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Learn About Mississippi Food Stamps Requirements

Food stamps eligibility in Mississippi is determined by the state Department of Human Service (MDHS). This benefit, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is available to families and individuals who meet basic income, citizenship and residency requirements. Depending on an applicant’s age and disability status, there may also be work requirements to meet.

A Mississippi SNAP calculator can be used to determine if you meet the basic qualifications based on your income and other factors. However, you can apply for assistance even if you are unsure of your qualifications. Because your benefits start based on when your application is received, it may be in your best interest to apply as soon as you think you may qualify. Read below to learn more about meeting the food stamp qualifications in Mississippi and find out how to maintain your eligibility once you are approved.

Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Mississippi

In order to qualify for food stamps in Mississippi, you must be a resident of the state. This is because each state is in charge of administering its own program. If you meet the basic eligibility requirements but are not a resident, you may consider applying for assistance in your home state. Overall, the food stamps eligibility requirements are similar in every state.

Moreover, SNAP eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens and residents who are in the country legally. As such, the MDHS will need to verify your legal presence when you apply. Keep in mind that the citizenship status of each applicant will be checked. It is possible to receive a portion of assistance based on the number of household members who are legally present if you live in a mixed household.

If someone in your household would not qualify for food stamps in Mississippi based on his or her citizenship, you do not need to include him or her on your application as a person who is seeking benefits. However, you must count ineligible household members when totaling your income and resources. In other words, even if a person in your household does not qualify for benefits, his or her contributions to the rest of the household must be taken into consideration.

Note: A household is defined as any group of people, regardless of their relationship to one another, who live together and share meals.

What are the SNAP income guidelines in Mississippi?

You also must meet the Mississippi food stamp income guidelines before you can receive assistance from the MDHS. In general, the SNAP income guidelines 2019 require your total earnings to be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level.

If you are a senior or have a disability, the income limits will be slightly different for you. That is because households that include seniors or people with disabilities can qualify based on their net income, whereas other households must meet the net income and gross income requirements. Net income is the amount you earn after deductions, while gross income is what you earn before taxes and deductions.

When considering the income requirements for food stamps in Mississippi, it is important to be aware that most households are allowed to take advantage of certain deductions. This can make it easier to meet the requirements. Under the SNAP guidelines, you may be able to deduct some of the following:

  • A portion of your shelter and utility expenses.
  • A percentage of your earned income.
  • Child support payments you are required to make.
  • Certain child care expenses.
  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance that exceed a certain amount.

You may qualify for SNAP automatically if you already receive other types of benefits. For example, you will usually have SNAP eligibility if you already receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In such cases, you do not need to meet a separate income test to obtain access to SNAP benefits. However, be mindful that you will still need to apply for food assistance, even if you qualify automatically.

In addition to having a limited income, the Mississippi SNAP guidelines require you to have a limited amount of resources and/or assets. A resource is something with monetary value, such as a bank account balance, cash or savings bond. In most cases, your house, car, personal possessions and household goods are not included as resources.

Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Mississippi

Another basic SNAP eligibility requirement is that you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) prior to qualifying for assistance. Each member of your household who wishes to obtain benefits must have an SSN. Moreover, you may be eligible to get benefits for a short period of time if you have applied for an SSN and are waiting for your number to be assigned. In such cases, you may need to provide proof of applying for an SSN.

Your food stamps eligibility may also be affected by your employment status. If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents, you will usually need to register for work in order to receive SNAP benefits. Registering for work means that you agree to do any of the following, as required:

  • Take reasonable job offers that you receive.
  • Maintain a certain number of work hours per week.
  • Not quit your job or reduce your work hours without good cause.
  • Participate in employment training.

You may qualify for food stamps based on your current work record if you are already working the required number of hours. Learn more about these requirements by downloading our free guide.

How do you maintain your food stamps in Mississippi?

After learning how to qualify for food stamps, it helps to understand which factors affect your ability to keep receiving assistance in the future. Generally, the best way to maintain your SNAP eligibility is to know the program rules. Otherwise, you can be disqualified or face other serious penalties if you commit any program violations, such as:

  • Not reporting changes to the MDHS, when required.
  • Providing false information on an application.
  • Buying ineligible items with your benefits.
  • Selling, trading or giving away your benefits.

Keep in mind that your food stamps eligibility may also be affected by changes to your income or household composition. Consequently, it is possible for your benefit amount to increase or decrease based on the changes you report to the MDHS. Learn more about keeping your SNAP benefits by downloading our free guide.