The Program Access Index (PAI) is designed to indicate the degree to which low-income people have access to SNAP benefits. The PAI is not, strictly speaking, a measure of participation among people eligible for SNAP benefits. It is a simple index of the average monthly number of SNAP participants (excluding disaster assistance recipients) over the course of a calendar year to the number of people with income below 125 percent of the official poverty line in each state.
States may have a PAI above 1.0 because the 125 percent poverty estimate does not fully capture all people eligible for SNAP. The SNAP gross income limit is 130 percent of poverty, and it is higher in some states. Additionally, households with members who are elderly or have a disability may be eligible for SNAP with gross incomes above 130 percent of poverty.