Is it Difficult for College Students to Get on Food Stamps or WIC?

You may have heard that food stamps for college students are hard to get, but what about the WIC program? WIC is a nutrition program helping Women, Infants and Children to get specific nutritious foods like milk, protein, and whole grains. The two programs are different, but if you are eligible for either one, or both, they can help you get nutritious food for yourself and your family while you are a college student. College students between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not work, and do not care for a dependant child or elderly or disabled family member aren’t eligible for food stamps (SNAP). If you attend college and have a child under age 5 and are lower-income, there’s a good chance you may be able to receive SNAP benefits and participate in the WIC program.

SNAP Program Requirements

The reason some people believe it’s hard for college students to get food stamp or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits is that the USDA says that college students between the ages of 18 and 49 are not eligible for SNAP benefits. Qualified students are eligible. If you work at least 20 hours a week and attend school, or you participate in a work-study program, you can be eligible for SNAP. If you are a parent or a caregiver, you can also be eligible. If you already receive TANF benefits for your children or receive disability for yourself, you are also automatically eligible for SNAP with the exception of California, which provides a cash payment to disabled adults instead of food stamp benefits.

WIC Program Requirements

Meant to assist mothers and very young children, the WIC Program provides meetings and support in addition to coupons for nutritious basic foods like eggs, milk, peanut butter, cereal and orange juice. In order to receive the benefits, you must be pregnant, nursing an infant, or have a child who is five years old or younger who has medical challenges or is at nutritional risk because of poor diet. The program merely requires that you are able to meet low-income guidelines and prove you are a state resident. You can receive the benefits for up to one year after your baby is born if you are breastfeeding, and up to six months if you are not. WIC isn’t meant to be a form of permanent, long term assistance. It is a partial supplement that is meant to make sure pregnant mothers and babies get better nutrition.

It isn’t difficult for college students to get WIC benefits or sign up for the SNAP program. Food stamps for college students can provide good nutrition for any student who can meet the program requirements. Even if you have no dependent children and aren’t caring for a disabled or elderly family member, you could qualify for SNAP if you are low-income and working to put yourself through college. Some colleges assist students to apply for the benefits. You can see if you are potentially eligible for the WIC program and SNAP benefits with online pre-screening tools. Both programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are meant to provide nutrition to people at risk of not getting enough good food to eat.

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