34. What is a SNAP household or assistance unit?

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

A SNAP household is an individual, or a group of individuals living together, who receive SNAP together. DTA also uses the term “assistance unit.”

The SNAP rules look at whether people who live together “customarily purchase and preparefood together and consider their income in calculating the household benefits. In some cases, people who don’t typically buy and prepare food together still need to be in the same household1. Getting benefits separately from other people you live with and who cannot be a separate SNAP household discuss who must be included in your SNAP household.

In contrast, needs-based cash assistance programs such as TAFDC, EAEDC and SSI, as well as MassHealth, consider who has a legal responsibility of persons who live together: spouses to spouses, parents to minor children. The SNAP rules are different.

This is a fundamental concept of the SNAP program, but it can confuse low-income households and advocates because the household rules are different from other needs-based programs.



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