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Immigrant Access to Food Stamps

Overcoming Barriers to Participation

By Sonya Schwartz

Many needy legal immigrants lost eligibility for the federal Food Stamp Program with the passage of welfare reform in 1996. Although Congress has mandated partial restoration of federal food stamp eligibility and some states are purchasing federal food stamp coupons for immigrants, many legal immigrants remain ineligible. Many legal immigrants and members of immigrant families who are eligible for food stamps are failing to receive them due, in part, to the enormous barriers they face when trying to apply for food stamp benefits. Advocates can help immigrants understand how eligible people may overcome barriers and gain access to the Food Stamp Program.

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