Americans who apply for federal Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program benefits are required to meet an extended set of eligibility criteria to qualify, and one of those has to do with income.
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households. Beneficiaries now pay with electronic benefit transfer cards instead of food stamps.
Everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together is grouped together as one SNAP household, according to the USDA. That’s the case even if they purchase and prepare meals separately. In most cases, you are not eligible for SNAP benefits if an institution gives you most of your meals, but there are exceptions for elderly persons and disabled persons.
In terms of income eligibility, the USDA looks at both gross income and net income. Normally, your household must meet both the gross and net income limits or you are not eligible for SNAP and can’t receive benefits. The exceptions are households with an elderly or disabled person, in which case you only need to meet the net income limit.
For the purposes of SNAP, gross income is a household’s total, non-excluded income before any deductions have been made. Net income is gross income minus allowable deductions.
If all members of your household receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income or, in some places, other general assistance, your household might be deemed “categorically eligible” for SNAP because you have already been determined eligible for another means-tested program.
The current income eligibility limits listed below apply to households in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia that apply for SNAP between Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022. SNAP gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii, so if you live in those states, contact your local SNAP administrator.
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|Household Size||Gross monthly income||Net monthly income
|Each additional member||+$492||+$379|
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