There are several different food stamp qualifications you need to meet in order to enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In general, these qualifications involve your income and household composition. Some of these requirements apply to everyone, while other rules may vary based on your circumstances.
Your Arizona food stamps eligibility is determined by the Department of Economic Security (DES) after you submit an application for benefits. Once the DES deems you eligible, you will receive benefits for a set amount of time.
Beyond the initial application, it is necessary to renew your benefits in order to have them continue. This means that if you do not maintain your eligibility, you also might lose your benefits in the future. Below, learn how to qualify for food stamps in Arizona and discover which factors can affect your ability to keep getting assistance.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Arizona
The first food stamps eligibility requirement you need to meet relates to your legal presence in the U.S. Specifically, eligibility for this program is limited to U.S. citizens as well as legally-present non-citizens. You will need to provide evidence of your citizenship or legal status when you complete the SNAP application process.
It is possible to qualify for food stamps in AZ even if some members of your household are not legally present. In such cases, the amount of assistance you receive will be based on the number of people in your home who are U.S. citizens or legal aliens.
Note: If you have any non-legal residents in your household, you do not need to include them as applicants who want benefits. However, you do need to count the income and resources of every person in your household. This is true regardless of whether everyone is eligible for benefits.
Keep in mind that each state runs its own food benefits program. Regardless of your citizenship, you can only qualify if you are a resident of the state where you want to apply.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Arizona?
Meeting the food stamp income guidelines is the next step in becoming eligible for assistance. Generally speaking, your income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level in order for you to receive SNAP benefits.
However, these guidelines are ultimately based on your household size. The larger your household, the more income you can have and still qualify. Keep in mind that your household includes anyone who lives together in your home and shares meals, whether related or not.
The income requirements for food stamps in AZ also vary based on your household composition. In most cases, you can qualify with a slightly higher income if you are elderly or disabled.
Furthermore, you may be able to deduct more expenses if you live in an elderly or disabled household. For example, it may be possible to deduct excess medical expenses that you pay out-of-pocket.
There are also SNAP guidelines about the amount of resources you can have. A resource may include any of the following:
- Bank account funds
- Savings bonds
- Land that you do not live on
In most cases, the SNAP income guidelines in Arizona do not require that you count your car, home and personal possessions as resources. Like the income requirements, you are generally allowed to have a slightly higher amount of resources if you live in an elderly or disabled household. Learn more about the SNAP income guidelines by downloading our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Arizona
In addition to the food stamps eligibility requirements described above, you also must have a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to qualify. However, you may be able to receive food assistance for a short amount of time if you have applied for an SSN but are waiting to have your number assigned.
Every person in your household must have an SSN in order to get benefits for themselves. Note that the rest of your household can still qualify even if there is someone in your home who does not qualify based on the SSN requirement.
In order to have SNAP eligibility in Arizona, you may also need to meet certain work requirements if you are between 18 and 59 years of age. When you fall within this age range, you can only qualify for food stamps for a short amount of time if you are not employed and you do not register for work.
Registering for work means that you agree to accept reasonable job offers, undergo employment training or meet other expectations. Keep in mind that the work requirements may not apply if you are:
- Taking care of dependents.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Arizona?
Once you meet the food stamp qualifications in Arizona, you will receive benefits for a set amount of time. In order to keep getting assistance in the future, you will need to meet all of the requirements when you renew your benefits as well.
You must also report any changes to your circumstances to the DES. A change to your income or household size may affect the amount of benefits that you are eligible to receive. These changes may also make you ineligible to keep getting assistance, resulting in a denial of benefits.
In order to maintain your food stamps eligibility, it is important that you comply with all of the program requirements as well. Committing violations, such as misusing your benefits, may disqualify you from the program.
In such cases, you can lose your benefits even if you still meet all of the other program requirements. Failing to update the DES about any required information may get you disqualified as well. Learn more about maintaining your qualifications for assistance when you download our free guide here.