South Carolina takes part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Progam (SNAP), which administers benefits commonly referred to as “food stamps.” In actuality, eligible families receive a debit-like card with which they can purchase food to maintain adequate nutrition. This federally funded program sets income limits to determine eligibility, and while this accounts for a major set of criteria, the Department of Social Services will look at other financial factors as well as other things. Anyone interested in this program in South Carolina should contact the department in his county.
In order to qualify for SNAP benefits, a household’s gross monthly income (income before taxes and allowable deductions) must be at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level, while the net income must at be at or below 100 percent. In most cases, a family will have to meet both of these requirements in order to get benefits, but exceptions do exist in cases where a member receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or other types of governmental assistance or at least one household member is over 60. In these instances, a family must only meet net income requirements.
For example, a family of four must have a maximum gross monthly income of $2,389.00 and a net income of $1,838.00 to get SNAP benefits.
The program allows for certain deductions to calculate net income. Net income ultimately determines the benefit amount a household will receive. Examples include but are not limited to a standard 20 percent deduction from gross income, child support, medical expenses and housing costs like rent, mortgage or utilities.
In addition to income limits, the program also sets a limit on resources—assets easily converted to cash. These might include bank accounts and stocks. A family that contains someone disabled or over 60 has a limit of $3,000, while other families cannot have more than $2,000. Possible exemptions include the home, the value of a car used to transport a disabled family member and the resources of a person receiving government assistance from a variety of programs like SSI.
Benefit Amount Per Household
The SNAP program uses a specific formula to determine benefits for household size. It multiplies the household net income by .3 and that number (30 percent of net income) gets subtracted from the maximum amount a household of that size would receive. The program uses this formula because it expects families using this program to spend about 30 percent of their resources on food. The maximum allotments are as follows. A family of one can receive up to $200 a month. A family of 2 would receive $367 maximum. A family of three gets $526 maximum. A family of four can receive up to $668. A family of five can get up to $793. A family of six has a maximum of $952. A family of seven will have $1,052 limit, while a family of eight can get up to $1,202. For each additional person over eight, add $150.
Kelli Cooper has been a writer since 2009, specializing in health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University and is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise.