SNAP-Who should not apply?

Posted on: July 7, 2020
The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Current as of July 7, 2020

The federal $600 increase in Unemployment benefits will end July 25. Many families will find themselves needing to look for more income. This document can help you decide whether you might be eligible for SNAP (formerly food stamps).

Some groups of people need not apply for SNAP, because they will be found ineligible. This piece is meant to identify the largest groups of people who are ineligible. Some other people are ineligible, and the program can be complicated. If you believe you have been denied in error, please feel free to call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Covid-19 Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871. We may be able to give you free legal assistance.

For past disasters, more people got SNAP because of special rules (called Disaster SNAP). People had to apply for the Disaster SNAP at big special events. Disaster SNAP is not in place for the Covid crisis. Instead most normal SNAP rules (except for asset limits) apply. But more people will qualify because so many have lost their jobs.

Keep the following in mind in deciding whether to apply for SNAP, as you may be deemed ineligible if you do not meet these and other requirements.

Do you live in Louisiana?

You have to live in Louisiana to get SNAP in Louisiana.

Do you have a social security number?

All household members must provide or apply for Social Security numbers for each member who will be certified.

If all household members are under age 60 and no one receives certain government disability benefits, will this month’s income for all who eat and live together* be over these amounts? If so, you are ineligible.

*If in your home, spouses, their adult children under age 22, and any children under age 18 under a household member’s control have to be as counted as eating with you even if they are not.

But some money does not count against those limits:

  • The 2020 Stimulus one time checks (usually $1200 per adult, $500 for some children)
  • Tax refunds, including Earned Income Tax credits
  • The earned income of any elementary or high school student under age 18 under the parental control of an adult in the household
  • Some other types are exempt. If you have an unusual kind of income, call the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Covid-19 Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871, to see if we can provide free assistance or advice.

Is someone in your household in one of these categories?

  • Disqualified from SNAP for an “Intentional Program Violation”
  • Disqualified for failing to comply with work registration requirements
  • Disqualified for failure to provide or apply for a social security number
  • An ineligible alien,
  • An ineligible student, or
  • An individual who is on strike

The people or households in that list are ineligible if:

  • Total assets are over $3500 and there is someone age 60 or older or a receiving certain government disability benefits OR
  • Total assets are over $2250 if no one is over 60 or receiving disability.

Bank account, cash, certificate of deposit (CDs), stocks, bonds, property and almost all types of assets are counted. Not counted:

  • the home you live in
  • one vehicle used for transportation.
  • 401Ks 403(a)&(b), IRAs, Roth IRAs, and some eligible private and state employee retirement pensions or annuities.

Some other types of resources are exempt. If you have an unusual resource, we may be able to help. To apply, call the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Covid-19 Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871.

Are no members of your household citizens or “qualified aliens” legally in the United States according to the USCIS?

Only citizens and certain “qualified aliens” are eligible for SNAP. If only some members of a household are citizens, an application must only list them.

To qualify for SNAP, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) typically must have Green Card status for 5 years unless:

  • they are a child under 18
  • have a severe disability
  • have work history
  • or had earlier humanitarian status such as refugee or asylee.

Adult immigrants who would otherwise be ineligible may be able to get SNAP on behalf of eligible household members, such as children who are U.S. citizens. Only the children are to be included on the application.

Will receiving SNAP benefits affect my application for citizenship?

What to know if you have a Green Card:

What to know if you do not have a Green Card:

Undocumented individuals should not apply for SNAP.

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