To determine whether or not you meet the food stamps eligibility requirements in Indiana, you must read through the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the state Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). In order to meet the main criteria, your income must fall below a certain level based on the number of people who live in your household. A failure to qualify in other ways may also result in your application being denied.
The IN food stamp qualifications can be complex, which makes it important for you to check your eligibility before completing the application steps. Overall, each member of your household who wishes to receive benefits must pass citizenship and residency requirements, work requirements and more. To learn more about eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), continue reading below.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Indiana
One of the first steps in analyzing your Indiana SNAP eligibility is to review the citizenship guidelines. First, you must be a state resident to apply for benefits in Indiana.
According to the Federal Nutrition Service (FNS) branch of the USDA, you must also be a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or be legally present in the country. However, you may need to wait five years before applying for benefits if you are:
- An LPR and have been credited with at least 40 quarters of work.
- A non-citizen who was granted conditional entry.
- A battered spouse, child or parent and are awaiting a decision on your petition.
Certain non-citizens may qualify for food stamps even if they have not lived in the U.S. legally for five years. This includes:
- Qualified children
- Refugees and asylum seekers
- Victims of human trafficking
- Cuban or Haitian entrants as defined under the Refugee Education Assistance Act
- Certain American Indians who were born abroad
- LPRs who are disabled or blind and receive government assistance
To make sure you and your household members are U.S. citizens or legal non-citizens, the Indiana application requires you to submit a Social Security Number (SSN) for everyone in your home who wishes to apply. If a household member has applied for an SSN but does not yet have one, he or she must provide documentation from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
If a household member does not have an SSN, you may leave him or her off the application. This will not jeopardize your chances of receiving benefits. However, that household member’s income will still be taken into consideration.
A SNAP calculator can help you determine whether you qualify based on citizenship status, income and other factors. The FSSA has its own pre-screening tool, which requires you to submit personal information about you and your household to make a prediction. This information includes your monthly earnings, resources, the number of people in your household and unearned income (such as child support payments).
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Indiana?
The SNAP income guidelines in Indiana are a set of maximum income levels for each household size. In order to qualify, your income must fall below 130 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). You may calculate your income by combining the monthly earnings of each able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) in your household.
Your gross income is this exact amount, without accounting for deductions. Moreover, be mindful that your net income takes into account for allowable deductions. As an example, your gross monthly income must fall below $2,213 if you are a family of three. In that case, your maximum net monthly income must fall below $1,702.
Note: These income limits may not apply to you if every member of your household receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
You may have slightly modified food stamp income guidelines if a member of your household has a disability or is 60 years of age or older. For the purposes of SNAP, a person with disabilities is defined as someone who is entitled to federal disability payments. Qualifying disability payments include:
- SSI payments
- Disability payments from Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Medicaid recipients who meet the Medicaid definition of blind or disabled
The income requirements for food stamps also list specific resource and asset limits. Most households must not exceed $5,000 in assets in order to qualify. Countable assets include:
- Cash on hand
- Money in bank accounts
- Real estate
- Vehicles, unless they are worth less than a certain amount
Finally, you must factor in allowable deductions. In general, every household is allowed to make a 20 percent deduction from earned income as well as a standard deduction, the size of which depends on the number of people in the household. For instance, a family of one may have a standard deduction of $160.
Depending on your circumstances, the Indiana SNAP guidelines state that you may also take the following deductions:
- Dependent care
- Medical expenses
- Excess shelter costs
You may qualify for a medical expenses deduction if you are a senior or a person with disability and your monthly, out-of-pocket medical expenses reach a certain amount. To learn more about deductions and how to qualify for SNAP based on your income, download our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Indiana
Are you ready to learn how to qualify for food stamps in Indiana besides meeting the income requirements? In this state, all ABAWDs in your household must work at least 20 hours per week, which adds up to 80 hours per month. They must also meet other work requirements, including:
- Maintaining their jobs to the best of their abilities. In other words, they may not voluntarily quit or reduce their hours.
- Enrolling in employment and training activities, which may be administered by the Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training (IMPACT) program.
- Taking part in a community workforce experience (CWEP) for a certain number of hours.
Certain other work requirements may apply. In addition, you and your household members must be able to pass a background check.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Indiana?
It is important to focus on maintaining your food stamps eligibility after you start receiving your benefits. To do so, make sure that you abide by the rules and regulations of the program. This means using your benefits only for approved items and reporting changes to your circumstances.
If a change occurs, such as a household member getting a new job or losing a job, you must report it as soon as possible to your FSSA office. For more information on maintaining your benefits, download our free guide.