Who cannot be a separate SNAP household?

Some people cannot be a separate household even if they buy and prepare their food separately. Here are three important exceptions:

  • A child under age 22 who lives with a parent or stepparent must be in the same SNAP household as the parent. 106 C.M.R. § 361.200(A)(3).
  • A child (other than a foster child) under age 18 who lives with a responsible adult (regardless of relationship) must be in the same household as the adult. 106 C.M.R. § 361.200(A)(2).
  • A legally married couple who live together must be in the same household, even if they never share food or meals together. 106 C.M.R. § 361.200(A)(1).

Example 1: Kelly is a single parent, age 20, who lives with her parents and her 1 year old baby. Kelly receives TAFDC for herself and her baby. However, due to her age, Kelly cannot get her own SNAP benefits and must apply with her parents. She and her baby are eligible as a separate SNAP household when she turns 22.

Example 2: Katherine is 65 years of age and receives Social Security for herself. She cares for two grandchildren, ages 8 and 12, and receives child support for them. Katherine cannot get separate SNAP benefits for her grandchildren because they are minors and she provides financial and parental supervision for them.

A “SNAP shot” on separate household status for persons who live together

Separate SNAP HH?

Unrelated persons who purchase and prepare most food separately from each other.


Related persons – other than spouses or children under age 22 – who purchase and prepare most food separately.


Spouses who live together, regardless of food purchase/preparing.

Unmarried parents of children in common who live together.


Persons under 22 years who live at home with their parents.

Children under 18 living with adults who supervise them.


Households with a foster adult or child

There are special rules for households with foster children and foster adults. A household can choose to include or exclude the foster child or disabled foster adult from the SNAP unit. 106 C.M.R. § 361.240(F). The household may get more SNAP benefits if the foster child/adult is excluded because foster care payments do not count toward the SNAP household income for an excluded child.

For more details on the right to opt out a foster child or foster adult, see What if I am caring for a foster child?.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • The TAFDC and SNAP rules differ in the treatment of teen parents. Although a teen parent age 18 or older can get her own TAFDC grant for herself and her baby when living with her parents, the SNAP rules do not allow the teen to get her own SNAP benefits separate from her parents until she turns age 22. If her parents do not wish to apply for SNAP, the teen parent is not SNAP eligible. Her TAFDC benefits should continue.
  • The TAFDC and SNAP rules also differ in the treatment of children living with relatives. A grandparent, stepparent, aunt, or other relative can receive separate TAFDC for a dependent child, without being on the TAFDC grant  or having his/her income count, 106 C.M.R. § 204.320. In the SNAP program, a relative who cares for a child in the home cannot get separate SNAP for that child, even no legal guardianship or adoption.


Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Last Updated January 2017

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