The requirements for food stamps eligibility in Alaska are extensive. For instance, these factors include your income level, residency status, employment status and more. Because the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is only intended for families that actually need it, applicants must meet all of the criteria for SNAP eligibility.
Alaska food stamp qualifications are established at the federal level by the state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). Because the DHSS may adjust certain eligibility criteria on an annual basis, it is important to review the most current requirements if you want to apply for these benefits. Reviewing the criteria before you file an application may help you determine whether SNAP is the right program for you.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Alaska
When assessing your SNAP eligibility, you must review the program’s requirements for U.S. citizenship or legal status. Moreover, you must live in Alaska in order to apply for benefits in the state. To verify this, you will need to provide your home address and certain other information.
The Division of Public Assistance in the DHSS requires applicants to be citizens or legal non-citizens. Thus, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) during the SNAP application process. SSNs are also used to avoid duplicate applications.
Overall, each member of your family listed on the application must submit an SSN. You are not required to list every family member, however, particularly if certain members of your family do not have SSNs or choose to opt out of SNAP benefits. However, if these family members are employed, their incomes may still factor into the final eligibility decision.
If you do not qualify for food stamps in Alaska but members of your family do, you may apply on their behalf and leave your SSN out of the application form. Note that you do not have to submit your immigration status on the form either. If your family members qualify for SNAP, their benefit amount will not be affected by your immigration status.
In order to qualify for the program as a non-citizen, you must have lived in the U.S. for a minimum of five years. There are exceptions to this rule for the following groups of applicants:
- Lawfully present children who are 17 years of age or younger
- People with disabilities
- Asylum seekers
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Alaska?
An online SNAP calculator may help you determine your eligibility based on your income and other important factors. While it is not the same as an application, it may help you make an informed decision on whether or not you should apply for the program. These types of pre-screening tools may ask you about the following eligibility factors:
- Your income
- The income of other working family members
- The number of family members in your household
- Your rent or mortgage
- Utility bills
- Forms of unearned income, such as child care support or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Note: If you are 60 years of age or older or have a disability, you may be asked other questions pertaining to these categories.
The SNAP income guidelines require you to disclose information about unearned income. Thus, you may be asked to submit information on medical expenses or SSI benefits. It is important to remember that your eligibility for other government assistance programs will not affect your eligibility for SNAP, but the supplemental income you receive from those programs may have an impact.
The AK food stamp income guidelines also state that your household’s annual earnings must fall below the maximum income level for the number of people in your home. For example, if there are two people living in your home (including you), the annual maximum income level is an estimated $27,000. If there are three people living in your home, the maximum income level is nearly $34,700.
It is important to note that the DHSS will not count certain forms of income, such as loans, grants and awards from government programs. The earnings of family members who are 17 years of age or younger and enrolled in school will also be excluded.
Make sure to look at the Alaska SNAP income guidelines for 2019 so that you follow the most recent income limits. These guidelines will also list the assets limit, which include cash on hand or in your checking and savings accounts. Assets that are not counted include:
- The housing unit you occupy
- Household goods, such as furniture, decorations and appliances
- Burial plots
- Money in retirement savings accounts
- Pension plans
- Certain college savings plans
The income requirements for food stamps allow for certain deductions. As an example, you may deduct a certain percentage of your gross earned income. Moreover, you may qualify for a standard deduction if one to five people live in your home, including you. This standard deduction increases slightly if more than six family members live in your home.
In addition, you may qualify for certain other deductions if you have children. Learn how to navigate the SNAP requirements when you download our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Alaska
Wondering how to qualify for food stamps in AK after reviewing the income requirements? First, you and your family members must meet certain work requirements. Members of a household who are between 16 and 59 years of age must be registered to work. Exceptions apply for family members who are enrolled full-time in school or have a disability.
You and the working members of your family must also enroll in an employment and training program, if your local food assistance office offers one. In any case, you will not be allowed to reduce your work hours voluntarily or quit your job.
In addition, your food stamps eligibility depends on whether you and your family members pass a background check. Certain types of illegal activity and crimes listed on your background check may be grounds for your disqualification from the SNAP program.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Alaska?
You must continue to meet the food stamp qualifications in AK even after you start receiving benefits. If your circumstances change, you are required to report those changes to your food assistance office. For instance, an increase in wages that puts you over the income limit must be reported within 10 days.
If you are worried about maintaining your eligibility, make sure to follow the program requirements and meet its guidelines. For example, you must ensure that you are not fired from your job due to poor performance, and you must attend any mandated employment and training program, if applicable. Find out other ways to maintain your qualifications for SNAP by downloading our free guide.