If you think you may be eligible for SNAP Benefits, it is worth informing yourself, especially if you are a college student as recent changes may mean you are now eligible even if you weren’t before.
As part of a response to the ongoing pandemic crisis, student eligibility has been temporarily extended, so read on to find out more.
What are SNAP benefits?
Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a US federal financial assistance program which helps those who are eligible to purchase food.
Are students eligible for SNAP?
Usually, most students in higher education more than half-time are not eligible, unless they meet an exemption and fulfil all other eligibility requirements.
What are the exemptions for SNAP?
For a full list of exemptions, visit the SNAP website for further information but below are some of the instances when a student in full-time (or more than half-time) higher education may still be eligible for SNAP benefits. Those are:
- Are under age 18 or are age 50 or older.
- Have a physical or mental disability.
- Work at least 20 hours a week in paid employment.
- Participate in a state or federally financed work study program.
- Participate in an on-the-job training program.
- Care for a child under the age of 6.
- Care for a child age 6 to 11 and lack the necessary child care enabling you to attend school and work 20 hours a week or participate in work study.
- Are a single parent enrolled full-time in college and taking care of a child under 12.
- Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance.
- Are enrolled in a TANF Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program.
What are the new student SNAP exemptions because of Covid?
From January 2021, two new types of student are now exempt and therefore may be able to claim SNAP Benefits. These are students who:
- Are eligible to participate in state or federally financed work study during the regular school year.
- Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 0 in the current academic year.
If you meet an exemption which could allow you to be eligible for support from SNAP, you will need documental proof. Your local SNAP office can help you.