Fact Sheet on Resources, Income, and Benefits

Last Published: 10/05/2015

(To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, visit our pre-screening tool at http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov)

For Households in the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. To get SNAP benefits, households must meet certain tests, including resource and income tests.


Households may have $2,250 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3,250 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled. However, certain resources are NOT counted, such as a home and lot, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI),  the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and most retirement (pension) plans.

Licensed vehicles are NOT counted if they are:

  • used for income-producing purposes,
  • annually producing income consistent with their fair market value,
  • needed for long distance travel for work (other than daily commute),
  • used as the home,
  • needed to transport a physically disabled household member,
  • needed to carry most of the household's fuel or water, or
  • if the household has little equity in the vehicle (because of money owed on the vehicle, it would bring no more than $1,500 if sold)

For the following licensed vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 is counted:

  • one per adult household member, and
  • any other vehicle a household member under 18 drives to work, school, job training, or to look for work

For all other vehicles, the fair market value over $4,650 or the equity value, whichever is more, is counted as a resource.


Households have to meet income tests unless all members are receiving TANF, SSI, or in some places general assistance. Most households must meet both the gross and net income tests, but a household with an elderly person or a person who is receiving certain types of disability payments only has to meet the net income test. Households, except those noted, that have income over the amounts listed below cannot get SNAP benefits.

(Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016)

Household size Gross monthly income (130 percent of poverty) Net monthly income (100 percent of poverty)


$1,276 $ 981


1,726 1,328


2,177 1,675


2,628 2,021


3,078 2,368


3,529 2,715


3,980 3,061


4,430 3,408

Each additional member

+451 +347


Gross income means a household's total, nonexcluded income, before any deductions have been made. Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.

*SNAP gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

Deductions are allowed as follows:

  • A 20 percent deduction from earned income;
  • A standard deduction of $155 for household sizes of 1 to 3 and $168 for a household size of four (higher for some larger households);
  • A dependent care deduction when needed for work, training, or education;
  • Medical expenses for elderly or disabled members that are more than $35 for the month if they are not paid by insurance or someone else;
  • Legally owed child support payments;
  • Some States allow homeless households a set amount ($143) for shelter costs; and
  • Excess shelter costs that are more than half of the household's income after the other deductions. Allowable costs include the cost of fuel to heat and cook with, electricity, water, the basic fee for one telephone, rent or mortgage payments and taxes on the home. (Some States allow a set amount for utility costs instead of actual costs.) The amount of the shelter deduction cannot be more than $504 unless one person in the household is elderly or disabled.(The limit is higher in Alaska, Hawaii and Guam.)


Gross Income Computation


 Determine household size.....  4 people with no elderly or disabled members.  
 Add gross monthly income...  $1,500 earned income + $550 social security =  $2,050 gross income.  
 If gross monthly income is less than the limit  for household size, determine net income.  $2,050 is less than the $2,628 allowed for a 4-  person household, so determine net income.


Subtract Deductions to Determine Net Income and Apply the Net Income Test


Subtract 20% earned income  deduction.  $2,050 gross income $1,500 earned income x 20% = $300. $2,050 - $300 = $1,750
Subtract standard deduction $1,750 - $168 standard deduction for a household size of 4 = $1,582
Subtract dependent care deduction $1,582 - $361 dependent care = $1,221
Subtract child support deduction 0
Subtract medical costs over $35 for elderly and disabled 0
Excess shelter deduction $1,221 adjusted income/2 = $610.50
 $700 total shelter - $610.50 (half of  
 income) = $89.50 excess shelter cost
  • Determine half of adjusted income, then
  •  Determine if shelter costs are more  than half of adjusted income, then
  • Subtract excess amount, but not more  than the limit, from adjusted  income.
$1,221 - $89.50 = $1,132 Net monthly income (rounded up) Since the net monthly income is less than $2,021 allowed for a household of 4, the household has met the income test. 
Apply the net income test Since the net monthly income is   less  than $1,988 allowed for a  household of 4, the household has  met the income test.


The amount of benefits the household gets is called an allotment. The net monthly income of the household is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment for the household size to find the household's allotment. This is because SNAP households are expected to spend about 30 percent of their income on food.

(October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015)

People in Household Maximum  Monthly Allotment

$ 194


$ 357


$ 511


$ 649


$ 771


$ 925


$ 1,022


$ 1,169

Each additional person

$    146


Benefit Computation


 Multiply net income by 30%...  (Round up)

 Subtract 30% of net income from the maximum  allotment for the household size...

 $1,132 net monthly income  x .3 = $339.6 (round up to $340)

 $649 maximum allotment for 4 - $340 (30% of   net income) = $309, SNAP Allotment  for a full month

Benefits will be provided from the day the household applies.

SNAP benefits are available to all eligible households regardless of race, sex, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs.

For further information, contact your local or State SNAP office. It may be listed in the State or local government pages of the telephone book, under food stamps, social services, human services or a similar name. You can also find the nearest local office by calling your State's SNAP hot line.

(To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, visit our pre-screening tool at http://www.snap-step1.usda.gov/fns/ )