(Daily360.com) – If you’re qualified for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, you understand the critical importance of each and every penny. For many families, SNAP benefits are the key to avoiding food insecurity in a tough economy with mounting costs, inflation, and wages not increasing fast enough to keep pace. Fortunately, food assistance is available through SNAP, and if you’re lucky enough to receive it, you and your family need to know about three key deductions you may be able to take to bolster your SNAP benefit amount. If you’re worried you might have missed out on a deduction, consider these three major deductions.
Deduction #1: Child Support
Does anyone in your home hold a legal obligation to make child support payments? If so, that could be a deduction for you — in the full amount of the child support. Since you’re not bringing those funds into your household to pay for food, rent, or other expenses, it’s important to factor in, and child support payments can leave you or your family member struggling to keep up.
Only about 2 percent of SNAP benefit recipients take advantage of these child support deductions, though many more could do so if they chose.
Deduction #2: Many Medical Expenses
Did you know that you may be able to deduct medical expenses from your reported income before it’s calculated for SNAP? Here’s how it works. If you have extensive medical expenses on a one-time and/or yearly basis, you could possibly deduct those. Anyone 60 years of age or older may claim medical expense deductions for SNAP benefits, and many disabled adults can, too.
To qualify, you need to have someone in your home who gets disability benefits or blindness payments. This includes Social Security Disability, veterans’ benefits, or SSI. Since you’re only able to claim medical expenses over $35 per month, you must exceed the $35 in medical expenses monthly to get that deduction. Additionally, you could have expenses which are attributed to a specific disability.
Other deductions may include out-of-pocket costs related to regular medical expenses, like medication, health insurance, and medical transportation. Procedures, copay, and more may count. Plus, if you have communication equipment pertaining to a disability, or if you have a registered service animal (not emotional support animal or ESA), its food, veterinary bills, and supplies also count. If you need durable medical equipment, that could also count towards the total.
Deduction #3: Excess Shelter Deductions
Shelter deductions are often missed by many SNAP recipients. This isn’t just about your mortgage or rent, but the additional costs there like property taxes and insurance. Plus, if you have certain home repair costs, those can qualify you as well. It varies by state, and some states use a Standard Utility Allowance deduction instead of a deduction for utility costs, but you could still use your utility bills to qualify for more benefits.
While all of this information is beneficial, it’s important to note that most states put a maximum cap on how much you can receive when it comes to SNAP benefits. However, this is a legal way to get the funds you need: use your deductions, report and save all information, and increase the amount of money you receive for SNAP benefits.
These three deductions are commonly missed. Are you unsure about whether you qualify for one or more of these three deductions? Call your state or contact your caseworker directly, as these sources can help you determine eligibility. And if you haven’t applied for SNAP benefits yet, don’t forget to consider these benefits when you make your initial application.
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