Learn About Arkansas Food Stamps Requirements
Your food stamps eligibility in Arkansas is determined by the Department of Human Services (DHS). If you want to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), note that the main food stamp qualifications relate to your income and resources.
Factors such as your family size, age or disability may affect the level of income and resources you need to qualify. While some factors vary depending on your circumstances, other qualifications relate to every applicant.
If you believe you may be eligible for the program, you can submit an application to the DHS right away. Depending on your situation, you can receive benefits within one month or less if you are eligible. It is important to note that your eligibility for the program can also change in the future. Below, learn how to qualify for food stamps and discover which factors affect your eligibility.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Arkansas
One of the most basic SNAP qualifications is that you must be a U.S. citizen or a legally-present non-citizen. It is possible for some members of your household to have SNAP eligibility even if others are not legally-present. In such cases, you can receive assistance just for the household members who qualify.
Note that if your household has a mix of legal and non-legal residents, you must still count the income and resources of everyone who lives together and shares meals. That means even if a person in your home is ineligible due to his or her citizenship, you still must count any income he or she contributes to the household as a whole.
In order to qualify for food stamps in Arkansas, you also need to be a resident of the state. This is because the Arkansas DHS will not grant benefits to non-residents, even if they meet all of the other criteria. However, you may find that you have food stamps eligibility in your home state if you are not a resident of Arkansas.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Arkansas?
Meeting the program income guidelines is the next step in applying for assistance. Generally speaking, your income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level to qualify.
However, the specific food stamp income guidelines can vary based on your household composition. For example, you can qualify with a slightly higher income if you live in an elderly or disabled household. Similarly, elderly and disabled households are allowed to qualify with more resources.
In any case, the income requirements for food stamps are based on your household size. A household is defined as any group of people who lives together and shares meals, whether you are related or not.
When determining if you meet these guidelines, you must count the income and resources of each person in the household. Income includes anything that you receive as payment for work or services. Resources, on the other hand, includes things such as:
- Bank accounts.
- Stocks and bonds.
- Interest payments and investments.
- Cash on hand.
Note: Things such as your house, car and retirement account are usually not counted as resources.
Under the SNAP guidelines in Arkansas, you are allowed to deduct certain expenses from your income. For example, you might be able to deduct the cost of childcare.
If you are elderly or disabled, you may be able to deduct the out-of-pocket cost of medical services that are not covered by your insurance. Learn everything else you need to know about the food stamp income guidelines by downloading our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Arkansas
If you qualify for food stamps based on your income, resources and citizenship status, it is important to be aware of other requirements you might need to meet. One such requirement is that you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) before you can apply.
You might be eligible for SNAP benefits for a short period of time if you have applied for an SSN but are waiting to receive it. Anyone in your household who does not have an SSN is ineligible for benefits. Therefore, you do not need to include these individuals as applicants.
However, keep in mind that those who are ineligible may still need to be counted as members of your household. When entering your income and assets, remember that you usually must include everyone in the home.
If you are using a SNAP calculator to determine your eligibility, you may have also noticed that work requirements apply to some applicants. You usually must register for work if you are an able-bodied adult between 18 and 59 years of age.
However, the requirements may be different if you are pregnant or raising dependents. Registering for work can mean that you agree to do any of the following:
- Work a minimum number of hours per week.
- Take reasonable job offers.
- Not reduce your work hours.
- Participate in employment training.
Note that you may qualify for food stamps in in Arkansas temporarily if you do not meet the work requirements. However, you will only have eligibility for a few months in this case.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Arkansas?
It is important to understand that your eligibility may change over time. For example, if your income goes up, your benefit amount may be reduced. If your income or other eligibility factors change significantly, you may lose your benefits altogether.
In order to keep your SNAP eligibility in AR, you must report certain changes to the DHS. Failing to report necessary information to the DHS may count as a program violation and result in you losing your benefits and facing other serious penalties. Depending on the severity of your violation, you could lose your benefits for a few years or be banned from the program altogether.
It is also important that you do not misuse your benefits. Committing fraud or intentionally buying prohibited items with your benefits may affect your ability to keep getting assistance. Find other important information about using and keeping your benefits when you download our free guide.