Standard Utility Allowances
As of January 1, 2013
Utility Allowances (SUAs) are standardized
utility expense figures used in place of
actual utility costs to calculate a household's total shelter costs.
(High shelter costs can result in a deduction from a household's net
income, which can mean a higher SNAP allotment.)
States calculate SUAs based on average utility costs in the State, or in
local areas of the State. SNAP rules require States to annually update their SUAs to reflect changes in actual utility costs.
It is generally in a household's interest to use the SUA, as SUAs are designed to capture utility costs experienced by most households. Most States have elected to make their SUAs mandatory in order to simplify the SNAP certification process. In States with mandatory SUAs, the household may not claim actual expenses in lieu of the allowance for which it qualifies. In States with optional SUAs, a household can elect to claim actual utility expenses, but must provide documentation, such as utility bills, to verify all the costs that it claims. The data presented here represent State SUAs for Federal Fiscal Year 2013, as provided by FNS Regional Offices.
use different terms to describe these allowances. For the purposes of
In Arizona, Guam, Hawaii,
North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia the SUA’s vary based
upon the SNAP household’s size. In Alaska and New York, the SUA’s
vary based upon location.