To be eligible to receive Food Stamps, everyone who is applying in your household must have or apply for a Social Security number and be either a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or have status as a qualified alien.

The following qualified aliens are eligible for food stamps without a waiting period:

  • Legal immigrant children under age 18;
  • Blind or disabled legal immigrants who receive disability assistance or benefits;
  • Individuals born on or before August 22, 1931, and who legally resided in the United States on
    August 22, 1996;
  • Lawful permanent residents who are active duty members or veterans of the U.S. armed forces or a spouse or a child of a veteran or active duty service member;
  • Refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
  • Asylees under section 208 of the INA;
  • Deportees or removal withheld under section 243(h) or 241(b)(3) of the INA;
  • Cuban or Haitian entrants under section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980;
  • Amerasian immigrants under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1988.

The following legal aliens are eligible ­without a waiting period even if they are not “qualified aliens:

  • Hmong or Highland Laotian tribal ­members (including their spouses and children)
    who helped the U.S. military during the Vietnam era;
  • American Indians born in Canada;
  • Members of Indian tribes under section 4(e) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)).

The following qualified aliens are eligible if they have lived in the U.S. for five years in qualified status:

  • Lawful permanent residents (they may be ­eligible sooner than five years if they have
    40 work credits);
  • Parolees (paroled for at least one year under section 212(d)(5) of INA);
  • Conditional entrants under 203(a)(7) of INA in effect prior to April 1, 1980;
  • A battered spouse, battered child or ­parent or child of a battered person with a petition pending under 204(a)(1)(A) or (B) or 244(a)(3) of INA.

Most able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 60 must register for work to qualify for food stamps. Many people may be required to participate in an employment or training program. Some college students also may be eligible.

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