Food Stamps Income Limits: Everything You Need About Your Eligibility

Food Stamps Income Limits:

There are a few factors contributing to higher SNAP allowances and revenue limitations. Factors include household size, monthly income, and whether a member of your household is 60 years of age or older, or has an impairment. In this article, we’ll review the income cap for the 2020 food stamps and what you need to learn to apply for SNAP benefits successfully.

Food Stamps Income Limits

What is SNAP?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP), also known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition program that helps low-income families to purchase a variety of foods which are the basis for better nutrition. If you are eligible for benefits, your monthly allowance will be emitted to the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card electronically. You will use the EBT card used to purchase food in grocery shops, convenience stores and the markets of certain farmers and community co-op programs. The US Department of Agriculture ( USDA) is the federal agency that oversees the Food Supplement Program. The system is conducted at the state level.

What it Offers

It helps people buy the food they need for healthy living. People with SNAP benefits can also buy garden seeds. SNAP food benefits are placed on the EBT Card and can be used at any store that accepts SNAP just like a credit card.

SNAP can’t be used to buy:

  • Tobacco.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Things you can’t eat or drink.
  • Pay for food bills you owe.

Who can receive these services?

Most low-income households will get SNAP benefits. The rules are complex so there are not all the details here. The most important factors which determine the amount of SNAP benefits and their eligibility are:

  • Income and expenses;
  • The number of persons who live and eat together
  • Most adults age 18 to 49 with no children in the home can get SNAP for only 3 months in a 3-year period. The benefit period might be longer if the person works at least 20 hours a week or is in a job or training program. Some adults might not have to work to get benefits, such as those who have a disability or are pregnant.
  • The only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to apply.

Who can’t receive SNAP Benefits?

Federal rules say some people can’t get SNAP benefits irrespective of how much they earn. For starters, most boarders, some non-citizens, most strikers and people living in certain institutions.

How much does someone get each month?

The monthly SNAP Benefit amount depends on the number of people in the “SNAP unit” and the monthly income available to meet needs after the caseworker withdraws the allowable deductions from gross income (such as rent and utilities). Depending on income, this amount could be less.

Who can apply for food stamps?

  • The head of the household
  • The spouse of the head of household
  • Any other responsible household member
  • A designated authorized representative (can be a friend, relative, neighbor, or anyone else the applicant trusts to go food shopping and use their SNAP benefits)

How to Apply for Food Stamps

  1. Determine the number of people in your household. This is directly related to the amount of money distributed through SNAP. The total household income must be below a certain amount based on the number of people in the household.
  2. Determine your household resources or assets. You may have $2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account. If at least one person is 60 years old or older, or is disabled the household may have $3,500 in countable resources. Resources do not include SSI, TANF, and in most states vehicles.
  3. Determine your income. If your household only consists of one person, then the gross monthly income to be eligible for SNAP is $1,287 (net $990). For two people, gross is $1,726 (net $1,335). The numbers increase from there.
  4. Find out if you are eligible for any deductions. Those can include but are not limited to, large households, dependent care for work, training or education, medical expenses for elderly or disabled, shelter costs for homeless, and more.
  5. Determine employment status
  6. Are you eligible? Some people, regardless of their income or assets, are not eligible for SNAP. These people include workers on strike, unauthorized immigrants, and can even mean certain lawful immigrants. If you are a childless adult who is unemployed without disabilities, you are limited to three months of SNAP benefits every three years.
  7. Apply for SNAP. There are several options for applying, and although only one member of the households needs to apply, everyone living in the household must be included on the application, along with their income.

Documents You May Need for SNAP Application

The examples given below are to help you get your caseworker ready for your SNAP interview. Provide copies of necessary documents to complete your submission. If you have a phone interview, you will give the correct documentation to your caseworker in copies BEFORE the scheduled interview date.

Bring along the required documents with you for an IN-OFFICE INTERVIEW. If you need assistance in obtaining or copying either of these documents , please contact the caseworker listed on your letter of appointment, or visit your local food stamps.

CHILD SUPPORT PAID

A copy of the court order and proof of the amount paid, such as a canceled check or a written statement.

EARNED INCOME

Provide 4 weeks of pay stubs or a letter from your employer.

IDENTIFICATION

An applicant and/or authorized representative will need at least ONE form of identification such as:

  • Passport or Certificate of Naturalization
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate
  • Voter registration card
  • Military or state ID card
  • Work or school ID card
  • Health benefit or a library card

A Social Security number for all household members applying for benefits is required. (Social Security cards are not required.)

IMMIGRATION STATUS

If a non-citizen, proof of immigration status is required and sponsorship information may be needed.

MEDICAL EXPENSES

Individuals with a disability or age 60 or above: medical costs that are NOT REIMBURSED including doctor co-pays, mileage costs, therapy expenses, prescription costs, Medicare card showing “Part B” and “Part-D” coverage.

RESIDENCY

One document indicating current address (i.e. utility bill, bank statement, etc.)

RESOURCES– This may include verification of liquid resources, bank statements, stock and bond certificates, and proof of property ownership.

Vehicle registration may be required.

