The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that is assumed to operate uniformly throughout the United States. Americans participate in this program to access essential food products that they otherwise could not afford, says Williams.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) uses a family or an individual’s income and certain expenses as the bases for how much they can receive. SNAP considers earned income (before deduction of payroll taxes) and unearned income including cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support as income. Resources that are available to purchase food such as amounts in bank accounts are considered assets by SNAP. However, items that are inaccessible like personal property, retirement savings, or automobiles do not count, says CBPP.
Who is eligible for SNAP?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made temporary changes to the qualifications for SNAP and its benefits. According to CBPP, to qualify for SNAP benefits, a household’s income must meet the three guidelines for Gross Monthly Income, Net Income, and Assets.
Gross Income is the household’s income before SNAP deductions are applied. In general, gross income must be at or less than 130% of the poverty line. Take into account that the poverty level for bigger families is higher than for families of a smaller size.
On the other hand, net income is the household’s income after SNAP deductions are applied. Similarly, net income must be at or below the poverty line. For assets, there must also be certain limits. A household without a member who is aged 60 or older or who has special needs must have assets valued at $2,750 or less. Otherwise, a household with the aforementioned members must have assets valued at $4,250 or less.
However, there are groups of people who are not eligible for SNAP no matter their income or assets. These people include those who are going on strike, college students enrolled for more than half time, immigrants without official documents, and immigrants who are lawfully present. Furthermore, unemployed adults aged 18 to 49 with no disabled children in the household are limited to only three months of SNAP benefits for every three years.