Calculating the SNAP Benefit Allotment

To estimate a household’s SNAP benefit, it’s important to understand the concepts of Net SNAP Income, the Net Income Test, the Thrifty Food Plan, and SNAP Budget Income.

Net SNAP Income—Net SNAP Income is calculated by subtracting the Excess Shelter Deduction from the Adjusted Income.

Net Income Test—The net income test only applies to households that are not not categorically eligible for SNAP. For these households, the Net SNAP Income amount must be under 100% of the FPL for the household to be SNAP-eligible. Note that while the net income test doesn’t apply to categorically eligible households, not all categorically eligible households will be able to receive SNAP.

Thrifty Food Plan Amount (Maximum SNAP Allotment for Household Size)—The maximum SNAP benefit allotment is based on the Thrifty Food Plan, a theoretical idea of the costs of feeding a household. See the Monthly Maximum SNAP Allotment chart on the SNAP Standards and Deductions Reference Sheet.

SNAP Budget Income—Thirty percent of a household’s net income is assumed to be available for food purchases, and is deducted from the maximum SNAP allotment.

Estimated SNAP Benefit

To calculate an estimated SNAP benefit, a household’s SNAP Budget Income is subtracted from the household’s Thrifty Food Plan amount. This is the estimated SNAP benefit for the household. The minimum SNAP benefit issued to all eligible one- and two-person households is $23. If the estimated SNAP benefit for a one- and two-person household falls between $1 and $23, the household will be eligible for $23 per month.

If the estimated benefit is zero or a negative number:

  • One- and two-person households will get the $23 minimum benefit.
  • Households of 3 or more will not be eligible for any SNAP benefits