Most people want to be able to provide healthy and nutritious food to their families – but that isn’t always easy from a financial perspective. You may find that this is particularly true if you struggle with a disability that has left you unable to work and earn an income as you normally would.
Fortunately, the government recognizes that a healthy diet is essential to a strong family. As a result, food stamps are often available to those in need who want to buy healthy food on a budget. For disabled individuals, this can be tremendously helpful. Assistance like food stamps and disability benefits can be an essential part of easing the financial burden that families often face.
Often, however, individuals who receive benefits like food stamps may also receive disability benefits. Frequently, recipients wonder how one type of benefit might affect the other. This is understandable. After all, losing any benefits can add to financial stress – which is the last thing you need when you’re struggling with a disability.
Let’s take a closer look at food stamps and SSDI benefits and how one might affect the other.
The Scoop on SNAP
Food stamps are also known as SNAP benefits because they are distributed through a federal program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP is broadly administered and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, but typically, applications for food stamps are reviewed and approved at the state level. As a result, rules regarding eligibility are generally the same across the country, with slight variations from state to state.
Typically, to qualify for SNAP benefits under federal rules, a household must satisfy three criteria:
- The family’s gross monthly income is generally at or below 130% of the poverty line. There is an exception to this requirement for households with an individual who is age 60 or over or is disabled.
- The household’s net monthly income must be less than or equal to the poverty line.
- The household’s assets must fall below certain limits established by the government, which may vary from year to year.
As a general rule, unemployed, non-disabled adults ages 18 to 49 who are not living with minor children are limited to three months of benefits. There are exceptions to this time limit for individuals working at least 20 hours per week or participating in a qualifying job training program.
What Are SSDI Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are payments made by the Social Security Administration to disabled individuals who can prove that they satisfy the necessary qualifying factors. These include:
- A qualifying medical condition: An applicant for benefits must be able to establish, through sufficient medical proof, that they have a condition that the Social Security Administration considers “disabling” from a legal perspective.
- An inability to work: To qualify for benefits, the applicant must be able to establish that the particular medical condition has rendered them unable to work for at least one continuous calendar year or more.
- Being “insured”: In order to be “insured” for the purpose of receiving SSDI benefits, an applicant must also have worked a job for a sufficient length of time and regularly paid a portion of their salary to the Social Security Administration.
Unlike SNAP benefits, individuals need not have income and resources below a certain level to qualify for SSDI benefits. Benefits are instead usually based on the applicant’s earning history and the length of time that they worked.
Can You Collect SSDI and SNAP Benefits at the Same Time?
For those who are hoping to qualify for both SSDI and SNAP benefits, the good news is that there are special eligibility rules for disabled individuals. Disabled individuals who receive SSDI benefits should keep in mind that the government will consider SSDI benefits as income when attempting to determine SNAP eligibility.
However, under something known as the “SNAP Excess Medical Expense Deduction Provision,” qualified disabled individuals may deduct unreimbursed out-of-pocket medical expenses that exceed $35 a month from their net income. This deduction may help disabled individuals meet the SNAP net income standards and be approved for benefits, while still also receiving their SSDI benefits.
As with any complex legal matter, the most important first step is to consult with an attorney who knows the law and can advise you about your particular circumstances. At Sackett Law, we’re here to help.
Call Sackett Law Today
Having a disability can be difficult in many ways. At Sackett Law, our knowledgeable and experienced team of attorneys is here to help you through those difficulties. We know that financial struggles are often a part of being disabled. We want to do what we can to help ease that burden by fighting for the benefits you need and deserve. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here for you. Give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.