Why do some households get only $16 in SNAP each month?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2022 guide from www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

Federal and state SNAP law allows all 1 and 2 person households under the gross income test to get a minimum benefit. This rule does not apply to households of 3 persons or more. 106 C.M.R. § 364.600(A)

If you only get $16/month – it is a good idea to get a “SNAP math check- up” to be sure you are getting all the deductions you qualify for. Many 1 and 2 person elder and disabled households often do not claim all their out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Example

Tom and Emily Smith are an elderly couple who receive Social Security for a total of $2,050/month unearned income. The Smith’s pay homeownership costs of $1,000 per month plus heat and utilities. The couple has not claimed medical expenses and receives just $16/month in SNAP as a “minimum” benefit. If the Smiths verified medical expenses of at least $36/month, their SNAP would increase to $71. If they verified over $190/month, their SNAP would increase even more.

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