Do I Qualify?
Call 1-800-479-6151 to speak with a benefits specialist
Who can get 3SquaresVT benefits? All kinds of people. Maybe even you. Getting 3SquaresVT benefits depends on your income, expenses, and how many people live in your household.You can get 3SquaresVT benefits even if you own a car and your own home.
You may be able to get 3SquaresVT benefits if you are:
To qualify for 3SquaresVT, a household must have a gross income of less than 185% of the Federal Poverty line. For those households under that limit there is no limit on resources. The rules are different if you have a Senior living in your home, you receive the Earned Income Tax credit and have a dependent child or a member of your household is receiving SSI, SSDI or Reach Up. Many people are eligible for 3SquaresVT benefits and do not know it. Use our online tool to find out if you are eligible and estimate how much you can get.
If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents between the age of 18-50, you must meet certain work requirements to receive 3SquaresVT benefits. Click here to learn more, and call 1-800-479-6151 to find out if you may be exempt from this rule or how you can meet the requirements.
Homeless or living with others
3SquaresVT has special rules that will help you get benefits even if you do not have a fixed or regular nighttime residence or are living in:
- A supervised shelter that provides temporary accommodations
- A halfway house or similar institution
- A temporary accommodation in the residence of another person (less than 90 days)
- A place not designed for sleeping
Vermont 3SquaresVT offices have set up ways to serve those who are homeless. They can find you an authorized representative or mail your benefits to the shelter where you stay.
- You can get 3SquaresVT benefits even if you live in a shelter and get free meals
- You do not need a kitchen or a place to cook to get 3SquaresVT benefits
- You do not need a photo ID to get 3SquaresVT benefits. You need proof of identity. A photo ID is one way to prove identity. You can't be turned down for 3SquaresVT benefits because you don't have a photo ID. You can use another ID like a work or school badge, a health benefits card, an ID from another social service, a pay stub, a birth certificate or a voter registration card.
- You do not need to be employed to receive 3SquaresVT benefits
Many immigrants can get 3SquaresVT benefits. The 3SquaresVT rules for immigrants have changed, so you may be able to get 3SquaresVT benefits now even if you could not before.
If you are a documented resident of the U.S., you may be able to get 3SquaresVT benefits. Getting 3SquaresVT benefits also depends on your income, the money you have saved, and how many people live in your household. Getting 3SquaresVT benefits will not count against you when you apply for your green card.
If you would like an interpreter to help you apply for 3SquaresVT benefits, you can ask for one and the 3SquaresVT office will arrange for one. If you have questions about 3SquaresVT, call Vermont Legal Aid toll-free at 1-800-889-2047.
60 or older or with a disability
3SquaresVT has special rules that make getting 3SquaresVT benefits easier for seniors and people with disabilities. These rules apply to you if you are 60 or older or get disability benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, Veteran's Disability, Social Security disability or blindness payments, or Railroad Retirement disability payments.
- You can have money in the bank. If you are a senior or person with a disability and your household gross income is less than 185% of poverty, there is no limit to the resources you may have (i.e. savings in the bank). If your gross income is greater than 185% of poverty, you can have up to $3,250 in the bank and still get 3SquaresVT benefits.
- You can get more 3SquaresVT benefits each month if you receive fuel assistance. If you get fuel assistance, you can get more 3SquaresVT benefits each month. Even if you live in subsidized housing or your heat is included in your rent, you may be able to get fuel assistance. Your local Agency on Aging can answer your questions and help you apply.
- You can get 3SquaresVT benefits without going to the 3SquaresVT office. Most 3SquaresVT interviews are now done over the phone.
- Your 3SquaresVT benefits can be deposited into a bank account. If everyone in your 3SquaresVT household is 65 or older or is entitled to SSI/AABD, you do not have to use the 3SquaresVT card. Instead, you can get 3SquaresVT benefits in the form of cash deposited right into your bank account. You can use cash or a check to buy food. If you do not have a bank account, you can get 3SquaresVT benefits in the form of cash on the 3SquaresVT card.
