Some members of a household may be ineligible for SNAP because of their immigration status, sanctions relating to previous participation in the program, or because they are students or participating in a job action. In most cases, some or all of the income of household members ineligible for SNAP is counted in the SNAP budgeting process.
Budgeting for Non-citizens
The income of people ineligible due to immigration status is prorated proportionately to the number of people included in the SNAP case. Thus, if there are three people in the household and two are eligible to receive SNAP, two-thirds of the ineligible person’s income would count as income for the SNAP household.
Divide the number of people in the SNAP case (eligible household members) by the total number of household members (eligible and ineligible). Then multiply household income by this number.
For example, a household of 4 has one ineligible non-citizen member:
3 ÷ 4 = .75
The household’s income is multiplied by .75, and the result is budgeted as income to the SNAP household, with earned income receiving the earned income deduction.
However, if an eligible household member earns the household’s income, the full amount is budgeted. There is no prorating to allow for the presence of the ineligible household member. Resources of ineligible non-citizens are counted in their entirety—not prorated.
Deductions for Households with Ineligible Non-citizens
The shelter and dependent care expenses billed to or paid by the ineligible household member are prorated in the same manner as income. The amount of actual expenses paid by the eligible household members can be deducted. The household receives a full SUA.
Budgeting Rules for SNAP-eligible Sponsored Non-citizens
If a sponsored non-citizen is eligible for SNAP, the income of a non-household member who sponsored a non-citizen may be counted. This “sponsor deeming” applies only to sponsor agreements entered into since December 1997.
Very few non-citizens should be subject to sponsor deeming. Sponsor deeming does not apply to:
- People with deportation withheld
- LPRs with 40 qualifying quarters, or
- LPRs who are indigent (whose gross income, including any income provided by the sponsor, is below 130% of the federal poverty level)
Additionally, sponsor deeming does not apply if:
- The sponsor is a part of the SNAP household
- The sponsor is ineligible for SNAP based on immigration status, or
- The sponsored non-citizen is a battered spouse or dependent
In addition to the sponsor deeming requirement, there is also a “sponsor liability” rule for non-citizens whose sponsors entered into a sponsor agreement since December 1997. Under the sponsor liability rule, the sponsor may be held liable for—and asked to repay—the value of any SNAP benefits issued to the sponsored non-citizen. However, in New York State, even though the SNAP office may request reimbursement from sponsors, OTDA has indicated that no legal action will be pursued against sponsors for repayment.
Budgeting Shelter Costs for Homeless People
Homeless Shelter Deduction
The Homeless Shelter Deduction can be applied to families who are not living in a shelter or receiving free shelter for the entire month. These households are assumed to be incurring a shelter cost and the applicant does not need to prove actual shelter expenses to receive this deduction.
If the Homeless Shelter Deduction is used in budgeting, the household is not eligible to receive a SUA of any level.
If actual shelter costs can be verified and they are more than the standard Homeless Shelter Deduction ($179.66), the regular shelter deduction is used.
Regular Shelter Deduction
If the family is incurring any actual shelter costs that they can document (e.g., paying to stay with family/friends) and these expenses are greater than the Homeless Shelter Deduction ($179.66), then the actual shelter costs will be deducted.
If a homeless household is living in their car and making a car payment that is more than the standard Homeless Shelter Deduction ($179.66), then this would be considered the household’s actual shelter deduction.
When using a regular shelter deduction, families and individuals would be eligible for at least a Level 3 SUA ($31), possibly more, depending on what their financial contributions to the dwelling are.
Other Deductions Homeless Applicants May Use
- Child support
- Medical expenses for elderly/disabled households
- Daycare costs for most families
The full income of a person sanctioned due to work rule violations or disqualified due to IPV is budgeted, and all deductions may be taken. Therefore, the budget is calculated as if the sanctioned person were participating, except that the household size is reduced in determining income eligibility and SNAP allotment amounts. Resources of sanctioned people are counted in their entirety.
