The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is for most families and individuals who meet the income requirements (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program). This paper gives a brief summary of the rules for SNAP Benefits and eligibility for the federal fiscal year 2023, which started in October 2022.
How much SNAP a family gets depends on how much money they make and how much they spend on certain things.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have temporarily changed who can get SNAP benefits. Below, you can also read about the changes that will still be in place as of October 2022.
In addition, the USDA changed the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) in 2021, which raised SNAP benefits starting in October of that year (and in future years).
Federal rules say that a household’s income and resources must meet three tests for it to be eligible for SNAP benefits.
Gross monthly income, which is what a household makes before any deductions for the program, usually has to be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line.
For the federal fiscal year 2023, the poverty line used to figure out SNAP benefits for a family of three is $1,920 a month. So, for a family of three, 130% of the poverty line is $2,495 a month, or about $29,940 a year. The level of poverty is higher for larger families than for smaller ones.
After deductions, the nett income of a household must be at or below the poverty line.
Assets must be under certain limits: households without a member who is 60 or older or has a disability must have assets of $2,750 or less, and households with such a member must have assets of $4,250 or less.
Who does not qualify?
Some groups of people are not eligible for SNAP, no matter how much money they make or how much money they have. This includes people who are on strike, all immigrants who don’t have papers, some students who go to college more than half time, and some immigrants who are here legally.
Unemployed adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who don’t live with children and don’t have a disability can only get SNAP benefits for three months every three years in many parts of the country. States have a lot of power to make work requirements for many other SNAP households.
How to Determine a Family’s Monthly SNAP Benefits
Assume a family of three with one full-time minimum-wage employee, two kids, $54 in dependent care expenses per month, and $1,092 in housing expenses.
Step 1 — Gross Income. This level of full-time employment results in $1,257 in monthly earnings. The federal minimum wage is presently $7.25 per hour.
Step 2: Net Income Deduction for Shelter: Start off with a gross monthly income of $1,257. Remove the child care deduction ($54), the earnings deduction (20% of $1,257, or $251), and the standard deduction for a three-person family ($193). The outcome is $759.
Step 3: Shelter Deduction: Start with the $1,092 in shelter expenses. For a result of $712, deduct half of Countable Income A (half of $759 equals $380). The shelter deduction for this family is $624 due to the $624 cap on shelter deductions.
Step 4: Net Income. To get at $135, deduct the shelter deduction ($624) from Countable Income A ($759).
Step 5: Family’s Estimated Contribution to Food: Around $41 or 30% of the household’s $135 nett income.
Step 6 – SNAP Benefit: In 2023, a family of three can get a maximum benefit of $740. Around $699 is the amount of the maximum benefit less the family payment ($740 less $41). The SNAP benefit for the family is $699 a month.
Making Benefit Calculations
Families receiving SNAP assistance are expected to spend 30% of their nett income on food.
The USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) is a diet programme designed to provide adequate nutrition in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that low-income households can purchase and prepare, provided they make significant efforts to stretch their food budget. Families with no nett income receive the maximum benefit, which is correlated to the cost of the programme.
A long-overdue modification to the TFP that increased SNAP benefits and gave millions of families financial support for a balanced diet was announced by the USDA in August 2021.