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 than other non-disabled SNAP recipients. For more details of how pregnancy and children affect SNAP benefits, see below.

Does Being Pregnant Affect Your SNAP Eligibility & 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.

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

Note that if you’re ineligible for SNAP while pregnant, you might become eligible after the child is born because your household size will have increased.

Does Having Children Affect Your SNAP Eligibility & Benefits?

Having children increases your household size, which does affect your SNAP benefits. Once your child is born, your monthly benefit amount will increase based on the size of your household.

The USDA defines a household as “Everyone who lives together and purchases and prepares meals together.” If members purchase or prepare meals separately but still live together, the government may still count them as one household, as long as the children are under the age of 22. There’s no maximum age at which a child will no longer count as part of the household, a representative told us; however, at 22, a member can decide whether to stay part of their household or to apply for SNAP benefits on their own.

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. (Find more information in the “How Are Snap Benefits Calculated?” section below.) They may also affect employment requirements. Those responsible for caring for children 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.

How Are SNAP Benefits Calculated?

SNAP benefits depend on your income and how many people are in your household. First, 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.

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

The maximum monthly allotments are as follows:

  • One household member: $194
  • Two household members: $355
  • Three household members: $509
  • Four household members: $646
  • Five household members: $768
  • Six household members: $921
  • Seven household members: $1,018
  • Eight household members: $1,164
  • Over eight household members: $1,164 plus $146 per additional person

To provide an example, a household of four with a net monthly income of $1,000 would receive a monthly benefit of $346. This is the maximum allotment of $646, minus 30% of $1,000 ($300).

Keep in mind that SNAP eligibility depends on your assets, income, ability to work, household size, and age. If your monthly resources are $2,250 or less ($3,500 if a member of the household is above 60 or disabled), then you may be eligible. Note that the benefits agency will not count your home and lot when calculating your resources.

More Information About SNAP Benefits

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

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