Food Stamps Not Cutting It? Get More Out of SNAP With These Tips
(WatchDogReport.org) – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, is a federal food assistance program that helps individuals and families. The SNAP program sends money to low-income families to buy food. However, the amount of SNAP benefits depends on the net income, so families with no income receive the most benefits.
Let’s look at strategies to maximize your SNAP benefits regardless of your household’s net income.
How to Calculate SNAP Benefits
Before you can increase your SNAP benefits, you need to know how many SNAP benefits you can claim. The first step is calculating the net income, obtained after deductions and taxes from the gross income.
1. Clarifying Household Information
A SNAP account considers people who live, buy and share food, like spouses and children, to be family. You must report if you have a roommate or assistant who comes daily to help you with your family’s disability. More information about your lifestyle can increase the benefits of your SNAP.
2. Reporting Income Reductions
You must notify the Food and Drug Administration of reduced income, especially layoffs. Once reported, SNAP officials will re-calculate your payments to help you get by.
3. Claiming Deductions
Deductions are subtracted from your gross income to determine how much you will receive in SNAP benefits. Therefore, more deductions reduce income. In the end, 30% of the net income is paid for food, increasing the amount of received SNAP benefits.
There are different types of deductions that can be used to calculate your SNAP benefits. For example, the government automatically gives you a standard discount to pay for unavoidable expenses such as toilet paper and toothpaste. However, to increase your SNAP benefits, you must account for other costs such as income, medical fees, utilities, excess housing expenses, and deductibles.
Homeless Shelter Deductions
Some states, such as Kansas, Ohio, and Wyoming, allow homeless people to apply for shelter without applying for other SNAP benefits. These states have a $1,143 household income deduction, which increases the amount that must be paid in SNAP benefits.
Excess Shelter Deductions
Home deductions include household expenses, such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and taxes. You can review these charges in your SNAP application or purchase at standard government rates. Eligible members can receive a 30% increase in SNAP benefits when their household expenses exceed half of their income.
Child Support Deductions
Child support payments are amounts paid by the non-custodial parent to cover the child’s expenses. If you or another family member pays child support, you will consider this payment when calculating your income. Making your support payments lowers your income and increases the amount allocated to your SNAP benefits.
Medical Expense Deductions
You can apply for a reduction in medical expenses if you are someone over 60 or have a family member with a disability. The deduction covers medications, hospital and dental care, nutrition, health insurance, and transportation costs.
The SNAP program allows you to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses over $35 related to a disabled or elderly person. Taking the health deduction reduces your income and increases your SNAP benefits.
Believe it or not, you can deduct 20% of your income and include work-related expenses, such as office supplies and fuel.
Review your SNAP application and make sure you don’t miss any information that could increase your SNAP benefits. Contact your local office whenever you have questions.
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