How Much Food Stamps Will I Get: Eligibility & Applying for Food Stamps

How Much Food Stamps Will I Get: Eligibility & Applying for Food Stamps.

How Much Food Stamps Will I Get: The Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously the Food Stamp Program) is available for most families and individuals who meet the program’s income requirements.

The amount of a SNAP payout for a family is dependent on its income and any expenses. This article includes a description of the guidelines for determining SNAP eligibility and benefits.

How Much Food Stamps Will I Get

How to Apply for Food Stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally funded program which provides food assistance to individuals and families with low incomes. SNAP is federally sponsored and administered by the States. Many states also partner with other local entities to provide the SNAP recipients with ongoing nutritional education and training.

For most states, or at a local State or county office, you can apply for food stamps online. After you fill out the initial application, you will follow up with a face-to – face interview and you will be asked to check your income and expenses.

You may apply for a waiver if you are an elderly person or physically unable to drive to the workplace for the interview. The face-to-face interview will be replaced, if given, by a phone interview or a home visit.

When applying for SNAP, they look at the household’s income, capital and scale. For this situation people who live together and buy and prepare food together describe a family. Looking at income and money, it is the average of all family members, not just the head of household.

Step-by-step process to apply for food stamps.

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.

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.

Determine your income.

Gross income reflects the entire, non-excluded income before any deductions are made. Net revenue is the gross revenue minus the allowable deductions. When your household is just one person then the gross monthly income to apply for SNAP is $1,287 (net $990). Gross is $1,726 (netto $1,335) for two men. From there numbers are growing.

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, legally owed child support, shelter costs for homeless, and more.

Determine employment status:

Follow employment requirements.

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.

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.

Determining Eligibility

SNAP benefits allocation is based on a number of factors. Once you are approved, the amount you will receive depends on how many people are in your household and the net monthly income of your household. There are three steps to calculating how much in food stamps you will get.

Step 1 – Determine Income Eligibility

Follow the steps below to calculate your gross income , net income, and see if the requirements for the assets are met. We have also provided an example below for you to follow in calculating how much you will likely receive in food stamps based on your household income. In order to apply for food stamps the income and wealth of a household must meet three tests:

Eligibility Test 1 – Gross monthly income

The first test that you must pass to apply for SNAP benefits is the gross income test. Gross income is income of a family until any deductions available are applied. It usually needs to be at or below the poverty line of 130 per cent. For a family of three, the poverty line used in the federal fiscal year 2020 to measure the SNAP benefits is $1,778 a month. For a three-person family, therefore, 130 per cent of the poverty line is $2,311 a month, or about $27,700 a year. The level of deprivation for larger families is higher, and lower for smaller families.

Eligibility Test 2 – Net monthly income

The second measure is the measure on net sales. Net income of a family, or income added after deductions, must be at or below the poverty line (100 per cent of the poverty line). For a complete chart of gross and net income requirements, based on the number of people in a household, see the food stamps income limit table below.

What is Considered Income for food stamps?

The following counts as income under food stamps: Cash income from all sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support.

Eligibility Test 3 – Assets

The final test you must meet is the Assets test. Your household assets must fall below certain limits. Households without a member who is elderly or has a disability must have assets of $2,250. However, households with an elderly or has a disabled person must have assets of $3,500 or less.

What are considered assets for food stamps?

In general, assets are classified as resources that may be available to the household to purchase food, such as sums in bank accounts. Things that are not available, such as the house, personal property, and savings on retirement, do not count. Most cars don’t count Remember that states have the right to loosen the asset caps, and many have.

So consult with the food stamps department in your state for information about what the asset criteria are for your state. As mentioned above, the income cap for food stamps is set as a percentage of the National Poverty Guidelines as provided by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS).

Below is the most current national poverty guidelines, followed by the complete 2020 Food stamps income limit.

