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Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs
Utah – Making Home Affordable options
Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help Utah homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Utah homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.
There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.
Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:
- Lower your monthly mortgage payments with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Lower your interest rate with Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Check eligibility for principal reduction with Principal Reduction Alternative SM (PRA)
- Get help if currently unemployed with Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
- Reduce your 2nd mortgage monthly payments with Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
- Explore your foreclosure alternatives with Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673 (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.
Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in Utah
Utah Food Stamp Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including Utah.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies.
In Utah, the SNAP (Food Stamps) is administered by Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS). The Federal Government oversees the State operation of the Food Stamp Program. According to Utah Department of Workforce Services “The Food Stamp Program is the cornerstone of the federal food assistance programs and provides crucial support to needy households and to those making the transition from welfare to work. The focus of the Food Stamp Program is nutrition. It provides low income household with assistance in the form of electronic benefits which can be used like cash at most grocery stores to ensure they have access to a healthy diet.”
Who is Eligible for Utah Food Stamp Assistance?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Utah, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.
Utah Food Stamp Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
In general, to qualify for Utah Food Stamp Benefits you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Utah Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member, age 16-60, who are unemployed or under-employed must registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Resource Limit – countable household assets are limited to $2,250 or less ($3,250 or less for households containing a member who is disabled or 60 years of age or older), assets not countable include the home you live in, personal belongings, cash value of life insurance policy, and vehicles;
- Income Limits – income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition.
- Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both, standard gross and net income limits.
- There are higher gross income limits for households who have at least one member who is elderly or disabled.
Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits and other sources. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income.
See the table with Utah food stamp income limits per household size below.
[table id=56 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
Utah Food Stamps – Quick Eligibility Check
USDA Food and Nutrition Service offer this Pre-Screening Tool you can use to find out if you may be eligible to get Utah Food Stamp Benefits.
The screening allows interested in getting Utah food stamps to provide some basic information and find out if they are potentially eligible for benefits.
If you use this Pre-Screening Tool you will be notified immediately on the screen if you qualify after completing the questionnaire.
This is a pre-screening information, and you still have to make an application at your local Utah Department of Workforce Services office.
The Utah Department of Workforce Services is the agency in Utah that can make final determination regarding your SNAP application in this State and grant you benefits.
What are the Benefits?
If approved, the Utah Food Stamp Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month, per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp benefit amounts. The food stamp dollar amounts are called allotments.
[table id=29 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Utah?
To apply for Food Stamp benefits in Utah visit on of the local DWS offices or call them to mail you the the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) Application for Food Stamps, Financial Assistance, Child Care, and Medical Assistance.
If you do not have all the information that is needed to complete the SNAP application, provide as much as you can – but you must include your name, address, social security number, and your signature for the DWS office to accept it.
When you file your Application for Food Stamps (SNAP), you will receive form from the office the same day, or in the mail, that lists all items needed to be completed and provided for verification. You must respond within stated period of time – usually 10 days. Contact the DWS office if you have questions or are unable to provide the proofs by the deadline listed in the form.
When your application is completed, you will get a letter within 30 days with the DWS decision on your case. If you are eligible, the letter will state how much food assistance benefit and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of the case is due, along with reporting requirements.
In general, your SNAP Benefits will start from the date the DWS received your application. The SNAP benefit amount depends on the household size and its net income – that is all countable income minus all allowable deductions
The application process may include meeting with the employment counselor at the local DWS office. If you are required to do so and you are elderly, disabled individual, or unable to go to the office due to a hardship, call the DWS to explain your situation and ask for accommodation.
Utah SNAP applicants also have the option to apply for food benefits online using DWS web portal myCase which enables users to apply for SNAP and other State programs and services.
Utah Food Stamps Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
Utah Department of Workforce Services needs to verify submitted information before before determining if a household is eligible for Food Stamp Benefits.
Here is a list of examples of items that may be requested by DWS office in order to determine your eligibility when you apply for Food Stamps Benefits:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Immigration Status of Non-Citizens
- Proof of Income
- Cash Resources
SNAP regulations require all non‐exempt household members to comply with work requirements. Work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job, and accepting a suitable employment offer for all SNAP benefit recipients age 16 through 59 – if they are not exempt.
As per federal SNAP guidelines, individuals who fail to comply with SNAP work requirements without good cause, are ineligible for program benefits and disqualified from SNAP for certain periods of time, depending on how many prior instances of non‐compliance there have been.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 through 49 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
As part of the SNAP federal grant assistance requirements, each State has to offer employment and training (E&T) program to its SNAP benefits recipients. Participants in such programs, where available, can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.
The main goal of the work requirement is to help the SNAP benefits recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the government benefits.
Call 1-866-526-3663 if you want to find more about Utah Employment and Training Program offered to SNAP recipients.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Assistance Benefits?
Utah Food Stamp Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system.
The monetary benefits of the Utah Food Stamps are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Utah Horizon Card.
Benefits are made available on the 5th, 11th, or 15th of every month, based on the first letter of the client’s last name:
First Letter of the Last Name is: A – G = benefits available on the 5th
First Letter of the Last Name is: H – O = benefits available on the 11th
First Letter of the Last Name is: P – Z = benefits available on the 15th
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Utah EBT Customer Service: 800-997-4444
How and Where to Use the Utah Food Stamp Benefits?
Utah Food Stamp benefits can only be used to purchase eligible food items at Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) authorized stores displaying the Quest mark.
Households and individuals get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to use their food assistance benefits at any grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Check this list of Utah Food Stamp participating stores that are authorized to take EBT cards for purchasing of SNAP eligible food items. Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Assistance Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-866-526-3663 for more information on Utah Food Stamp Program.