Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Eligibility

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is for people who meet income limits and other requirements to get help paying for their food. When you apply for SNAP, you need to give details about how much money everyone in your household makes. If you make more money than the program allows, you don't qualify for SNAP.

Eligibility may also depend on things like if you (or someone in your household) has a disability or is 60 years old or older. This article focuses on the rules for people with disabilities.

Income and Resources

If you have a disability or are 60 years old or older, the state looks at your income and household composition to decide if you qualify for SNAP.

Note: If you use personal care or live-in attendants that help you in your home, they may be considered members of your SNAP household depending on how you are related. Personal care or live-in attendants are considered mandatory members of your SNAP household if they are your spouse, your child under 22 years old, or a child under the age of 18 under your parental care and control.

The Resource Limit

Resources are things you own, like a car, home, or money in the bank. To get SNAP, you must stay below the resource limit by having a limited number of resources. In general, the resource limit for people with disabilities is $3,750. The home you live in and one vehicle are not counted as resources.

Note: If your disability began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account where you can save up to $16,000 each year and that money will not be counted as resources by SNAP. Learn more about ABLE accounts.

Gross and Net Income Limits

The SNAP income limits depend on the size of your household. There are two limits and if your household income is below one of them, you may qualify for benefits:

  • The gross income limit is 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). Gross income includes all of your household income, before taxes and deductions.
  • The net income limit is 100% of FPG. Net income is your gross income minus the allowable deductions described below.

Deductions

To figure out your net income for SNAP, take your gross household income and subtract the following deductions if they apply to your household:

  • 20% of your earned income
  • A standard deduction of $177 if three or fewer people live in your home, or $184 if four or more people live in your home
  • 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
  • Legally owed child support payments
  • Depending on your income, you may also deduct utilities, rent, or mortgage payments and interest, and taxes on your home.

See the full list of possible deductions.

SNAP Income and Benefits Guidelines

The Benefit Amount

If you qualify for benefits, SNAP calculates how much you get in benefits each month. The amount you get is based on the maximum benefit for a household of your size, your household’s net income, and other factors.

If your household has no monthly net income, SNAP may give the maximum benefit amount for a household of your size. Note: Household size is based on the number of eligible household members; some household members may not be eligible.

If you do have net income, SNAP expects you to spend 30% of it on food. This means that for every $100 in net income, SNAP expects you to spend $30 on food. SNAP gives you the maximum monthly benefit minus the amount they expect you to spend on food.

Formula for Monthly Benefit Amount:
Example

Tim lives alone and gets income from Social Security benefits and work. His net income is $500. After he deducts his medical expenses and shelter allowance, his benefits amount is calculated like this:

Tim's SNAP benefit calculation:

Learn more