2019 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Number of People in Household 48 States & DC Alaska Hawaii
One $12,490 $15,600 $14,380
Two $16,910 $21,130 $19,460
Three $21,330 $26,660 $24,540
Four $25,750 $32,190 $29,620
Five $30,170 $37,720 $34,700
Six $34,590 $43,250 $39,780
Seven $39,010 $48,780 $44,860
Eight $43,430 $54,310 $49,940
For nine or more, add this amount for each additional person $4,420 $5,530 $5,080

The following income cap map for food stamps is determined by the USDA, based on the National Poverty Guidelines above. Net revenue means gross revenue, minus allowable deductions. Gross income means the entire, non-excluded income of a family, prior to any deductions. Under federal law, all revenue is counted to determine SNAP eligibility unless expressly omitted.

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.

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 may be deducted in excess of half the household income.

How Much Food Stamps Will I Get?

How Much Food Stamps Will I Get?

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 invest approximately 30 percent of their own food capital. 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 average monthly allocation for your household size using the table below Note: The cumulative amount of SNAP benefits your household earns every month is referred to as an allocation.

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.

SNAP Calculator

The example below is provided to help you calculate how much food stamps you are likely to receive based on your income, assets, allowable deductions and household size. The example uses a family of 3.

Example: Calculating a Household’s Monthly SNAP Benefits

Consider a family of three with one full-time, minimum-wage worker, two children, dependent care costs of $77 a month, and shelter costs of $941 per month. Here are the steps to calculate how much in food stamps this family will receive.

Step 1 — Gross Income:

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Full-time work at this level yields monthly earnings of $1,256.

Step 2 — Net Income for Shelter Deduction:

Begin with the gross monthly earnings of $1,256. Subtract the standard deduction for a three-person household ($167), the earnings deduction (20 percent times $1,256, or $251), and the childcare deduction ($77). The result is $761 (Countable Income A).

Step 3 — Shelter Deduction:

Begin with the shelter costs of $941. Subtract half of Countable Income A (half of $761 rounds to $381) for a result of $560.

Step 4 — Net Income:

Subtract the shelter deduction ($560) from Countable Income A ($761) for a result of $201.

Step 5 — Family’s Expected Contribution To Food:

30 percent of the household’s net income ($201) is about $60.

Step 6 — SNAP Benefit:

 The maximum benefit in 2019 for a family of three is $509. The maximum benefit minus the household contribution ($509 minus $60) equals about $449. The family’s monthly SNAP benefit is $449.

Food Stamps FAQs

These are the most commonly asked questions about food stamps eligibility from our readers.

Food Stamps Eligibility Questions

What if I own a car? You can own a car and still qualify for Food Stamps.

What if I have a job? You can have a job and still qualify for Food Stamps.

What if I own my home? You can own the home you live in and still qualify for Food Stamps.

What if I am homeless? You can qualify for Food Stamps even if you do not have a home, address, or place to cook. People without homes can often get benefits within three days.

Can I qualify if I do not have a family? Individuals can qualify for Food Stamps. You do not have to have children to qualify.

Can I get Food Stamps if I am in the military? If you meet the eligibility requirements you can qualify for Food Stamps if you are in the military.

Can I get Food Stamps if I’m in college? You may be able to qualify. Even if you do not qualify, others in your household may.

What are some characteristics of SNAP households?

Here are some characteristics of households on food stamps across the country.

  • Approximately two-thirds of SNAP participants were children, elderly, or had disabilities.
  • 44% percent of participants were under age 18
  • 13 percent were age 60 or older
  • Nearly 10 percent were disabled, nonelderly adults.
  • Nearly 8 percent of participants were able-bodied adults age 18-49 in childless households.
  • More than 44% are in working families
  • The average SNAP household income was 63 percent of the poverty line.
  • Only 19 percent had gross income above the poverty line
  • 38 percent had income at or below half the poverty line.
  • Average gross income for all SNAP households was $836 per month
  • 92 percent of SNAP households did not receive cash welfare benefits.
  • Only 5 percent of all SNAP households received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, and only 3 percent received State General Assistance benefits.
  • Nearly 29 percent of SNAP households received Social Security
  • 22 percent received Supplemental Security Income benefits given to the aged and disabled.
  • The average SNAP household received $245 in monthly benefits.
  • About 37 percent of SNAP households received the maximum benefit for their family size.
  • Nearly 23 percent of monthly funds (gross income plus SNAP benefits) came from SNAP.
  • 81 percent of SNAP households lived in or near large cities, while about 10 percent lived in or near smaller cities and towns and nearly 7 percent lived in rural areas.
  • In 1992, 40 percent of all SNAP households received Federal cash welfare benefits and 20 percent had earnings. In 2017, only 5 percent received Federal cash welfare, while 31 percent had earnings.

