SNAP Requirements Checklist

In order to obtain food assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), interested residents must meet certain requirements.

However, these requirements typically vary from state to state depending on the specifications of the food stamp program. 

SNAP program qualifications rely heavily on prospective recipients’ incomes.

However, residents must also satisfy state residency and citizenship requirements.

Unfortunately, some applicants do not meet the requirements of SNAP.

Those who fail to qualify risk being rejected from the program, and may need to seek help from other assistance programs.

Those who are denied from food stamps will not be able to obtain federal food assistance, and may consider applying to other government assistance programs, such as WIC or Medicaid.

If you are interested in learning more about the program’s eligibility requirements and the factors that are taken into consideration, continue reading below.

Learn About Food Stamp Income Requirements

SNAP eligibility is highly dependent on applicants’ income levels.

The purpose of the program is assistance households that earn low incomes to purchase food if they struggled to do so on their own.

Thus, the qualifications to receive food stamps are highly reliant on applicants’ financial circumstances.

Determination of whether a household qualifies financially starts with comparing their income to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The FPL, as it applies to the food stamp program, acts as a benchmark for determining if applicants’ incomes are within SNAP income guidelines.

The Federal Poverty Level helps to determine if interested residents earn too much to be accepted into the food assistance program in their state.

Besides state specifications, income limits are also dependent on the number of members in a household.

This is because a household of one or two members seeking food stamps is required to have a lower monthly income than a family of four or six members to qualify.

Moreover, a household’s resources are also considered as part of food stamp eligibility requirements.

Each state differs in its specifications of what is counted as a resource. However, there are several items that are typically considered as countable resources.

This includes any money in a checking or savings accounts and investments.

Applicants who are elderly or disabled are usually permitted to qualify at a higher resource limit.   

Residents should determine if they qualify financially for the SNAP program prior to applying as financial eligibility is the most important factor.

Applicants whose incomes are not within the food stamp guidelines are unlikely to obtain food assistance benefits.

Learn About Food Stamp Citizenship Requirements

Because SNAP is a federally funded program, requirements begin at the national level. However, it administered and managed by individual states.

As such, applicants must provide evidence of their lawful presence in the United States.

Supplying proof of U.S. citizenship enables applicants to reap food assistance benefits.

Residents can submit a valid birth certificate or U.S. Passport as evidence of their citizenship.

Fortunately, residents who are not U.S. citizens but have proof of legal presence may still be able to obtain food assistance from SNAP.

Food stamps are available to many non-citizens including those who are refugees, those seeking asylum, tribal members, children and victims of human trafficking.

However, non-citizens must meet the same requirements as citizens.

Additionally, they must submit their documents indicating lawful presence to their local food stamp office.

After applicants, both citizens and non-citizens, supply their proof of legal presence, they must also provide proof of state residency.

Different states accept different documents for proof of residency.

For instance, applicants must supply a utility bill or rent statement in one state while in another, residents only need to provide a driver’s license or identification card with a current address.

In certain states, prospective recipients must supply more than one document to prove their state residency.

Learn About Additional Food Stamp Requirements

There are other requirements that certain applicants must meet in addition satisfying income, citizenship and state residency requirements.

For example, Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWD) must meet work or school requirements.

The details of this requirement vary by state. Each state has different education and work programs in addition to different tools and methods of signing up for such programs.

There is a reason that SNAP enforces these work and education requirements.

Participation in them is meant to motivate recipients to earn a higher income and achieve self-sufficiency.

The goal is to remove participants’ need off the food assistance program.

Certain applicants are not required to participate in SNAP’s work and education requirements.

These residents include those who are not ABAWDS such elderly and disabled members.

Household members who are seniors and/or disabled and qualify for food stamps are exempt from the SNAP work and school requirements. Interested applicants should review their state’s SNAP work requirements prior to filing their food stamp paperwork.

This way, they can gain an understanding of their obligations and determine if they will be able to satisfy them.

Applicants must understand that they must continue meeting their work and school requirements in order to continue receiving benefits.

Learn About Residents Who Can’t Get Food Stamps

Residents must meet all of the requirements mentioned in the previous sections in order to obtain SNAP benefits.

Applicants who fail to meet certain eligibility criteria may be denied food assistance in their state and may need to look for assistance elsewhere.

Moreover, some residents can be disqualified from the program. The reasons they are disqualified for may be non-negotiable.

For instance, residents attending university full time cannot qualify for the food stamp program.

This is because schools often already offer other food assistance programs for students in need.

Furthermore, residents who are institutionalized are also not eligible for food assistance from SNAP.

That is due to the fact that their meals are already supplied. In addition, applicants who are incarcerated are also likely to be rejected from the food stamp program.

This is especially true for felons who have been convicted for drug-related crimes.

Lastly, residents who have previously committed food stamp fraud will be rejected from SNAP in their states.