Expanded Categorical Eligibility and Resources

Expanded categorical eligibility is granted to most households applying for SNAP. Households granted categorical eligibility are budgeted differently. These families:

  • May be able to use higher gross income levels for eligibility, depending on the household type
  • Do not need to pass a resource test
  • Do not need to pass a net income test

Under Expanded Categorical Eligibility Rules, NYS allows families to use the following gross incomes for SNAP:

  • 200% FPL for households containing a senior or disabled member or that have out-of-pocket dependent costs;
  • 150% FPL for households that have earned income, and do not meet the 200% FPL criteria; and
  • 130% FPL for households that do not meet 200% or 150% FPL criteria.

See the SNAP Standards and Deductions Reference Sheet for the full FPL chart.

Households with Dependent Care Costs

Categorically eligible households with out-of-pocket dependent care costs can use 200% of the FPL when testing gross income. Households are eligible to deduct out-of-pocket daycare expenses when all adult members are:

  • Working or needing daycare to continue work,
  • Looking for work,
  • Attending employment training programs—not limited to SNAP E&T or Unemployment Insurance Benefit (UIB) job search, or
  • Pursuing education that is preparatory to employment.

Households with Earned Income

Categorically eligible households with earned income can use 150% of the FPL when applying for SNAP. 

All Other Households

All other households can be found categorically eligible for SNAP at 130% of FPL if they do not meet the criteria for using 200% or 150% of the FPL as explained above.

Households that Are Not Categorically Eligible

Most households that are income-eligible for SNAP are also categorically eligible. However, there are still a small number of households that cannot be considered categorically eligible and must have their resources and net income considered as part of the application process. These include:

  • Households with members who have been disqualified from SNAP due to an Intentional Program Violation (IPV) or other sanction;
  • Households with a senior or disabled member whose gross income is above 200% of the FPL per household size.

Senior/Disabled households may still qualify under regular SNAP rules if they meet the following conditions:

  • Resources are considered;
  • Senior/disabled households do not need to meet a gross income test (GIT);
  • Net income must be at or below 100% of the FPL for household size.

Resource Limitations for Households That Are Not Categorically Eligible

Resources are everything owned by the people in a household, including cash, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, lump-sum payments received, and real estate. Money raised through online “crowd-funding” is also countable as a resource if it is accessible to the SNAP household.

The resource limit for non-categorically eligible households with no elderly or disabled members is $2,750.

For those with an elderly or disabled household member, it is $4,250.

Any resource owned by a non-categorically eligible household counts toward the household’s resource limit, unless it is exempt. There are many exemptions from the resource rules. The most common ones are:

  • One licensed vehicle for each adult household member (additional licensed vehicles used by children under 18 to attend school, training, or work are also exempt)
  • One house (if the household lives in it)
  • Life insurance
  • One burial plot per person
  • Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs)
  • New York Achieving a Better Life Experience Accounts (ABLE)
  • “Tax Preferred” Retirement Accounts such as Keogh Plans, IRAs, Simplified Employer Plans, Profit Sharing Plans, and Cash Balance Plans
  • “Tax Preferred” educational accounts like 529s and Coverdell educational savings accounts
  • Inaccessible resource