The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes referred to as food stamps, is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and offers low-income households a monthly allowance for purchasing food. This allowance is loaded onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, or an EBT card, which can then be used at different stores to purchase groceries.
SNAP eligibility depends on your resources (countable assets, such as money in a bank account), income, ability to work, household size, and age. If your resources are $2,250 or less ($3,500 if a member of the household is above 60 or disabled), then you may be eligible. When counting these resources, often times your home and lot will not be counted, nor will any vehicles.
Those who receive SNAP benefits must also meet certain work requirements, which include registering for work, participating in training programs, taking offered jobs, and not voluntarily quitting a job or reducing their hours at a job. Also, adults without dependents are required to either work or participate in a work program for a minimum of 20 hours per week. In this article, we’ll tell you how being pregnant or having a child might affect your SNAP eligibility and benefits.
How Are SNAP Benefits Calculated?
SNAP benefits depend on your income and how many people are in your household. First, they’ll calculate your net income as this affects the benefit amount. The USDA determines net income by subtracting 20% from your gross income along with making other applicable deductions such as household size or dependent care. After the net income is determined, it will be multiplied by 0.3. This number will then be subtracted from the maximum allotment per month per household size. This is because if you receive SNAP, you’re still expected to spend 30% of your own resources on food.
The maximum monthly allotments are as follows: one member, $192; two members, $352; three members, $504; four members, $640; five members, $760; six members, $913; seven members, $1,009; eight members, $1,153. Add $144 for each additional member over eight members.
Therefore, if a household of four were to make a net monthly income of $1,000, $300 (30% of income) would be subtracted from $640 (the monthly allotment), leaving them with $340 in SNAP benefits per month (1000 x 0.3 = 300; 640 – 300 = 340).
Does Being Pregnant Affect Your SNAP Eligibility & Benefits?
Does an unborn child count for Food Stamps? Because the USDA website doesn’t offer much information in regards to SNAP benefits during pregnancy, we called up a SNAP hotline to confirm how pregnancy affects SNAP benefits and eligibility.
Being pregnant doesn’t usually doesn’t affect your SNAP eligibility or benefits because the child cannot be counted as a member of the household until birth. If you’re already on SNAP while pregnant, once your child is born, the monthly allotment will increase based on the size of the household. While pregnancy won’t affect eligibility or benefits with respect to your household size, it does change one SNAP eligibility requirement — pregnant women aren’t expected to meet the same work requirements as other able-bodied adults.
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?
If you have children, this will affect your SNAP benefits as it increases the number of members in your household. The more members you have, the more money you can receive per month as part of your SNAP benefits. 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, they can often still be counted as one household as long as the members (aside from the parents) are under the age of 22. According to the SNAP hotline representative, there’s no maximum age at which a child will no longer be counted as part of the household. At 22, a member can decide whether to stay part of their household or to apply for SNAP benefits on their own.
In our above example, a family of four making $1,000 a month got $340 in SNAP benefits per month. If mom gives birth, the household increases to five people, raising the minimum monthly allotment to $740. Removing what the family is expected to pay of its own income on groceries (30%, or $300), they’ll now receive $440 a month in benefits.
Children may also affect your snap benefits in other ways. For instance, they may factor into the deductions made from the gross income when determining net income. Furthermore, they may affect employment requirements, as those who are responsible for caring for children may have more flexibility in the amount of time they must spend working or in work/employment training programs in order to continue receiving benefits.
The SNAP system can be very helpful if you’re facing hard times; not only will you be able to receive extra money for food but you’ll also have access to work or training programs that can help you get a job. Eligibility is based mainly on assets and income, but someone who does qualify could lose their eligibility by failing to meet work-related requirements. The amount of money a household can receive monthly to use on food is dependent on the size of the household and monthly net income. Does an unborn child count for Food Stamps? No. There are currently no extra benefits for women during pregnancy, though having a child will increase the size of the household and thus the monthly SNAP allowance. As long as a family is living under the same roof and eating the same food, they can be considered a household regardless of the ages of the family members.
To learn more about where you can use an EBT card and what can be purchased with it, check out our articles Grocery Stores That Accept EBT/Food Stamps/SNAP: Local + Online and What Can You Buy with Food Stamps/EBT? Listed. Plus What You Can’t.
Have other things baby-related on your mind? Check out our article: Where to Have a Baby Shower for Free