Your food stamps eligibility in Louisiana is determined by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after you submit an application. Various factors, including your income, age, disability status, work status and household size can play a role in your eligibility. While these factors affect whether you can qualify for food stamps, they also impact the amount of benefits you will be eligible to receive on a monthly basis.
Your eligibility for this benefit, also referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), may also change over time. Even if you initially meet the SNAP eligibility requirements during the application process, you may lose your benefits if your qualifications change. Read below to learn more about how to qualify for food stamps and find out how to maintain your eligibility over time.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Louisiana
The first Louisiana food stamp qualifications you must meet relate to your legal presence in the U.S. This program is only available to U.S. citizens as well as legal residents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide valid U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documents to verify your legal presence. In any case, you must be a state resident in Louisiana to get benefits through the DCFS.
It may be possible for some members of your household to have SNAP eligibility even if other members are not in the U.S. legally. In such cases, the DCFS may only provide benefits to the legally-present members of your family.
On the other hand, it is important to be aware that the DCFS will count the resources and income of all household members, even if certain individuals do not qualify for benefits. For example, if you live in a two-person household and only one of you is legally present in the U.S., the program will still take into consideration both of your earnings.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Louisiana?
Meeting the food stamp income guidelines is another important step in qualifying for benefits. Ultimately, the Louisiana SNAP income guidelines vary based on your household size. Generally speaking, a larger family may qualify for SNAP with a higher income due to the fact that larger households need to purchase more food each month.
In most cases, your family’s income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level in Louisiana. However, you may have food stamps eligibility automatically if your family already receives benefits from other government programs such as the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you have been deemed eligible for programs such as these, the DCFS will determine that you also meet the SNAP guidelines due to the fact that you have already qualified for other income-based benefits.
While your family size affects your SNAP eligibility in Louisiana, your household composition can play a role as well. For example, if there are any members of your household who are seniors or have a disability, you may meet the eligibility requirements with a slightly higher income. This is because households that contain people with disability or elderly residents are allowed to count only their net income, whereas most other families must meet the requirements for both net and gross income.
When it comes to the income requirements for food stamps in Louisiana, it is important to understand who counts as a household member and who does not. In general, a household member includes anyone in the home who lives together and shares meals. Keep in mind that members of a household do not necessarily need to be related to one another.
Furthermore, some individuals may need to be included in your household even if they do not live with you or share meals. For example, the spouse of any household member must be counted even if he or she does not live in the home. Learn more about how your family composition affects your qualifications by downloading our free guide here.
Other Important Food Stamp Qualifications in Louisiana
In addition to income and citizenship affecting your food stamps eligibility, factors such as your age, employment status and/or disability status may play a role as well. If you are a senior, for example, you may apply for food benefits through a simplified version of SNAP that comes with a standard benefit allotment based on your housing expenses. To have SNAP eligibility through this program, you must:
- Be 60 years of age or older.
- Already be receiving Supplemental Security Income.
- Not be institutionalized.
- Live alone or prepare food separately from other household members.
- Be able to meet basic food stamps eligibility
On the other hand, if you are between 18 and 59 years of age, your Louisiana SNAP eligibility may be affected by whether or not you fulfill certain work expectations. In order to meet these employment-related food stamp qualifications, you may need to register for work if you are not already working enough hours. When you register to work, you agree to take reasonable job offers, work a certain number of hours per week and/or undergo job training, as required.
Regardless of age or employment status, applicants must have a Social Security number (SSN) and provide a form of identification when applying for benefits. Petitioners who do not have an SSN or identification card will be unable to apply. However, those who have applied for an SSN may be able to get food stamps while they are waiting to have a number assigned.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Louisiana?
It is important to understand that your food stamp qualifications may shift over time as your household composition or income changes. If your income exceeds the program limits, or if certain household members move out, you may not be able to receive the same amount of benefits in the future.
For that reason, you will need to report changes to the DCFS on a regular basis in order to maintain your eligibility. Failing to report changes is a program violation, which may result in your disqualification.
In any case, you will need to recertify your Louisiana food stamps eligibility at the end of your benefit period. A certification period may last up to 12 months, but it can be longer or shorter depending on your circumstances. Download our free guide for more information on qualifying for and maintaining your benefits.
Last Updated: September 27, 2022