Adding Rows: To add more rows to your screen, click on the small “plus” button next to the words "Add More Rows.” This button should appear at the bottom of the screen.
Age: Please tell us the age of all the people in the household. If any child is less than a year old, enter 1. The rules for the SNAP benefits might depend on the ages of the people in the household.
Assets: The word “assets” and the word “resources” mean things that you own. But for the SNAP, some of those things count as assets and other things do not.
- Some things that count as assets or resources:
- Money that you have in cash or in checking or savings accounts
- Your house and belongings
Some examples of assets:
- Cash on Hand
Money that any household member carries with him or her, or keeps in the house.
If you own any land or buildings that you don’t live in, these count as assets. But if you use this land to get income, that land doesn’t count as an asset. However the income you get from that land counts as income.
Assets are important for determining if you can get SNAP benefits. If you have a lot of assets, you are probably not eligible. For most households the limit is $2000 in assets. But if you have a disabled person or a person over age 60 in your household, the limit is $3000 for assets.
But if the assets you have don’t count, you are still eligible. So if this pre-screening tool says you aren’t eligible, you should still check with your local office to make sure. Maybe some of your assets don’t count. Then you would be eligible.
Categorical Eligibility: Some people get SNAP benefits even if they don't meet the asset limit. Those people are called "categorically eligible." If you are one of these people, you get SNAP benefits even if your assets are too high. But if your income is too high you might not get them.
You are categorically eligible if:
- All people in your household get TANF and/or SSI
You may also be categorically eligible if:
- You qualify based on other special rules in your state. If a student or alien lives in your household, and does not get TANF or SSI, you might still be categorically eligible. Remember to always check with your local SNAP office to make sure you are categorically eligible. The rules for categorical eligibility always depend on the state you live in."
Court-Ordered Child Support: Court-ordered money you must pay to a child living outside the household. This money is required by law.
Child Support Amount: In this space, you say how much you pay in court-ordered child support.
Citizenship / Immigrant: If an immigrant has become a U.S. citizen, he or she has all the rights of a citizen who was born in America. The only exception is the person cannot be the President or Vice President of the United States. But in all countries the person is treated like any other American citizen.
Citizen: Usually you must be a U.S. citizen to get SNAP benefits. But some people who are not U.S. citizens can also get SNAP benefits. Some of them are automatically eligible. Others have to meet certain requirements. Some must wait before they become eligible.
Non-citizens who qualify automatically:
- Non-citizen nationals (people born in American Samoa or Swain’s Island)
If you are not one of the people above, and you are not a citizen, you must be a “qualified alien” to get SNAP benefits. Sometimes you might have to wait to get your SNAP benefits. It depends on what kind of qualified alien you are.
Qualified aliens who are eligible with no waiting period:
- People granted asylum under Section 208 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA)
Qualified aliens who are eligible after a waiting period:
- Any LPR who has earned, or can be credited with, 40 quarters of work, or who has been a qualified alien for 5 years, whichever comes first
An LPR who has earned, or can be credited with, fewer than 40 quarters of work
- A person paroled for at least one year under section 212(d)(5) of INA
Debt (Outstanding): Any money that is owed on a loan. If you have not paid off your car or truck, you have an outstanding vehicle debt. If you put down the Outstanding Debt on the vehicle(s) you have, the pre-screening tool will calculate the vehicles’ equity value.
Clear Rows: If there are too many rows on a page, you can get rid of some of them by clicking on the “clear” link. You don’t have to fill in all of the rows on any page of the pre-screening tool.
Dependent Care: Care for a child or disabled adult so the person can go to school, go to work, or find a job.
Disabled: A person is considered to be disabled for SNAP purposes if he or she:
- Receives Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) benefits
But even if you are not one of these people, you don’t have to meet the SNAP work requirement if you are disabled. If you have a letter from a doctor saying you’re disabled, you do not have to work to be eligible for SNAP benefits.
Also, if a member of your household is physically disabled, and needs a vehicle to get around, that vehicle can be excluded from household assets. You need only a doctor’s letter to prove that.
Earned Income: Income from work. This can be wages or tips, and also the money you make if you are self-employed.
Types of Earned Income:
- Wages: Payment for services. Wages can be paid weekly, every two weeks, twice a month, monthly, etc.
Expedited Service: If your income and assets are very low, you can get “expedited service” for SNAP benefits. That means you get your SNAP benefits much faster than usual. After you apply for SNAP benefits, you will normally get an answer within 30 days of applying. But if you qualify for expedited service, you will get them in 7 days or less.
-You can get expedited service if you meet ANY of these criteria:
-You have less income and savings this month than your shelter cost
-You have assets of less than $100 and income less than $150 per month
-You are a migrant or seasonal farm worker with less than $100 in assets, and your last farm job is done. And, you won’t get more than $25 from your next job for 10 days after you apply for SNAP benefits.
First Name (on the Drop-Down Menu): If you select a first name from the Drop-Down Menu, you can select that household member. Once you give the first names of household members, the names will be used throughout the Pre-Screening Tool to determine assets and other information for each member.
Fair Market Value (FMV): The price you would expect to get if you were to sell your vehicle to a dealer. Note that this value is NOT necessarily the value you actually did sell it for. It is also NOT the amount you might be trying to sell it for. It is a set amount for every vehicle, and can be looked up using one of these web sites:
• Kelley Blue Book
• NADA Online
When you look up your vehicle at one of those sites, look for the trade-in or wholesale value. Once you have determined each vehicle’s Fair Market Value, enter the amount for each vehicle in the appropriate field.
Then, enter the Outstanding Debt, if any, on the vehicle(s). The Pre-Screening Tool will calculate the Equity Value for you.
Back, Forward & Exit: By moving the mouse over one of these buttons at the bottom of the form, you can go from one web page to another one. You can visit the last one you saw by clicking on “back,” or move on by clicking “forward.” You can close the page by clicking “exit.”
Gross Amount: Total amount before deductions, adjustments, or exemptions.
Gross Income: Your total income before adjustments, deductions, or exemptions.
Homeless: A person or household is homeless if it has no regular place to live. This includes individuals and families living in shelters. It also includes people doubled up with family or friends.
If you are homeless, you can get a shelter deduction even if you don’t always have shelter. A shelter deduction is money that doesn’t count as assets or income because you have to spend it on shelter. For most people it is rent, mortgage or utilities. In most states, homeless people get a shelter deduction of $143 per month. That means you can subtract that from how much income you have.
For a list of the states that have this deduction, click HERE .
Household: A SNAP household is a person or a group of people living together who buy food and make meals together. The group does not need to be related. Sometimes people who live together count as one household, even if they do not buy and prepare meals together. For example: 1) spouses who live together, and 2) children under the age of 22 who live with a parent or stepparent, even if they have their own children.
If you live with other people, but they buy their own food and make their own meals, you may be able to apply for SNAP as a separate household. If you do this, you might get more benefits. This is because their income will not be added to your income in order to calculate the benefits you will get.
If someone is renting your home from you, that person is probably not in your SNAP household. This is true even if the person lives with you. The person is in your SNAP household only if he or she eats the same food you do. So a person who rents a room from you, but does not share meals with you, should apply as a separate household. If the person does so, both of you can get more benefits.
If you have any additional questions about who lives in the household, call the state hotline number.
How Often: This drop-down menu lets you choose a time period for how often you do something.
How did you learn about this tool?: Select from the drop-down menu how you learned about this tool.