If you receive financial assistance in the form of food stamps, now referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, you have to meet a set of criteria to remain eligible. If you lose your eligibility, you can reapply, but there are specific guidelines for the reapplication process.
To qualify for SNAP, an individual or family must meet the income requirement. For 2018, a family of three can have a gross monthly income of $2,213 and a net monthly income of $1,704. If you are single with no dependents, you can earn $1,307 in gross income and $1,005 in net income. Gross income refers to income before taxes, while net income refers to income after deductions. Deductions include housing, utilities, medical bills and other bills that can vary by state. If you are deemed eligible, then you are awarded a certain level of SNAP benefits. For a family of three, the maximum benefit is $504. For a single person, it's $192.
Reasons for Disqualification
If your income increases and you don't report this increase, you can be disqualified and denied benefits, even if your income decreases. Other reasons for disqualification include quitting a job if it puts you over the eligibility maximum or voluntarily decreasing your hours under the work and school requirement. Disqualification can range from 30 to 90 days. After you serve your probation period, you can reapply for SNAP benefits.
Other Reasons for Closure
If you get a raise at work and report it, but it puts you over the maximum income allowed, your SNAP case will close. If there are any other household changes such as the number of people in your household or changes in bills that you don't report, this can lead to closure as well. In these cases, if your circumstances change, you can usually reapply for benefits at any time, without waiting for a predetermined disqualification period.
Right to Appeal
Whether your case is closed due to disqualification or for some other reason, you can appeal the decision. The process of filing an appeal is written on the back of the letter you receive informing you that your case is being closed. Follow the directions in the letter to file your appeal and wait for a decision regarding when and where your appeal will be heard. If any materials are required, this will be explained in the instructions.
It's Best to Be Proactive
If you are changing jobs, getting a raise or something else in your life is about to change that could affect your eligibility, it's best to report those changes as soon as possible. Timely reporting can keep you from being penalized. You might be ruled ineligible to receive SNAP at that time, but not having to wait out a disqualification period means that if your situation changes at any time, you can immediately reapply.