The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”), is a federal nutrition program of the US Department of Agriculture. More than 106,000 households in Clark County receive an average SNAP benefit of $260 per month.
Eligible families must apply for benefits through the State of Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Household income is a key factor in determining the eligibility of an individual or family; in Nevada, household income must be at or below 200% of poverty. Under these guidelines, a family of three cannot exceed a monthly income of $3,052, or $36,600 per year. Many of the low-income seniors and families that Three Square has helped apply for benefits fall far below this threshold.
Age 25, mother of one daughter, age 5 years
Nevada resident: 2 years
Family: Married for five years, husband moved family to Las Vegas for job but then left them six months ago.
Housing: Before the divorce, they lived in a nice home that they rented. Now she and her daughter live in a one-bedroom apartment.
Employment: Experience working in a dental office before becoming a stay-home mom upon arrival in Nevada. Now, she cannot find work that pays enough to cover expenses plus childcare.
Konica’s savings from the divorce is gone. Her only income is $590 in child support. Now she must reach out for help through pantries and SNAP. She said she feels embarrassed to need SNAP, but is glad that it is available to her and her daughter.
Age 46, lives with his father, age 70
Nevada resident: 11 years
Family: After his mother died in 2005, Ken moved his dad in with him. His father has Emphysema and has not worked in 10 years. His father has Medicare but must balance his social security with co-pays and deductibles for Part D.
Housing: Feeling secure with a good job in construction, Ken bought a house at the top of the market in 2005. Now, the house he and his dad live in is in foreclosure.
Employment: After working in the construction industry for 27 years, Ken has been out of work for nearly two years. Unemployment ran out in January.
Ken wrote the SNAP Outreach team a thank you letter expressing his gratitude. “The program is wonderful and I am thankful since I have been angry with no income for two years.”
Age 38 and Sabrina, age 36, and their children
Nevada resident: 18 years
Family: Rafael and his wife, Sabrina, have four children. They have no other family residing in Nevada.
Housing: Rafael and his family receive a housing allowance through the Veteran’s Administration. Rafael is a reserve in the National Guard and receives Post 9/11 benefits for his service to our country.
Employment: He and his wife are both going to school through the GI Bill. He is studying Fire Sciences and she, Criminal Justice. They expect to be in school another year and hope to find employment and fully provide for their family’s needs.
Sabrina said that they are experts in “creative budgeting.” She’s proud that they don’t need welfare, but appreciate their SNAP benefits which help them afford healthier foods, such as enough fresh produce for six people!