You will need to meet certain requirements if you want to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the government-based food assistance program. The requirements can change from state to state. To qualify for benefits you will need to meet income requirements for food stamps, as well as citizenship and residency requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements, you will probably be rejected or your household will be denied assistance. If you want to learn how to qualify and what factors are considered to determine if you are eligible, read the sections below.
Learn About Income Requirements for SNAP Benefits
The main requirement to qualify for food stamps is income because the SNAP program was originally designed to assist low-income individuals and families who could not afford food costs. When it comes to qualifying financially for SNAP, you need to consider the current Federal Poverty Level or FPL, which determines if you earn too much to be eligible for SNAP in your state. Download our free guide to learn more about requirements.
Income requirements for SNAP vary depending on the size of your household. For example, if your household has one or two members, the monthly income will be less than the income made by a family of four or eight members. Apart from income, requirements also consider the resources of your family. Depending on the state you live in, the list of countable resources can change. In general, resources mean the money you have in the bank, as well as any investments you might have made. Seniors and disabled people who apply for SNAP benefits have higher resource limits.
Knowing if you are eligible before applying for SNAP it’s important because if you do not meet income requirements your application will not make it through the process.
Learn About Citizenship Requirements for SNAP Benefits
Food stamp requirements in the U.S. are national first because it is a federally funded program. Because of this, the second most important requirement is your citizenship or legal status in the country. To qualify for food stamps as a U.S. citizen, you will need to present documents that prove it like a passport or a certified birth certificate.
If you are not a U.S. citizen but want to apply for SNAP benefits, you can still get the, as long as you can prove that you are legally allowed to be in the country. Non-citizen groups like refugees, children, asylees, tribal members, victims of human trafficking can apply for SNAP, but they will need to present the documents that prove their status in a state office.
After proving your citizenship status you will need proof of residency because qualifications can change from one state to another. For example, while one state may accept a utility bill or a mortgage statement to prove residency, another can just ask for a driver’s license or a state ID card with your current address. To qualify for SNAP in some states you will need to take more than one proof of residency to make sure you can meet the requirement.
Learn About Other SNAP Requirements You Must Meet
Aside from income, citizenship and residency requirements, you will also need to meet other criteria. For example, to qualify for SNAP as an Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) you will need to prove you are training to get work or are studying. Requirements can change between states and so will the ways you can apply. The reason for these additional requirements is to motivate you to make more money, be self-sufficient and not need food assistance benefits.
Keep in mind that these additional requirements will not probably be asked of seniors of disable people. Make sure to review the policy of your state or work training and schooling before applying so that you know what you need to do to keep your benefits once you have been accepted.
Find Out About Applicants Who Are Not Qualified for SNAP Benefits
If you do not meet the requirements mentioned above, your application for SNAP will probably be denied. Some residents can be disqualified for non-negotiable reasons, for example, if you are a full-time college student you may not qualify for food stamps because your school may have a food assistance program of its own. Any person who is in an institution will not be eligible because they get their meals there. Convicted felons, especially those with drug-related offenses, and applicants that are in jail can also be rejected, as can people accused of food stamp fraud in the past.
To learn more about the people who qualify for food stamp assistance, download our guide.