Families in Florida can get help paying for food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. SNAP is a federally funded, locally or state-administered program designed to help low-income families receive the nutritious food they need to stay healthy.
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Because programs are administered by the state, requirements vary. If you live in Florida, you may be wondering if you qualify for SNAP benefits based on your monthly income and expenses. To calculate how much SNAP benefits you may receive, you’ll need to know your gross income and your net income (minus deductions allowed by the state of Florida).
Your gross income equals your household income before expenses and taxes. Your gross income determines if you qualify for SNAP benefits. To calculate your gross monthly income, you will want to look at the pay stubs for any income-earning members of your family. If you are paid weekly, your gross income would be the pre-tax amount on your income times four. Then, you will also have to add other income, such as Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance received by members of your household.
If you have filed your tax returns for 2021, you can divide your gross monthly income on your tax returns by 12 to determine your gross monthly income. Don’t forget to add any other income received.
To qualify for food stamps in Florida, your gross monthly income must not be more than 130% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL). This number varies depending on the size of your household. For one person, 130% of FPL equals $1,396. For a family of four, that number is $2,871 for 2022. Look for that number to rise based on inflation in October 2022, but for now, this is the FPL.
You’ll need to also know your net monthly income to see how much you will receive in SNAP benefits. Your net income equals your gross monthly income minus several deductions allowed by the state of Florida.
First, you can deduct 20% of your earned income (not Social Security or SSDI income). You can also take another standard deduction of $177 if you have 1 to 3 people in your household, $184 if you have 4 people, and $215 if you have 5 people. This number continues rising incrementally based on the number of people in your house.
You can deduct the cost of dependent care (including child care) if you use child care or home care for an adult while you’re working, engaged in training or going to school. You can also deduct any medical expenses that exceed $35 monthly for elderly or disabled members of your family, as long as these costs are not covered by insurance. You can deduct any child support payments made.
Finally, you can deduct any shelter costs, including rent or mortgage and property taxes and insurance, gas and electricity, water, and the cost of one telephone, as long as they exceed more than half of your household’s net income after other deductions.
Florida has a cap of $597 for the shelter deduction, unless the household has a member of the family who is elderly or disabled.
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Once you’ve calculated your net income, you can determine if you still qualify for SNAP and how much you may receive. For a household of one person, the maximum net income is $1,074, or 100% of poverty level. For a family of four, the maximum net income limit in Florida is $2,209. A family of four in Florida would receive a maximum of $835 per month in 2022 in SNAP benefits.
Keep in mind, the FPL is set to change in October, and will likely rise due to inflation, so food stamp eligibility requirements in Florida may change, too.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Food Stamps: How Much Is My SNAP/EBT Benefit If I Live In Florida?
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