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Is there a gross income test for SNAP?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

Yes!  Most SNAP households need to have gross income under 200% of the federal poverty level.

Gross income is your monthly income before any taxes or deductions. 106 C.M.R § 364.370, 106 C.M.R. §§ 365.180.

These numbers are effective as of January 2018.

Household Size

Gross Income Test

200%  FPL*

1

$2,082

2

$2,818

3

$3,555

4

$4,292

5

$5,028

6

$5,765

7

$6,502

*These numbers are effective as of February 2019. For the most up to date numbers, See the MassLegalServices Online SNAP Calculator.

Households that Pay Child Support:

If a household member pays legally obligated child support to a child outside the home, the child support is not counted in the initial gross income test. 106 C.M.R. § 363.230(O).  See What is the child support deduction?.

Elder/Disabled Households:

There is no gross income test for households that include an elder or disabled member. However, to qualify for SNAP, the household must meet the asset test. See When do assets count?. In practice, these households must also have very high shelter and/or medical expenses (very low net income) to qualify for any SNAP benefit. 

Sanctioned households and 130% FPL:

If you are a member of a SNAP household where an adult member has committed an IPV (fraud), the SNAP rules use a lower 130% FPL gross income threshold. In the SNAP math, the sanctioned member is not included in the SNAP household size for the remaining members-however if the sanctioned member has income, their income is included.  106 C.M.R. § 363.110. See also How does DTA count the income of someone who is not part of my SNAP household?.

The sanctioned household is also subject to the asset test. Appendix B has the charts for the 130% gross income and 100% net income tests. 

See 106 C.M.R. §§ 365.180, 364.976, 364.950.     

Snapshot of the SNAP income and asset tests

  SNAP Asset Test

Gross Income

Test

Family with children, pregnant woman NO 200% FPL
Persons age 18-60, no kids, not disabled NO 200% FPL
Elder/disabled household NO 200% FPL
Elder/disabled household – gross income > 200% FPL*

 

YES

None
Household under sanction due to IPV

 

YES

130% FPL
* But household’s net income must be low enough to qualify for a benefit. Households above 200% FPL gross income do not receive the $15 minimum benefit.

Advocacy Reminders:

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections:  SNAP > Eligibility Requirements > Categorical Eligibility

Additional Guidance
  • DTA implements a single 200% FPL gross income test effective Jan. 2016 for all SNAP households, eliminating the lower 130% FPL gross income test for childless individuals 18-60. DTA Operations Bulletin 2016-1 (Jan. 4, 2016)

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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