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Resource | Regulations

Standard Utility Allowances

States annually update Standard Utility Allowances (SUAs) to reflect changes in utility costs. When determining a household’s eligibility, states consider a household’s total shelter costs, including the cost of utilities. Since actual utility costs are often hard to determine, states can use a SUA, which is the average cost of utilities in the state or local area. Different states may use different terms to describe these allowances.

Resource | Comment Request

Comment Request - SNAP State Agency Options for Standard Utility Allowances and Self-Employment Income

This information collection addresses the state agency reporting burden associated with the following state agency options under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Establishing and reviewing standard utility allowances (SUAs) and establishing methodology for offsetting cost of producing self-employment income.

Resource | Proposed Rule

Proposed Rule: SNAP Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowances

The proposed rule would revise SNAP regulations to standardize the methodology for calculating standard utility allowances. 

Resource | Fact Sheets

Modernizing the State Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowances

In October 2019, FNS published a proposed rule entitled “Standardization of State Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowances.” This action modernizes the standard utility allowances used in calculating Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in order to enhance program integrity and ensure equity among program participants.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations

Methods to Standardize State Standard Utility Allowances

This study develops standard methodologies that might be used to construct standard utility allowances, which are used by States as part of the SNAP eligibility and benefit determination.

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2011-0055

SUA Annual Review and Adjustment - Option to Postpone Annual Adjustment

This memorandum provides a policy option to states to help soften the impact that reduced SUAs might have on SNAP households in certain state.

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2010-0043

SNAP - Standard Utility Allowance Annual Review and Adjustment Waiver for Certain States

Due to the impact on SNAP benefits resulting from continuing fluctuations in energy prices, FNS is modifying the Standard Utility Allowance blanket waiver memorandum of Oct. 14, 2010 to allow certain states to extend fiscal year (FY) 2010 SUA amounts through March 31, 2011.

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2009-0052

SNAP - Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) Annual Review and Adjustment Biennial Option

It has come to FNS's attention that, due to unusual shifts in utility costs, SNAP benefits to needy families may decrease when states make annual SUA adjustments this year - even if the circumstances of those households remain constant.

Resource | Policy Memos | FNS-GD-2005-0057

Adjusting Standard Utility Allowances for the 2005-2006 Winter

Several state agencies have recently asked FNS to approve increases in their Standard Utility Allowances (SUA’s) for heating and cooling based on projections of substantial price increases in energy sources – particularly natural gas. We are aware of broad interest in the issue of the impact of higher energy prices on household budgets and appreciate the conferences and correspondence that bring this issue to our attention.

Resource | Proposed Rule

Proposed Rule: FSP Eligibility and Certification Provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002

This rulemaking proposes to amend Food Stamp Program regulations to implement 11 provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 that establish new eligibility and certification requirements for the receipt of food stamps.