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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Fact Sheet on Resources, Income, and Benefits

(To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, visit our pre-screening tool at

For Households in the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia 10/1/12 through 9/30/13. To get SNAP benefits, households must meet certain tests, including resource and income tests.


Households may have $2,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3250 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled. However, certain resources are NOT counted, such as a home and lot, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI),  the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (formerly AFDC), and most retirement (pension) plans.

The procedures for handling vehicles are determined at the state level. States have the option of substituting the vehicle rules used in their TANF assistance programs for SNAP vehicle rules when it results in a lower attribution of household assets. A number of States exclude the entire value of the household’s primary vehicle as an asset. In States that count the value of vehicles, the fair market value of each licensed vehicle that is not excluded is evaluated. Currently 39 States exclude the value of all vehicles entirely. 11 States totally exclude the value of at least one vehicle per household. The 3 remaining states exempt an amount higher than the SNAP’s standard auto exemption (currently set at $4,650) from the fair market value to determine the countable resource value of a vehicle. For more information concerning State specific vehicle policy, check with the State agency that administers the SNAP program.

Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are:

  • used for income-producing purposes,
  • annually producing income consistent with their fair market value,
  • needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute),
  • used as the home,
  • needed to transport a physically disabled household member,
  • needed to carry most of the household's fuel or water, or
  • if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed on the vehicle, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold).

For the following licensed vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 is counted:

  • one per adult household member, and
  • any other vehicle a household member under 18 drives to work, school, job training, or to look for work.

For all other vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 or the equity value, whichever is more, is counted as a resource.


Households have to meet income tests unless all members are receiving TANF, SSI, or in some places general assistance. Most households must meet both the gross and net income tests, but a household with an elderly person or a person who is receiving certain types of disability payments only has to meet the net income test. Households, except those noted, that have income over the amounts listed below cannot get SNAP benefits.

(Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013)

Household size

Gross monthly income
(130 percent of poverty)

Net monthly income
(100 percent of poverty)


$1,211 $ 931


1,640 1,261


2,069 1,591


2,498 1,921


2,927 2,251


3,356 2,581


3,785 2,911


4,214 3,241

Each additional member

+429 +330

Gross income means a household's total, nonexcluded income, before any deductions have been made. Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.

*SNAP gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

Deductions are allowed as follows:

  • A 20 percent deduction from earned income;

  • A standard deduction of $149 for household sizes of 1 to 3 and $160 for a household size of four (higher for some larger households);

  • A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education;
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 for the month if they are not paid by insurance or someone else;
  • Legally owed child support payments;
  • Some States allow homeless households a set amount ($143) for shelter costs; and
  • Excess shelter costs that are more than half of the household's income after the other deductions. Allowable costs include the cost of fuel to heat and cook with, electricity, water, the basic fee for one telephone, rent or mortgage payments and taxes on the home. (Some States allow a set amount for utility costs instead of actual costs.) The amount of the shelter deduction cannot be more than $469 unless one person in the household is elderly or disabled.(The limit is higher in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam.)

Gross Income Computation


 Determine household size.....  4 people with no elderly or disabled members.
 Add gross monthly income...  $1,500 earned income + $550 social security =
 $2,050 gross income.
 If gross monthly income is less than the limit
 for household size, determine net income.
 $2,050 is less than the $2,498 allowed for a 4-
 person household, so determine net income.


Subtract Deductions to Determine Net Income and Apply the Net Income Test


 Subtract 20% earned income

 $2,050 gross income $1,500 earned income x 20% = $300. $2,050 - $300 = $1,750

$1,750 - $160 standard deduction for a household size of 4 = $1,590

$1,590 - $361 dependent care = $1,229



 $1,229 adjusted income/2 = $614
 $700 total shelter - $614 (half of 
 income) = $86 excess shelter cost

 $1,236 - $86 = $1,150 Net monthly

 Since the net monthly income is 
 less  than $1,838 allowed for a
 household of 4, the household has
 met the income test.

 Subtract standard deduction.........

 Subtract dependent care deduction.....

 Subtract child support deduction......

 Subtract medical costs over $35 for
 elderly and disabled.........

 Excess shelter deduction........

 Determine half of adjusted income.......
 Determine if shelter costs are more
 than half of adjusted income........
 Subtract excess amount, but not more
 than the limit, from adjusted

 Apply the net income test....


The amount of benefits the household gets is called an allotment. The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their income on food.

(October 2012 through September 2013)

People in Household Maximum Monthly Allotment

$    200


$    367


$    526


$    668


$    793


$    952


$ 1,052


$ 1,202

Each additional person

$    150


Benefit Computation


 Multiply net income by 30%...
 (Round up)

 Subtract 30% of net income from the maximum
 allotment for the household size...

 $1,150 net monthly income
 x .3 = $346.20 (round up to $345)

 $668 maximum allotment for 4 - $345 (30% of 
 net income) = $323, SNAP Allotment
 for a full month

If a household applies after the first day of the month, benefits will be provided from the day the household applies.

SNAP benefits are available to all eligible households regardless of race, sex, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs.

For further information, contact your local or State SNAP office. It may be listed in the State or local government pages of the telephone book, under food stamps, social services, human services or a similar name. You can also find the nearest local office by calling your State's SNAP hot line.

(To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, visit our pre-screening tool at )

Last modified: 01/30/2013