Marcela's Story

Marcela lives with her husband, brother, and two children. She works part-time for a local community center. Her brother was in a car accident a number of years back and has only been able to work off and on because of his disability.

They never had trouble making ends meet until Marcela’s husband was laid off. They were still able to pay for rent, but after that, money was tight. Marcela decided that they needed help paying for food.

Her first step was to contact the Family Assistance Administration (FAA) at 1-855-777-8590 to get more info about Nutrition Assistance (NA). She was happy to find out that if there was an emergency, she could get Nutrition Assistance within seven days. Luckily, things weren’t that bad.

Applying for Nutrition Assistance

Marcela applied online and had to state her family’s income, resources, and living situation. She also found the list of required documentation online. So when she went in for her interview at her local DES/Family Assistance Administration office, Marcela brought along pay stubs, bank records, and other needed proofs of her family’s income and situation. During the interview, she learned that Nutrition Assistance has rules to help households that include people with disabilities. To figure out how much income her family had, Nutrition Assistance subtracted the money Marcela’s family spent on getting someone to come in to help her brother. Nutrition Assistance also subtracted most of the money that the family spent on his medical expenses.

Using Nutrition Assistance

About three weeks after turning in the application, Marcela got a letter saying that her family had been approved for Nutrition Assistance at $700 a month. This was the maximum benefit amount for households of five, minus the net income that Marcela had from her job. She also got her Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and instructions on how to use it.

The first time she went to the store, Marcela was worried that people would know that she was on Nutrition Assistance. She had heard stories from her clients about the dirty looks people gave them when they handed over Food Stamps. But the EBT card looked just like any other debit card. The other people in line had no idea that she was on Nutrition Assistance.