- You can get more 3SquaresVT benefits if you have monthly medical expenses. You may be able to get more 3SquaresVT benefits each month if you have medical costs not covered by insurance. These costs will be deducted from your income and can help you get more 3SquaresVT benefits. Medical costs are things like: over-the-counter medications; insurance premiums; medical supplies; dentures; prescriptions; and a home health aid (nurse). Click here for more information on claiming medical expenses as a deduction.
- You can get 3SquaresVT benefits if you own a car and your home. You can own a car of any value and own your home and the land you live on and still get 3SquaresVT benefits. These things will not be taken away from you if you apply for 3SquaresVT benefits.
- You can save money in a PASS plan and get 3SquaresVT benefits. If you get SSI and have a PASS plan, the money you save in your PASS plan does not count against you when you apply for 3SquaresVT benefits.
- You do not have to reapply for 3SquaresVT benefits as often as other people. If everyone in your 3SquaresVT household is 65 or older or has a disability, you will be able to get 3SquaresVT benefits for 1-2 years before you will be asked to fill out another application.
- You can get help with your 3SquaresVT application at your local Area Agency on Aging if you are 60 or older or Community Action Agency if you are person with a disability and under 60.
An adult with or without children
3SquaresVT has special rules that may help military families get even more benefits.
Additionally if you are eligible for 3SquaresVT, your children also become eligible for free school meals as well. In total, these resources can add up to thousands of dollars in savings for your family plus more nutritious meals on the table.
- You may be eligible if you have a limited income; how much you get in monthly benefits is based on your living expenses.
- Combat pay is not counted as income for military families in 3SquaresVT. Some households may not be eligible when a service member is stateside and working. But they may qualify when a member is deployed.
- Families already getting 3SquaresVT before deployment may be eligible for more benefits during combat service.
3SquaresVT defines a student as someone in a business, technical, trade, or vocational school or college half time or more (use your school's definition of halftime). If you are in school less than half time, these rules do not apply to you, and you can get 3SquaresVT benefits based on the regular rules.
If you are in school half time or more, you can get 3SquaresVT benefits if:
- You are 17 or younger or 50 or older; or
- You have a disability; or
- You receive Reach Up; or
- You are in the JOBS program; or
- You participate in work study; or
- You work at least 20 hours a week for pay; or
- You are in an on-the-job training program; or
- You take care of a child under age 6; or
- You take care of a child age 6 - 12; or
- You are a single parent in school full time and responsible for the care of a dependent child under 12; or
- You are in school through:
- Workforce Investment Act
- Employment and Training Program
- A Trade Act Program
- Employment and training program for low income households operated by State or local government.
If you are in school half time or more and none of these statements apply to you, you cannot get 3SquaresVT benefits.
An AmeriCorps member
Many AmeriCorps members are eligible for 3SquaresVT benefits.
There are additional 3SquaresVT rules apply only to AmeriCorps members. These rules are different depending on which program you are enrolled.
- AmeriCorps*VISTA members:
Due to 3SquaresVT rules that apply only to AmeriCorps*VISTA participants, it is recommended that you fill out your application and mail it in before you participate in your pre-service orientation. If you are already enrolled in 3SquaresVT when you being your term of service, Federal regulations specify that your monthly living allowance is exempt from consideration as earned income. However, if you sign up for benefits after you begin your VISTA service, your monthly living allowance will be considered earned income, lowering the amount of 3SquaresVT dollars you will receive each month. If you have any questions, contact us at 1-800-908-5510.
- AmeriCorps State or National or AmeriCorps NCCC:
As an AmeriCorps State or National or AmeriCorps NCCC member, you are required to report your monthly living allowance as well as any other income to Economic Services. However, 3SquaresVT policy states that your AmeriCorps earnings are to be excluded from consideration as income when calculating your monthly benefits. This provision will help raise your monthly benefit amount.
A Household that received the Earned Income Tax Credit
Working families with children who receive the Vermont Earned Income Tax Credit (VT EITC) are automatically income eligible for 3SquaresVT food benefits and may be eligible for free school meals. Click here (link to EITC Page) to learn how to get this important tax credit.
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Click on How Much Can I Get? to find out your possible benefit amount.