Self-employment income: income received from a self-employment enterprise. Some examples include:
- Managing rental property:
- Managed 20 hours or more each week counted as earned income
- Managed less than 20 hours a week counted as unearned income
- In-home daycare provider
- Running own business
If self-employment income is meant to support the household throughout the year:
- Average the income over a 12-month period:
- Even if the income is received during a shorter period of time, and/or
- If the household receives income from additional sources.
If self-employment income only represents a portion of the household’s yearly income:
- Average the income over the time period it is intended to cover.
Example: If a person runs an ice cream stand each summer, but has a regular job during the rest of the year, the income from the ice cream stand can be averaged over the months that it is in operation.
Determining Gross Monthly Self-employment Income:
- Add the total amount of self-employment income (including the full amount of capital gains—see below),
- Subtract the cost of producing the self-employment income,
- Divide the self-employment income by 12 or by the number of months the income is intended to cover,
- The resulting figure is the household’s gross monthly self-employment income,
- Continue through the rest of the SNAP budgeting process.
For SNAP purposes, a capital gain is a profit that results from the sale of capital goods, equipment, or property. This is calculated by comparing the sales price to the cost. If the sales price is greater, there is a gain. If the costs are greater, there is a loss.
The cost includes, but is not limited to:
- Purchase commission
- Improvements, or
- Sales expenses (broker’s fees and commissions)
The full amount of the capital gain, if any, is counted as income for SNAP purposes.
Allowable Adjustments from Income for Self-employment Households
The allowable cost of producing the self-employment income includes, but is not limited to, the identifiable costs of:
- Raw material
- Payments on the principal of the purchase price of income-producing real estate and capital assets
- Equipment and machinery
- Other durable goods
- Interest paid to purchase income-producing property
- Insurance premiums
- Taxes paid on income-producing property
In-home child care providers can exclude:
- A standard deduction of $5 per day per child in care (not including their own children), or
- The amount they receive from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
- Actual costs if they exceed the $5 standard expense (these must be verified).
Applicants/recipients residing in income-producing multi-unit properties can exclude:
- The portion of the building expenses related to the cost of producing the self-employment income, which includes:
- Property taxes
- The portion of the building costs for the applicants’/recipients’ own living unit may not be excluded from the gross self-employment income, but is allowed as shelter deductions in the regular budgeting process.
Non-Allowable Adjustments for Self-employment Households
The following items are not allowable costs of producing self-employment income:
- Net losses from previous years
- Federal, state, and local income taxes
- Money set aside for retirement purposes
- Other work-related personal expenses (such as transportation to and from work)
To calculate a household’s monthly self-employment income, add the gross self-employment income (including capital gains) and then subtract out the cost of producing the self-employment income. The resulting figure is the household’s net monthly self-employment income. (Note: The household is still entitled to the 20% earned income deduction during the net income test.)
Sum of gross self-employment income – Cost of producing self-employment income = Net monthly self-employment income
Figuring out what military pay and allowance must be counted as income for SNAP for families with members in the armed forces can be difficult. Here are examples of how military pay and allowances are counted in SNAP budgeting:
When the service member lives with the rest of the family:
- Count all military pay as income for SNAP purposes.
- Count the living allowances that military personnel get in addition to their base pay.
There are two allowances:
- BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence). This pays for meals for a military person living off-post, and for the meals for the dependents of a military person.
- BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing). The BAH is a single payment that varies by locality and is based on local costs for civilians at similar pay levels. This allowance replaces the older BAQ (Basic Allowance for Quarters) and the VHA (Variable Housing Allowance).
Some military personnel living on-post get free housing. Free housing is an in-kind benefit that is not counted as income.
When the service member is deployed away from the family:
- Count only the money that is available to the family. Do not count money that the service member keeps.
- Do not count the portion of the family’s income that is hazardous duty pay.
When the service member’s family also receives nutrition assistance from the Department of Defense (DoD):
- The family may be eligible for both the DoD’s program and regular SNAP benefits.
- Families receiving both benefits will have to count the DoD assistance as income when computing the family’s SNAP benefit.