Eligibility for Pennsylvania Food Stamps
Pennsylvania food stamps requirements are decided by the Department of Human Services (DHS). PA food stamps eligibility must be met by all potential beneficiaries prior to filing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications. How to qualify for food stamps depends on income, citizenship and residency requirements. Applicants must also present required documentation with SNAP applications in order to be accepted into the food assistance program and receive funds for qualified groceries. In addition, work-related requirements for food stamps must be fulfilled in order to keep benefits. To learn more about the process to qualify for food stamps benefits in Pennsylvania, review the below sections.
Pennsylvania Income Requirements for SNAP Benefits
Income requirements for food stamps in PA are necessary, as the SNAP program exists to assist low-income individuals and families with their food expenses. To be eligible for food stamps in Pennsylvania, your income must be less than a certain set limit. SNAP qualifications for income are determined based on the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which are in place according to household size. The smaller your household is, the less you will need to earn monthly in order to qualify for SNAP benefits. For instance, to qualify for food stamps benefits as a household of one means earning less income than a family of five. Download our guide to read more about income limits for SNAP eligibility.
If your household does not meet the Pennsylvania SNAP eligibility requirements for income, you can factor in certain deductions, which may help you reach the FPL group that correlates with your household size. Deductions that can be calculated for your household include housing expenses, medical costs that total over $35 per month for elderly or disabled family members, child support expenses and dependent care payments.
In addition, the financial PA SNAP requirements also consider the household's resources. Countable resources that may affect eligibility for food stamp assistance include cash on hand, any funds in checking and savings accounts as well as stocks and bonds. There are limits set regarding resources; a household with disabled or elderly family members will be given a higher limit for resources than one without. Download our free guide to review more information about resources as they relate to PA food stamps eligibility.
Pennsylvania Citizenship Requirements for SNAP Benefits
To meet eligibility for food stamps in Pennsylvania, potential beneficiaries must also be able to prove legal presence in the U.S. Those who are U.S. citizens trying to qualify for SNAP must produce qualifying documents, such as certified birth certificates or current passports. Noncitizens can prove eligibility for food stamp assistance by supplying qualifying foreign and immigration documents. In addition, noncitizen U.S. nationals in Pennsylvania from American Samoa and Swains Island can also provide qualifying documents to prove eligibility for SNAP assistance in Pennsylvania prior to filing official paperwork with the DHS.
Next, to qualify for food stamp assistance in Pennsylvania, you must be able to submit your valid Social Security Number. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you must apply for one with a local Social Security Administration branch, and then present proof of the filing to the DHS when you plan to fill out a SNAP application in PA.
Proof of residency is another qualification for SNAP that must be met by all applicants in order to meet eligibility requirements. Since SNAP is distributed by the states, all applicants must be able and willing to submit proof of their current residential addresses to be eligible for food stamp benefits in the state. Government-issued identification, along with acceptable items displaying the applicant's current home address are accepted by the DHS.
Other SNAP Eligibility Requirements You Must Meet in Pennsylvania
How to qualify for food stamps in PA also incorporates work-related qualifications. To qualify for food stamp assistance in Pennsylvania, you must be able to prove you can work at least 20 hours per week, or 80 hours per month, as an Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD). In terms of qualifying for SNAP, ABAWDs are defined as beneficiaries who are fit to work, those 18 through 49 years of age and those who are not living in households with minors younger than 18 years of age. To maintain eligibility for SNAP in PA, ABAWDs must engage in work positions, job training programs or career-related educational opportunities. Any changes to a work schedule that impact food stamp qualifications in Pennsylvania must be reported to the DHS in order to continue receiving benefits. There are exemptions to the work-related criteria enforced for those who are not considered ABAWDs.
Applicants Who Are Not Eligible for Pennsylvania SNAP Benefits
Pennsylvania food stamps requirements encompass many different applicants. However, there are certain applicants that will not qualify for food assistance benefits, despite meeting all of the above criteria. For example, those who reside in commercial boarding homes do not qualify for PA SNAP, nor do residents of institutions (hospitals, boarding schools and skilled nursing facilities). In addition, households with workers on strike are not eligible for SNAP assistance if the striker was not eligible the day prior to going on strike. Students who are enrolled in courses more than halftime are not eligible for food stamp assistance in PA, although there are certain exceptions to this rule. To learn more about who is eligible to apply for food stamps in Pennsylvania, download our guide.