STUDENT INCOME

An applicant may be required to provide verification of educational (Loans/Grants/Scholarship) expenses including, but not limited to, tuition and fees.

UNEARNED INCOME

Most recent copy of:

  • Social Security award letter
  • Proof of unemployment
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Pension
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • TDI
  • Rental income
  • Dividends or any interest income
  • Adoption subsidy
  • EITC
  • Foster care income
  • Out of state assistance, etc.

Submit Application

Most states offer 4 different ways to apply for food stamps

Option 1 – Apply online

The following 46 states allow you to apply for food stamps online.

AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN (some counties), KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MO, MN, MT, MS, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WI

To apply online, click here and locate your state and you will be provided a link to their food stamps application page.

Option 2 – Apply In Person

Visit your state’s food stamps office location near you.

Option 3 – Apply By mail or fax

You can also apply for food stamps by downloading an application, and completing it, and returning it to your state’s food stamps agency. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have printable applications.

Option 4 – Apply Over the Phone

Call your state’s food stamps hotline to start an application over the phone, or have an application sent to you through the mail.

What happens when I apply for SNAP?

What happens when I apply for SNAP?

Generally, your state agency or local SNAP office will process your application and send you a notice telling you whether or not you are eligible for benefits. You should hear from them within 30 days after you submit your application and all required documents.

What happens next?

Here’s what you should expect after you submit your application.

Step 1 – Interview

You’ve got to have an interview in person or over the internet. To perform your interview, you’ll receive a phone call from a caseworker. If you can not take the call, you will receive a note in the mail that will remind you of the date and time of the interview. For those considering a telephone interview, your caseworker will call you at the telephone number you mentioned on your application. If you are expected to do an interview in person, at the time of your interview, go to the correct office. If you can not make the interview at the scheduled date and time (phone or in-office), call your caseworker to reschedule immediately.

Step 2 – Provide Requested Documents

You will need to collect documents that check the details that you received about your application. Photocopies can be given. If you have a telephone interview, an address and or fax number will be given to you to mail your documents.

You may also have the option of uploading documents online. If you have an interview in-Person, carry your papers to the workplace with you. If you are asked to provide additional documentation, please provide it within the timeline given. You’ll usually have 10 days for your caseworker to obtain the papers.

Step 3 – Decision

If you are approved for SNAP, an EBT card will be given or mailed to you, and you will be asked to select your personal ID number. If your application is denied, a letter will be sent detailing the reasons for the decision. You have the right to have the decision appealed.

Food Stamps Income Limit – 2020

SNAP Income Eligibility Limits – Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020

Household Size Gross monthly income
(130 percent of poverty)
Net monthly income
(100 percent of poverty)
1 $1,354 $1,041
2 $1,832 $1,410
3 $2,311 $1,778
4 $2,790 $2,146
5 $3,269 $2,515
6 $3,748 $2,883
7 $4,227 $3,251
8 $4,705 $3,620
Each additional member +$479 +$369

* SNAP gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

What deductions are allowed for Net Income?

To calculate your household’s net income, you have to subtract allowable deductions from your household’s gross income.

The following deductions are allowed for SNAP:

  • 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 for the out-of-pocket childcare or other dependent care expenses that are necessary for a household member to work or participate in education or training;
  • 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.
  • In some states, a child support deduction for any legally obligated child support that a member of the household pays
  • In some states, a standard shelter deduction for homeless households of $152.06.
  • Excess shelter costs as described below.

Food Stamps Excess Shelter Costs Deduction

The shelter deduction is for shelter costs that are more than half of the household’s income after other deductions.

Allowable shelter costs include:

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

Instead of real costs, some States require a fixed sum for service costs. The amount of the shelter deduction is capped at (or limited to) $569, unless there is an elderly or disabled person in the household. In Alaska , Hawaii and Guam the cap is higher. For a household with an elderly or disabled member, all housing expenses can be deducted in excess of half the household income.

How Much Food Stamp Will I Receive?

The total amount of benefits your household gets from food stamps per month is dependent on your salary and the number of people in your household. The federal government expects SNAP households to spend approximately 30 percent of their own food resources. Therefore you have to subtract your household’s net monthly income by 0.3 to decide how much in food stamps you can earn if you apply. Subtract the result from the overall monthly allocation for the size of your home using the table below

Note: The cumulative amount of SNAP benefits that your household earns is called an allotment every month.

Food Stamps Maximum Monthly Allotment Based on Household Size

People in Household Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $194
2 $355
3 $509
4 $646
5 $768
6 $921
7 $1,018
8 $1,164
Each additional person +$146

Note: The allotments described here are for households in the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia. The allotments are different in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Emergency Food Stamps

What happens when I apply for SNAP?

You may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits within 7 days of your application date if you meet additional requirements. This is called expedited approval.

To qualify, you or your family must:

  • Have no more than $100 in earned/unearned income, cash, or bank account
  • Expect to make less than $150 this month
  • Rent/mortgage and utilities this month are higher than your monthly income

Summary

We hope this post on the income limits for food stamps has been helpful. If your question has not been answered and the eligibility criteria and income cap are still in trouble, please let us know in the comments section below.

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