85. Why do some households get only $23 in SNAP each month?

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Federal and state SNAP law allows all 1 and 2 person households under the gross income test to get a “minimum benefit.” This rule does not apply to households of 3 persons or more1.

If you only get $23/month – it is a good idea to get a “SNAP math check-up” to be sure you are getting all the deductions you qualify for. Many 1 and 2 person households with members 60 or older or getting a disability benefit often do not claim all their out-of-pocket medical expenses.


Tom and Emily Smith are 75 and receive Social Security for a total of $2,600/month unearned income. The Smith’s pay shelter cost of $1,000 per month plus heat and utilities. The couple has not claimed any medical expenses and will receive just $23/month in SNAP as a “minimum” benefit. If the Smiths verified medical expenses of at least $36/month, their SNAP would increase to $79/month. If they verified over $190/month, their SNAP would increase even more.

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