Food stamps eligibility in New Hampshire is based on several different factors, such as your U.S. citizenship, state residency and income level. This benefit, which is also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is meant to help low-income families and individuals afford groceries on a monthly basis. Overall, the food stamp qualifications are set by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
You may use a SNAP calculator to get a better idea of whether or not you qualify for benefits based on your circumstances. However, the best way to determine your eligibility is to follow the application steps outlined by the DHHS. In any case, keep in mind that your benefits will start based on the date when your application is received. Read below to learn more about SNAP eligibility in NH and discover how to meet the qualifications.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in New Hampshire
In order to qualify for food stamps in New Hampshire, you must be considered a state resident. Thus, if you are not a resident of NH, you may qualify for assistance in your home state instead. It is important to note that each state is in charge of running its own food assistance program, but the requirements are typically very similar.
In addition to being a state resident, you also must be a U.S. citizen or a legally-present non-citizen. Consequently, when you apply for benefits, the DHHS will confirm your legal status. If certain members of your household are legally present but others are not, you may only get benefits for those who are U.S. citizens or legal aliens. Typically, the amount of assistance you qualify for is based on how many people are legal residents.
If any member of your household does not qualify for food stamps based on his or her citizenship status, you are not required to include this person on your application. However, your SNAP eligibility is based on the income and resources of every household member. Thus, you must count all sources of income, even from people who do not qualify for benefits themselves. This may affect your household’s overall eligibility.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in New Hampshire?
Meeting the food stamp income guidelines is necessary. In most cases, according to the income requirements for food stamps in New Hampshire, your gross household income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level. By definition, gross income is what you make before taxes and deductions.
If you live in a household with a senior or resident with a disability, the rules may be a little different. In most cases, you only need to meet net income requirements if you are elderly or have a disability. Note that net income is what you earn after taxes and deductions.
The SNAP guidelines require you to count nearly every source of income. This can include income from a job, other services, unemployment compensation, other government benefits or a pension, among other things. Keep in mind that you must count income from every member of your household. This is the case even if certain household members do not qualify for benefits themselves.
The SNAP income guidelines allow households to take certain deductions. This may make it easier to meet the income requirements. In some cases, a household may take a standard deduction based on the number of people in the home. Other possible deductions include the following:
- A percentage of earned income
- The cost of child care, in some situations
- Outgoing child support payments
- Shelter and utility expenses that exceed a certain amount
- Medical expenses that are not covered by insurance and exceed a certain amount
You should be prepared to show proof of these expenses if you plan on deducting them. Learn more about income requirements by downloading our free guide.
In addition to meeting the food stamp income guidelines, you also must have a limited amount of resources or assets. A resource is something with value, such as a checking or savings account, cash, stocks, bonds or investments. Alternatively, personal possessions, your home and your car are typically not considered countable resources.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in New Hampshire
There are a few other New Hampshire SNAP eligibility requirements that you must be aware of. First, every applicant must have a Social Security Number (SSN). The only way you can qualify for food stamps in New Hampshire without an SSN is if you have applied for one and are simply waiting for a number to be assigned. Unfortunately, you cannot meet SNAP eligibility if you are not qualified for an SSN (for any reason).
Secondly, you may need to meet certain work requirements if you are an able-bodied adult without dependents. If you are between 18 and 59 years of age and do not meet the work requirements, you can only get benefits for a limited period of time. Under these requirements, you may need to do any of the following:
- Agree to take a reasonable job offer
- Work a minimum number of hours per week
- Not quit your job or reduce your work hours without good cause
- Take part in a required employment training
You may already meet these food stamp qualifications if you are currently working. Learn more about the work rules and other requirements you may need to meet by downloading our free guide.
How do you maintain your food stamps in New Hampshire?
Once you learn how to qualify for food stamps in New Hampshire, it is important to identify which factors affect your ability to keep receiving these funds. To continue receiving food benefits, your income and other factors must meet the program requirements at all times. You also must report any changes to the DHHS. Failing to tell the DHHS about certain changes may result in you being penalized.
In order to keep your food stamps eligibility in NH, you must also follow other program rules. Committing any of the following violations may cause your benefits to be eliminated:
- Attempting to sell, trade or give away your benefits
- Intentionally buying prohibited items or shopping in unapproved stores
- Lying on an application or during the renewal process