.
You can use EBT-approved foods to make healthy and nutritious meals like the ones above. This list is filled with whole grains, lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and snacks that are high in fiber and nutrients to be sure you’re getting good nutrition when you need it most.
With the right ingredients, you can create delicious meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that will fit your budget and work to support your health. With a little creativity, you can enjoy healthy meals and stay within your budget. These simple and nutritious meal and snack ideas provide an example of how EBT-approved foods can be used to make mealtimes as easy as possible while still delivering the nutrition you need. Whether you’re shopping online or at the store, there are plenty of nutritious foods to choose from that can help you stay within your budget. As with all plans, it’s always best to consult your doctor for the types of foods that are recommended for you and your specific needs.
More Financial Help for Cancer Patients
Living with cancer can be difficult in so many ways. Programs like SNAP exist to help alleviate some of those costs associated with purchasing food that’s necessary for healthy living during and after treatment. The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot provides people living with cancer an opportunity to access nutritious foods through online ordering and delivery. This pilot program offers a variety of benefits, including convenience, protection of health, and access to nutritious foods. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and need other financial assistance programs including grants, please visit our national directory of free grant programs for cancer patients. ❤️