41 states are helping more families become eligible for SNAP benefits by enacting "categorical eligibility." A household is "categorically eligible" when they enroll in one social service program and then automatically qualify for another program like SNAP.
Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) refers to the policy that makes most, if not all, households categorically eligible for SNAP because they receive a non-cash TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funded benefit or service. The TANF-funded benefit or service can be as simple as the person receiving a TANF informational pamphlet or 800-number. Yes, it's that simple. Sometimes just having a TANF-funded phone number on the SNAP application makes people categorically eligible for SNAP through TANF.
Why is this important? Being categorically eligible for SNAP through TANF helps more people qualify for SNAP. Because in most states that allow BBCE there is a higher gross income limit to be eligible for SNAP and/or there is no asset limit to be eligible.
It is also important for FNS partners who conduct SNAP prescreening and application assistance to understand BBCE because clients who might not be eligible under normal SNAP rules may in fact be eligible under BBCE. The BBCE chart identifies, by state, the TANF-funded benefit or service used to confer BBCE and the associated asset and gross income limits. Note that in most cases, this means clients will be required to apply for SNAP benefits at their local office. However, this does not preclude partner organizations from providing assistance prior to the office visit.