Food Stamps Eligibility | Qualifying for SNAP Guide

Supermarket fish counter in Nashua, NH.By: Jane023

Am I Eligible For Food Stamp Benefits?

Food Stamp applicants must meet certain criteria in order to be qualify for benefits, the main one being the monthly income for the individual or family filing the application. There are also work requirements for applicants and beneficiaries aged 16 to 59 with the exception of students, caregivers of children under 6 and disabled people of any age, and people on disability.

Household SizeGross Monthly IncomeNet Monthly Income (After Taxes & Deductions)
Each additional member+$479+$369

Who Qualifies For Food Stamps?

Individuals and family's who have a monthly income at or below a certain monthly limit qualify for Food Stamps. For example, a family of four with a net monthly income of $2,146 would be eligible to receive up to $646 per month in benefits. 

What Deductions Are Allowed?

Gross monthly income is the amount of money an individual or family makes before any taxes or qualified deductions are taken into account. Your local Department of Health Services will take into account qualified monthly expenses when determining your eligibility for Food Stamps. 

Qualified Monthly Deductions:

  • A 20-percent deduction from earned income.
  • A standard deduction of $167 for household sizes of 1 to 3 people and $178 for a household size of 4 (higher for some larger households and for households in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam).
  • A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education.
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 for the month if they are not paid by insurance or someone else. This is described on the elderly and disabled page.
  • In some states, legally owed child support payments.
  • In some states, a standard shelter deduction for homeless households of $152.06.
  • Excess shelter costs as described below.

Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Excess Shelter Cost Deductions
On top of qualified monthly deductions, "excess shelter cost deductions" may also be applied during the application process to help determine the net family monthly income. Note that some states have a standard allowance for utility costs, so double check the rules for your state before adding those expenses.

Shelter costs applicants may include:

  • Fuel to heat and cook with.
  • Electricity.
  • Water.
  • The basic fee for one telephone.
  • Rent or mortgage payments and interest.
  • Taxes on the home.

Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Special Eligibility Rules For the Elderly or Disabled

Seniors 60 and older and individuals with a qualified disability are eligible to file their application with some modifications.  

Food Stamps SNAP Nutritional Program Guides

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