The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides a monthly benefit to low-income Americans that can be used to purchase food. Though SNAP is a federal program, each state sets its own rules about who can qualify for benefits and how much they receive. Whether or not teachers qualify for benefits depends on the rules of the state where they live.
Some states determine eligibility for SNAP based on annual income. Even though a teacher may not receive a paycheck during the summer months, if her household’s total annual income is above the threshold set by her state, she won’t qualify for benefits. For example, in North Carolina, a two-person household with an annual income before taxes of more than $31,460 is not eligible for food stamp benefits. In Connecticut, the limit for eligibility in a two-person household is $20,449. However, states like Massachusetts consider monthly gross income, not annual income. Massachusetts looks at your income for the four weeks prior to your application for benefits. If you are a teacher who does not receive a paycheck during the summer months, you could be eligible for benefits if your household income for the four weeks prior to your application falls below $1681 per month for a two-person household.
In addition to looking at an applicant's income, states look at assets such as savings and checking accounts. In North Carolina, Massachusetts and Connecticut, for example, if these assets total more than $2,001 -- or $3,001 if you live with another person who is more than 60 years old -- you don’t qualify for benefits. Assets such as your home, your vehicle, personal belongings and retirement accounts aren’t used in figuring your asset limit.