Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for SNAP (food stamps) benefits is usually based on gross and net income (for families with at least one elderly or disabled member, just net income).

Gross income limits are established by the federal government and adjusted annually. Current gross income limits are available by clicking here. Gross income is total income minus verified legally obligated child support paid.

A family may have liquid resources (cash, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, etc.) of up to $2,000. With one or more family members who are disabled or age 60 or over, the resource limit is $3,250.

Benefit Determination

If eligible, the amount of benefits received is determined by household size and adjusted gross income after these deductions:

  • a standard deduction.
  • a 20 percent earned income deduction.
  • a deduction for dependent care.
  • a limited deduction for medical expenses for elderly or individuals who are disabled.
  • a limited deduction for excess shelter care expenses.

Pre-Screening Tool

To help determine if you are eligible for SNAP benefits, you can use an online pre-screening tool provided by USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

This pre-screening tool is not an application for SNAP benefits.

An application for SNAP benefits must be made at your local office.

Employment and Training Program

The SNAP Employment and Training program requires those applicants who are able to register for work and cooperate in seeking and keeping employment. In certain counties, applicants are required to participate in this program.

The program requires mandatory recipients to participate in any one or a combination of the following activities as a condition of their SNAP eligibility:

  • Secondary Education
  • Job Search / Job Club / Job Readiness
  • Community Service
  • On-the-Job Training
  • Employment

Mandatory participants include:

  • 18 to 59 years old; and
  • Not in school; and
  • Working less than the equivalent of 30 hours per week at federal minimum wage; and
  • Not receiving unemployment insurance or SSI; and
  • Able-bodied; and
  • Not the parent/caretaker of a child under age six.

Exempt participants include:

  • Any child under age 18 (unless applicant and not in school); or
  • Any adult 60 or older; or
  • Any parent/caretaker of child under age six; or
  • Any unemployment insurance applicant or recipient
  • Any person working more than the equivalent of 30 hours per week at federal minimum wage; or
  • Any caretaker of an incapacitated person in their home; or
  • Any person with a health issue that affects their ability to participate; or
  • Any pregnant woman in her fourth or later month of pregnancy.

Report all Changes Affecting Eligibility

All SNAP recipients must report anytime their monthly gross income is over the maximum allowed for their household size. Income maximums can be found on notices or by calling your Benefits Specialist. The income must be reported by the 10th day of the month, following the month the income exceeds the maximum.

All SNAP recipients are also required to complete a recertification (review) process once every 12 months. Most SNAP recipients will fill out a report form in the 6th month of their recertification period. Recertification and report forms will be mailed to recipients.

Recipients are not required to report any other changes, but they may choose to report changes such as:

  • the addition of a household member and their income.
  • increase in expenses, such as shelter costs, daycare costs, etc.
  • income stops or decreases.