The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) considers several specifics to determine how much a beneficiary will receive each month. Formerly known as food stamps, the sets specific guidelines to qualify. This hinges on both the earnings of each individual and the total income limits for every household.
The SNAP program plays a crucial role in providing financial aid for groceries to qualifying households. The brainchild of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it’s the states that breathe life into its execution. And with a nod to modern tech, the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) allows users to swipe a card instead of using tangible food stamps.
SNAP Benefits’ Eligibility Criteria You Should Know
For you to qualify for SNAP benefits, your income shouldn’t surpass the U.S. poverty benchmark. In more specific terms, monthly earnings shouldn’t be more than 130% above this poverty line. Based on the USDA’s recent update in August, the SNAP support will see an uptick in 48 states along with places like Hawaii, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and Alaska.
To give you a clearer picture: let’s say a family of four, residing within the 48 states, hits the maximum benefit mark. They’d receive a handsome $939. However, for those in Alaska, the figures dance between $1,172 to $1,819; in Hawaii, it’s $1,794; Guam residents can expect around $1,385; and those in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a neat $1,208.
The Refreshed SNAP Benefits Table for 2024
Here’s a quick heads up about the financial changes for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the fiscal year 2024. Thanks to the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, these changes will kick in from October 1st, 2023.
We’ve got information on the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for the year 2024, and this covers the main 48 states, our capital district – D.C., as well as Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the lovely U.S. Virgin Islands.
Allotment Changes: For families out there, especially those of four, listen up!
- For the 48 contiguous and D.C., your maximum benefit will jump to $973.
- Families in Alaska, you’ll see benefits ranging between $1,248 and $1,937.
- Guam residents could expect up to $1,434.
- Over in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it’s going up to $1,251.
- But, for those enjoying the sun in Hawaii, there’s a small dip to $1,759.
Oh, and just to note – the minimum benefit remains steady at $23 for the 48 and D.C.
- The cap value for the 48 states and D.C. will climb to $672.
- The caps for Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will also see an uptick.
- If you’re considering homeless shelter deductions, that’s set at $179.66 across the board.
- For households with 1 to 3 members, there’s a standard deduction of $198 monthly for the main 48 and D.C. The other mentioned regions? You too will witness a bump in this standard deduction.
Limits on Resources:
- $2,750 for most households across all regions.
- If there’s someone aged 60 and above, or someone with disabilities in the home, the cap remains at $4,250.
What is the poverty benchmark used by SNAP?
The poverty benchmark used by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is based on a family’s income and certain expenses. Most families and individuals who meet the program’s income guidelines are eligible for SNAP.
SNAP is heavily focused on households with the fewest resources to purchase food. About 92 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes at or below the poverty line, and 54 percent go to households at or below half of the poverty line.
The SNAP benefit formula enables households with the lowest incomes to receive larger benefits than households closer to the poverty line. Each state designs its own SNAP application process, following federal guidelines. Households determined to be eligible receive an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card, which is loaded with benefits monthly.
The amount of SNAP benefits a household receives is based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) — the USDA’s food plan designed to provide a nutritionally adequate diet at minimal cost. However, it’s important to note that the TFP does not necessarily reflect what U.S. households really eat, meet all key nutrient standards, or account for different family types and needs. The TFP was last revised in 2006 and is due for a re-evaluation
USDA Approved D-SNAP for Hawaii Disaster Areas
The USDA recently announced the release of funds to send disaster SNAP benefits, known as D-SNAP, for those low-income Hawaii families affected by the wildfires that began on August 8, 2023. These individuals now have the opportunity to access crucial assistance through the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that approximately 16,000 households, which might not typically qualify for regular food stamps, may be eligible for D-SNAP support provided they meet specific criteria.
To qualify for D-SNAP in Hawaii, households must reside or work in a designated disaster area, have been adversely impacted by the disaster, and comply to particular D-SNAP eligibility requirements. Eligible households will receive one month’s worth of benefits equivalent to the maximum monthly allotment for a SNAP household of their size. These benefits can be used to purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or select online retailers to meet temporary food needs. Hawaii’s D-SNAP program will be implemented in two phases to ensure efficient delivery of assistance to those in need.
Maui Island will accept applications up to September 23, 2023. Honolulu County, Kauai County, Hawaii County, and other sites in Maui County will accept applications up to September 22, 2023. For more information about this and other available financial assistance, callers from Hawaii can dial 2-1-1 or 808-275-2000, or go to the official website of Hawaii’s Department of Human Services.