Is there a gross income test for SNAP?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2023 guide from

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

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.

Household Size

Gross Income Test
200% FPL*
















*These numbers are effective as of January 15, 2020. For the most up to date numbers, see: MA SNAP Calculation Worksheet

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 above 200% FPL

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? . 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 How does DTA count the income of someone not in 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

Family with children, pregnant woman


200% FPL

Persons age 18-60, no kids, not disabled


200% FPL

Elder/disabled household


None - note below if income over 200% FPL

Elder/disabled household – gross income > 200% FPL*



Household under sanction due to IPV


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 $16 minimum benefit.


In 2019 the Trump Administration proposed a rule change that would impact the gross income test. As of January 2020, no rules regarding gross income limits for SNAP have changed. Contact MLRI for more information.

Advocacy Reminders

DTA Online Guide Sections:SNAP > Eligibility Requirements > Categorical Eligibility

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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