Does an Unborn Child Count for Food Stamps/SNAP Benefits? Answered

Pregnant woman shopping for produce in a grocery store

Short Answer

Your SNAP benefit amount will not change while you’re pregnant, but after your child is born, your household size will increase — which will also increase your benefits. Additionally, pregnant women and those caring for young children have lower work requirements to qualify for SNAP.

Does an Unborn Child Count for SNAP Benefits?

Being pregnant does not affect your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility; you will not receive additional benefits during your pregnancy.

Because the child cannot be counted as a member of the household until birth, your monthly allotment will only change after the child is born.[1]

We confirmed this information by contacting the SNAP information hotline and viewing official policy documentation online.

Work Requirements During Pregnancy

The only difference for pregnant women in the SNAP program is that, during the time that they are pregnant, they are not required to meet the same work requirements as other non-disabled SNAP recipients.[2]

Typically, a SNAP recipient who is able to work must either work 20 to 30 hours per week, participate in the SNAP Employment and Training program, or take part in a similar state-run training program.[2][3]

Those who are pregnant may be exempt from these requirements with approval from the state benefits agency.[3][4][5]

After the Child Is Born

Once your child is born, your monthly benefit amount will increase based on the size of your household.[1]

The USDA defines a household as “Everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together.”[1]

If members purchase or prepare meals separately but still live together, the government may still count them as one household as long as the child is under age 22.[1][6]

As during pregnancy, those responsible for caring for children under age six have more flexibility than other non-disabled SNAP recipients in the amount of time they must spend at work or in employment training programs to continue receiving benefits.[2]

Children also affect your SNAP benefits in other ways. For instance, they will factor in the deductions the benefits agency makes when determining your net income.[3]

Benefit Amounts by Household Size

To determine the benefits you qualify for, the benefits agency will calculate your net income by subtracting 20% from your gross income, along with other applicable deductions for things like household size or dependent care.[3]

Next, the agency will consider your own contributions to food purchases. If you receive SNAP, you’re still expected to spend 30% of your resources on food.[3]

The benefit amount you receive will be the maximum monthly benefit for your household size, minus 30% of your net income.[3]

Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have unique maximum allotment amounts, but the maximum monthly allotments for families in the 48 contiguous states are as follows:[3]

Household Size Maximum Monthly Allotment
1 $291
2 $535
3 $766
4 $973
5 $1,155
6 $1,386
7 $1,532
8 $1,751
Greater than 8 $1,751 plus $219 for each additional person
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To provide an example, a household of four with a net monthly income of $1,000 would receive a monthly benefit of $673. This is the maximum allotment of $973, minus 30% of $1,000 ($300).

After a child is born, the household size will increase to five and the family will begin receiving an increased monthly benefit of $855 (the maximum allotment of $1,155 minus $300).

Overall Eligibility

Keep in mind that SNAP eligibility depends on your assets, income, ability to work, household size, and age.[3]

If you have $2,750 or less in countable resources (cash or money in the bank) — or $4,250 if a member of your household is 60 or older or disabled — you may qualify for benefits.[3]

The benefits agency will not count your home, lot, most retirement or pension plans, and other government assistance (such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) when calculating your resources.[3]

If you were ineligible for SNAP while pregnant, you might become eligible after the child is born.[1]

Using Your Benefits

Find out more about using your SNAP benefits in our research on grocery stores that accept EBT and what you can and can’t buy with SNAP benefits.

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