Food stamps eligibility in New Mexico is determined by the state Human Services Department (HSD). This benefit, which is officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is open to NM residents who meet basic requirements relating to employment, citizenship and income.
You may find it helpful to use a SNAP calculator to evaluate whether you may qualify for benefits. However, the best way to check your eligibility is simply to undergo the application steps with the HSD. When you apply, the HSD will consider every factor on your form to determine if you are eligible, as well as the amount of assistance you can get. Read below to learn how to qualify for food stamps and find out what factors may affect your eligibility now and in the future.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in New Mexico
One of the most basic food stamp qualifications in New Mexico relates to the fact that you must be a resident of the state in order to get benefits from the HSD. If you meet the basic SNAP eligibility requirements in NM but are not a resident, you may be able to get assistance in your home state instead. Despite the fact that each state runs its own food assistance program, the eligibility requirements are typically similar.
Next, you must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident. It is important to note that part of your household may qualify for food stamps if you live with a mix of legal and non-legal residents. For example, the children of non-legal residents may qualify for benefits even if their parents do not. In such cases, the amount of assistance you get will be based on the number of people in your household who meet the citizenship requirements.
Overall, a household is defined as any group of people, regardless of their relationship to one another, who live together and share meals. Because non-legal residents may contribute to a household financially, you must count their income even if they do not qualify for assistance themselves.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in New Mexico?
Meeting the food stamp income guidelines is the next step in qualifying for benefits. Under the SNAP guidelines, your household must have an income that is at or below 130 percent of the poverty level. Most sources of income are counted, including:
- Benefits you receive from other government programs.
- Wages from employment.
- Money you receive from a pension.
- Unemployment compensation.
The income requirements for food stamps are slightly different if you live in a household that includes seniors or people with disabilities. As a general rule, most households have to meet the income criteria for their net and gross income. In other words, households typically need to qualify based on the money they make before and after taxes and deductions are taken out. As such, if you live in a household that contains a senior or person with disabilities, you may only need to meet the net income test in order to qualify.
In addition to meeting the SNAP income guidelines in New Mexico, you also need to have a limited amount of resources before you can qualify for benefits. Resources include:
- Checking or savings account balances
- Cash you have on hand
- Stocks or bonds
Most times, the SNAP guidelines do not require you to include your house, car or personal possessions as resources. Learn more about the income and resource requirements you may need to meet by downloading our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in New Mexico
Your food stamps eligibility in New Mexico also depends on whether or not you have a Social Security Number (SSN). In general, SNAP eligibility is limited to people who have an SSN.
Keep in mind that you may be able to get benefits for a short period of time if you have applied for a number and are waiting for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to assign it to you. On the other hand, people without SSNs will not qualify for benefits.
In order to meet the food stamp qualifications in New Mexico, you may also need to register for work. This means that you agree to do any of the following, as requested:
- Take reasonable job offers that you receive.
- Work a certain number of hours per week, at a minimum.
- Maintain the required number of work hours and not reduce your time without good cause.
- Not quit your job without a good reason.
- Take part in any required employment training.
You may already qualify for food stamps if you are currently employed and work enough hours every week. Note that these requirements usually do not apply if you are older than 59 years of age or younger than 18 years of age. Furthermore, you do not typically need to register for work if you are pregnant, raise dependents or have a disability. As such, the specific work requirements will vary based on your situation.
Note: If you are an able-bodied adult without dependents and you fall between 18 and 59 years of age, you can get benefits for a short period of time without registering for work. However, you can only receive three months of benefits in a three-year period if you do not meet the employment requirements.
How do you maintain your food stamps in New Mexico?
One of the most important parts of maintaining your New Mexico SNAP eligibility is following all of the program rules. For instance, in order to keep getting assistance, you must do the following:
- Report necessary changes to the HSD.
- Only use your benefits to buy approved items in participating stores.
- Not sell, trade or give away your benefits.
- Provide accurate and honest information on all application materials and other forms.
Your food stamps eligibility will be verified when you renew your benefits. During the renewal process, you may find that your benefit amount goes up or down based on your current situation. For example, making more money may mean that you are eligible for fewer benefits. Learn more about maintaining your SNAP qualifications by downloading our free guide.