SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
Being a student is stressful enough, worrying about when and where your next meal comes shouldn't be one of those stresses. Most students don't know they are eligible for SNAP benefits, which may alleviate some of the financial burdens related to purchasing healthy, nutritious, foods. The average one-person household receives $132/month for groceries, which can be used at convenience stores, grocery stores, and other approved vendors.
SNAP Eligibility Assistance
- Not sure if you're eligible?
- Think you might be eligible?
Still not Sure?
Many students may be eligible for SNAP without even realizing it! If you are a student ages 18-49, enrolled at least part time in school, you may qualify for SNAP if you meet the student eligibility criteria for SNAP:
- Employment- an average of 20 hours per week or an average of 80 hours per month
- Dependent Child under Age 6
- Child Age 6 or Over, but under Age 12 and Child Care is Unavailable
- Receipt of TANF Payments
- Workforce Investment Act
- Employment Career Services
- Single Parents -- Child Under 12
- Employment and Training Program
- Trade Act of 1974
Q: I live with roommates, not my family. What counts as a "household?"
A: A "household" is made up of the people you purchase and prepare meals with. For example, if you live in a house with four other people, but each of you buys and cooks your own food, your household size would be one. If you live with four other people and you all contribute to buying and making food together, your household size would be five.
Q: I am not from the U.S. Are international students eligible for SNAP?
A: In most cases, people with student visas cannot receive SNAP. There are some special conditions in which non-citizens can obtain SNAP benefits.
Q: My main concern is how getting SNAP benefits will affect how much financial aid I'm eligible for. Will getting benefits reduce my funds since it is more government help?
A: When students mark that they receive SNAP benefits on the FAFSA form, it often pushes them to 0 EFC (Estimated Family Contribution), which is the "highest need" category – for some students, this will actually increase the amount of financial aid they get (though, for most students, it's probably about the same either way).
Q: How does SNAP impact my taxes or my parent's taxes if I'm still a dependent?
A: SNAP is not a form of income, it's non-taxable. A tax professional can weigh in more, but it's unlikely this would impact anyone's taxes.
Q: Does getting SNAP now affect me in the future? Will I have to pay more taxes later on or will I get less benefits from other services like Social Security Benefits?
A: No, you will not have to pay more in taxes now and unless they do a major legislative change, you won't have to pay more later (this would be extremely unlikely). You're already paying for SNAP right now when you and your family pay taxes. So, you might as well use it.
Q: Can I get SNAP benefits in Tennessee if I am an out-of-state student?
A: Students coming from out of state just need to have a Tennessee mailing address and be residing in Tennessee to apply for benefits. If they plan to leave Tennessee at the end of the school year to go back to their home state, they would need to notify DHS and close their file. Students then need to reapply when they come back to Tennessee for the next school year.
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