The Food Stamp Program is a program created by the US federal government to provide food to people with low income. Food stamps have been in use since 1939, and they were created by former Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace. At the beginning, they were used to allow people to buy farm surpluses that otherwise were going to waste. The program lasted until 1943, when surplus were not longer a problem. After that, a different food program was created.
Food stamps are distributed in two basic forms: as vouchers in a booklet or as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Both can be used at most supermarkets and food shops, and even to buy some prepared foods such as cold sandwiches, as long as they're eaten as take-out and not restaurant-style. They can also be used to buy seeds to start a vegetable garden, Nutritional supplements and most types of baby formula can also be purchased with them. For disabled people who cannot cook, food stamps can also be used to buy food from delivery services catering to the poor and disabled. They cannot be used to buy household products such as cleaning supplies, toothpaste, or soap.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 55% of the households who use food stamps include children, and only 9% are for people over age 60. Most of the people who receive them are white (41%), with the small percentage being Native Americans (2%). While anyone can apply, benefits are limited to people who are either U.S. citizens or legal residents.
To qualify for food stamps, all people over the age of 18 must register to work and be willing to participate on a work/study training program. For people who are currently working, it is still possible in to apply if their income is under a certain amount each month per person; a household with children living in it can be earning slightly more. Both income and expenses are taken into consideration when deciding if a family qualifies for the program.