What is the breakdown of SNAP by Race?

According to demographic data, 39.8% of SNAP participants are white, 25.5% are African-American, 10.9% are Hispanic, 2.4% are Asian, and 1% are Native American.

Can someone else apply for Food Stamps for me?

Yeah, if you have anyone allowed to work on your behalf. It may be a friend, relative, an attorney or a court-appointed official. On your application, you must include details about that person. It will then accept the individual as your approved representative. You will then contact the client, take part in interviews with you, complete paperwork, include documentation, file appeals and collect nutritional benefits to help keep track of them.

 I already receive WIC benefits. Can I still apply for SNAP?

If you are eligible for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) benefits, you are most likely eligible for these benefits as well.  You can use your WIC benefits to buy approved staples, such as eggs, milk and cheese, and your SNAP benefits to fill in the gaps.

How often will I need to complete paperwork after I am approved?

It depends on what you are in. To continue receiving SNAP benefits, some citizens must complete a Combined Six-Month Report form and an Annual Recertification form. Some people are expected to fill in a monthly Household Report form. You should tell your caseworker what you’ll need to do. Be sure that you complete and return any paperwork you collect from the food stamps office in your area.

What will I need to bring/have to apply for SNAP Benefits?

To apply for food stamps, you will need documents to show the following:

  1. Social Security Number
  2. Your Identification (Example: driver’s license, school ID with photo, Passport, Resident Alien Card, I-94 card, voter’s registration card)
  3. Where you live (Example: lease agreement, utility bill, phone bill, or driver’s license with your address on it)  
  4. Income (Example: check stubs, employer statement, award letters)
  5. Shelter costs (Example: mortgage payments, property tax, homeowner’s insurance, rent receipt, lease agreement)
  6. Costs of utilities (Example: electric bill, water bill, gas bill)

You may be asked to provide more information during your interview. Your caseworker will explain what information is needed, how to get it and help you if you need assistance.

What keeps unqualified people from getting food stamps benefits?

To counter fraud in food stamps, the USDA works closely with states to ensure that they fully distribute their benefits. State employees scrutinize each application closely to assess eligibility and the correct level of benefits. The USDA controls the accuracy of determinations regarding qualifications and benefits. States which fail to adequately meet requirements for issuing their SNAP benefits may be prohibited by USDA.

Additionally, states that meet the payment accuracy requirement can be eligible for additional funding assistance as an incentive to combat fraud. People who earn SNAP benefits in error have to pay back any benefits they have not applied for.

What are the rates of fraud and abuse in SNAP?

SNAP has frequently been a focus for allegations of fraud and device abuse since the software was created. SNAP beneficiaries are charged with cheating the system by receiving greater benefits than their income status would fit or exchanging SNAP benefits for cash. In fact fraud is extremely small within the SNAP system.

With the implementation of the EBT cards, most fraud incentives have been eliminated, and there is also an electronic trail to allow the monitoring of violations in the system. SNAP achieved a payment accuracy of 96.19 per cent in 2012 (the best the system has ever seen), according to a new USDA report. Trafficking rates-the amount of cash benefits traded-are 1%. There is still space for growth, but SNAP actually works at the highest degree of credibility that the system has ever seen.

Can undocumented immigrants use SNAP?

No. No. Undocumented immigrants are not candidates for SNAP payments (and have never been). Documented immigrants may obtain SNAP benefits only if they have lived in the United States for at least five years (with a few exceptions for refugees, children and asylum-seekers).

Summary

We hope this article about “How Much Should I Get Food Stamps” has been helpful. If you have not answered your question and still have difficulty finding out how many benefits you will get, please let us know in the comments section below.

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