The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition assistance program, which provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service oversees SNAP, and according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the program improves food security, offers benefits that enable families to purchase healthier diets, and frees up resources that can be used for health-promoting activities and needed medical care.
“SNAP reduces the overall prevalence of food insecurity by as much as 30% and is even more effective among children and those with [children],” the CBPP notes.
The USDA adjusts SNAP maximum allotments, deductions and income eligibility standards at the beginning of each federal fiscal year. The fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, and the changes are based on changes in the cost of living — the amount of money needed to support a basic standard of living, according to the department.
Last month, SNAP benefits increased, yet, eligibility requirements are also set to change, following the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) signed by President Joe Biden in June.
Here are some of the changes.
Eligibility and Age
The FRA gradually increases the age of what the USDA calls “able-bodied adults without dependents” (ABAWD) time limit and adds new groups of individuals who are excepted from the ABAWD time limit.
Prior to September, ABAWDs’ 18 to 50 had work requirements, which included working at least 80 hours a month, participating in a work program at least 80 hours a month or participating in a combination of work and work program hours for a total of at least 80 hours a month.
As of Oct. 1, these work requirements expanded to age 52, and requirements will expand to age 54 starting in October 2024, according to the USDA.
There are some exemptions to the ABAWD work requirements, according to the USDA.
For instance, you are excused if you are unable to work due to a physical or mental limitation, if you are pregnant, if you are a veteran, are homeless, or age 24 or younger and in foster care on your 18th birthday.
You are eligible for SNAP benefits if you do not exceed the following gross monthly income limit — 130% of the federal poverty level — qualifications:
Household Size: 1
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $1,580
- Alaska: $1,973
- Hawaii: $1,817
Household Size: 2
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $2,137
- Alaska: $2,670
- Hawaii: $2,457
Household Size: 3
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $2,694
- Alaska: $3,366
- Hawaii: $3,098
Household Size: 4
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $3,250
- Alaska: $4,063
- Hawaii: $3,738
Household Size: 5
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $3,807
- Alaska: $4,760
- Hawaii: $4,378
Household Size: 6
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $4,364
- Alaska: $5,456
- Hawaii: $5,018
Household Size: 7
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $4,921
- Alaska: $6,153
- Hawaii: $5,659
Household Size: 8
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $5,478
- Alaska: $6,849
- Hawaii: $6,299
Each Additional Member
- 48 States, District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands: $557
- Alaska: $697
- Hawaii: $641
According to the cost of living adjustments (COLA) for 2024, maximum allotments have increased for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For instance, the maximum allotment for a family of four in the 48 states and D.C. will be $973, while it will range from $1,248 to $1,937 in Alaska. The maximum allotment for a family of four will be $1,434 in Guam and $1,251 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Meanwhile, maximum allotments for a family of four in Hawaii will decrease to $1,759.
The minimum benefit for the 48 states and D.C. is unchanged from 2023 at $23.
Here are the maximum allotments for SNAP in the 48 contiguous states and D.C. — Oct. 2023 to Sep. 2024 — according to the USDA:
- Household size 1: $291
- Household size 2: $535
- Household size 3: $766
- Household size 4: $973
- Household size 5: $1,155
- Household size 6: $1,386
- Household size 7: $1,532
- Household size 8: $1,751
- Each additional person: $219
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