Learn About Alabama Food Stamps Requirements
Your food stamps eligibility in Alabama is mainly determined by your income level. However, there are a variety of factors that impact your chances of receiving these benefits, including your state residency status, the number of people in your family and more. Fortunately, your eligibility for other government assistance programs will not affect whether you qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This means that you will not be denied SNAP benefits simply because you were denied benefits through another program.
Ultimately, you must meet each of the AL food stamp qualifications in order to receive these benefits. The state recommends that you read through these requirements beforehand, so that you know whether or not applying is in your best interest. Your eligibility will also be checked periodically, so it is important to know which factors might lower your benefit amount or cause you to lose assistance.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Alabama
When determining your SNAP eligibility in AL, your local office will assess your citizenship status and state residency in the state. These offices are required to do so by the Food Assistance Division of Alabama, which is overseen by the state Department of Human Resources (DHR).
Generally, you must be an Alabama resident in order to receive government assistance in the state. You must also be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident in the U.S. and have a Social Security Number (SSN). The DHR uses SSNs to verify identities and ensure that there are no duplicate applicants.
During the application process, you are not required to submit an SSN for every member of your family. However, family members who do not submit SSNs will not be eligible for benefits. Note that the incomes of family members who do not submit their SSNs may still factor into your approval or denial.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will most likely have to wait five years before you can qualify for food stamps. However, the following applicants may still receive benefits before living five years in the U.S.:
- Lawfully present children who are 17 years of age or younger.
- People with disabilities.
- People seeking asylum.
Note: If you do not qualify for SNAP but are the parent of a legally present child, you may apply for benefits on your child’s behalf.
It is important to remember that you are not required to provide your immigration status on the application form. Moreover, your benefit amount will not be affected by your citizenship or non-citizenship status, should you qualify.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Alabama?
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to determine your eligibility, you may use a SNAP calculator. This pre-screening tool may tell you whether you are eligible for benefits. In general, the following factors contribute to meeting the criteria for SNAP:
- Your income
- The income of other family members
- Your rent or mortgage
- Utility bills
- Forms of unearned income, such as child care support or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- And more
Note: You may also be asked certain other questions if you have a disability and/or are 60 years of age or older.
Overall, it is important to understand the SNAP income guidelines in order to qualify for this program. The maximum income level you are allowed to have will depend on the number of people in your household. For instance, the 2019 maximum gross income level for a household of one is a little over $1,300 per month, while the maximum gross income level for a household of two is nearly $1,800 per month.
Initially, you may not meet these food stamp income guidelines, because your income may be above the limit for your household size. However, after certain acceptable deductions, you may meet these qualifications. For instance, you are allowed a standard deduction based on the number of people in your family. You may also take the following deductions into account:
- Earned income deduction, which means that you can subtract a certain percentage of your family’s gross income.
- Self-employment deduction, if you or a family member is self-employed.
- Medical deduction, if you have an elderly or disabled family member and must pay over a certain amount each month in medical expenses.
- Shelter costs, which can include deductions for rent, mortgage, property tax and similar expenses.
Remember that you must review the SNAP income guidelines for 2019 (or the most recent income guidelines) when determining your eligibility. Otherwise, you may be using the incorrect monthly income eligibility limits to determine your eligibility. To learn more about the income requirements for SNAP, download our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Alabama
If you are wondering how to qualify for food stamps in Alabama, you must be mindful of non-financial requirements as well. As an example, all members of your family who are between 18 and 50 years of age, have no children and have no disabilities or illnesses must be employed. In addition, they may not voluntarily reduce their hours or quit their jobs, and they must accept a job offer that is considered suitable.
If one of your family members who is not exempt from these rules fails to meet these requirements, your benefit amount may be reduced, or you may lose eligibility altogether.
Furthermore, the Alabama SNAP guidelines for eligibility state that you may not qualify if you or a family member goes on strike. However, if a family member goes on strike after you begin receiving benefits, there may be no effect on your benefits. With that said, you will also not be entitled to an increase in benefits due to the decrease in income caused by the strike.
Finally, you and your family members must pass a background check. If there is certain criminal activity on your record, you may be disqualified from the SNAP program.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Alabama?
Your food stamps eligibility will be checked on a regular basis while you receive benefits. If you want to maintain your benefit amount, you must abide by the work requirements of the program. This means that you must continue to work a minimum number of hours per week and do what you can to maintain your employment.
Abiding by the work requirements may eventually result in an increase to your income, which would cause a decrease in your benefit amount. However, this is the overall goal of the SNAP program, because the DHR aims to help families become financially independent. Find out which other factors will help you maintain your qualifications by downloading our free guide.