Are You Eligible to Receive Food Stamps?
At some point in our lives, most of us will have or have had a temporary financial setback. Maybe it’s a pink slip that wasn’t expected, a medical emergency, or a temporary disability. Regardless of what may have caused the financial setback, one thing’s for sure, you still need to provide food for your family.
When situations like this occur one option to consider is SNAP. SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is run by the U.S. federal government, state and local agencies. The goal of SNAP is to provide low income families or those who may be facing financial difficulties with a monthly food allowance.
Before applying for SNAP benefits it is important to check your eligibility. Eligibility does NOT guarantee approval, but will give you a good understanding of whether or not you should continue with the application process.
Eligibility for SNAP is based on non financial and financial factors. During the application process you will be required to fill out paperwork, be interviewed and verify factors that determine your eligibility.
Eligibility Break Down by Family Size and Income
In order to receive SNAP benefits most households must meet certain income eligibility requirements.
What is a household?
A household is anyone who lives together and prepares meals together. This usually constitutes as parents and their children, but may include additional members if multiple individuals live under one roof AND prepare meals together.
Who is exempt from income eligibility requirements?
Households where all members are receiving assistance like TANF or SSI are usually exempt from the income eligibility requirements.
What are the income eligibility requirements?
The SNAP application requires detailed income information for each household member. There is an income limit for those applying for SNAP, but some income payments do not count towards SNAP eligibility. Income sources that must be counted include earned income (such as a payroll check) and unearned income (such as cash assistance, social security, unemployment and child support)
SNAP income must be lower than:
✔️$973 for a household of 1
✔️$1,311 for a household of 2
✔️$1,650 for a household of 3
✔️$1,988 for a household of 4
✔️$2,326 for a household of 5
✔️$2,665 for a household of 6
✔️$3,003 for a household of 7
✔️$3,341 for a household of 8
✔️$339 for each additional member beyond 8.
Certain deductions are allowed to be taken from income. These include:
✔️20% earned income deduction
✔️Child care expenses
✔️Child support payments
✔️Medical costs for the elderly and disabled
✔️Shelter costs like rent, utilities, etc
Additional Eligibility Factors
You must have appropriate citizenship status to apply for SNAP benefits. Each member of your household must have a social security card, AND is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or qualified alien. Legal immigrants who have children who are disabled CAN get SNAP benefits. In addition children with American citizen ship but who may have undocumented parents are eligible to receive SNAP.
To check immigration status go to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website.
What are your assets?
In order to be eligible for SNAP benefits a household must have assets that are less than $2,250 for a household and $3,250 for a disabled or elderly individual. An asset is considered anything that an individual can use to purchase food for a household. Homes, automobiles and personal belongings are not usually considered assets. Cash on hand or in the bank IS usually considered an asset.
☑️ Elderly and Disabled Individuals
☑️ Elderly is considered any individual over the age of 60 years old. A disabled individual is one who meets one or more of the following situations:
☑️ Receives disability payments like Supplemental Security Income or SSI
☑️ Receives a disability retirement benefit from a government agency
☑️ Receives an annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act and is eligible for Medicare or is considered to be disabled based on the SSI rules; or
☑️ Is a veteran who is totally disabled, permanently housebound, or in need of regular aid and attendance; or
☑️ Is a surviving spouse or child of a veteran who is receiving VA benefits and is considered to be permanently disabled
☑️ If an individual is between the ages of 18-50 and do not have children in their household, they are only eligible for SNAP benefits for 3 months out of a 3 year period. The individual MUST take part in a work fair or training program while on SNAP. This requirement is waived in some locations.
☑️ In addition to the above, able bodied individuals between 16 and 60 must accept suitable employment if offered. Failure to comply with these employment requirements can result in disqualification from SNAP.
Rules Regarding SNAP Eligibility
It is important that you are honest on your SNAP applications. Report any and all changes promptly to the SNAP office. Do not use any one else’s personal information when applying for SNAP benefits. Failure to follow these SNAP rules may result in penalties, denial of benefits or even jail time.