Am I eligible to apply for SNAP?
SNAP benefits are sent to over twenty million households, but across the US, eligibility varies widely. A look at the differences in the program requirements...
With over forty-two million recipients, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP, is one of the largest social assistance programs administered in the United States. SNAP is a federal program that is administered at the state level, leading to wide variations in the eligibility criteria and the amount of benefits distributed. Regardless of the state, SNAP benefits are focused on low-income households, and the funds are deposited each month on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that can be used at most grocery stores.
How much money does the SNAP Program offer?
The amount one can receive depends on the economic situation of the family: the size of the household and its income. Regardless of the amount you receive, you should remember that the maximum amount changes from year to year.
Below are the maximum amounts awarded in the forty-eight contiguous states, including the District of Columbia, depending on the number of family members:
However, the maximum benefits for those living in Alaska and Hawaii are a bit different based on the higher cost of food in these states. In Alaska, the maximum is $1,172 for urban families of four, $1,494 for rural 1, and $1,819 for rural 2. For more information on these geographic classifications, check out this resource provided by the US Department of Agriculture. In Hawaii, the maximum is $1,794 for a family of 4 and up to $3,230 for a family of 8.
The conditions to apply for SNAP
As previously mentioned, the fact that states have some discretion to determine eligibility creates differences between the programs. To find those specific to your state, please use this directory of state agencies that also provides information on how to apply to begin receiving benefits.
Income and work requirements
All states establish income caps, and some also require adults forty-nine years and younger to work or participate in a training program for at least eighty hours per month. However, there are a plethora of exceptions for those who are studying, pregnant, caring for a child, or have mental or physical limitations that make them unable to work.
Following the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2023, as of October, work requirements will apply to adults without dependents between the ages of fifty and fifty-two and adults in general up to fifty-four years of age.