Field Ops Memo 2008-15: Standard Medical Deduction for the Food Stamp Program (obsolete by Ops Memo 2014-16)


Obsoleted by Ops Memo 2014-16 (2/20/2014).

Below is field guidance from DTA announcing the new "standard medical deduction" for elder/disabled FS recipients. USDA approved the Massachusetts request for a federal waiver in late December at the best of the FS Improvement Coalition and the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, including Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Worcester). 

What is the standard medical deduction?

Under federal food stamp rules, a disabled or elderly person (elderly is age 60 years or older) is entitled to claim a wide range of out-of-pocket medical expenses as a deduction against countable income. The deduction is allowed when medical expenses exceed $35/month. The historic problem has been verifying medical expenses, and especially in months where the expenses fluctuate or are not large, but still affect a household's limited income. Under the new rules, FS applicants and recipients will now get a standard deduction if the elder/disabled FS household member has $35.01/month or more in medical expenses. As DTA's guidance notes in one example, a Social Security recipient with $1,080 social security could see his or her food stamps increase from $10/month to $48/month.. If the elder/disabled person has more than $125 in monthly medical expenses, they can still claim the actual amount of expenses for an even higher deduction off of income, and thus higher food stamps.

What if you have a client who never claimed medical expenses for food stamps? 

A FS household can claim this income deduction anytime! Advise your client to fax, mail or bring his or her worker copies of any medical bills, a print out of pharmacy purchases (including over the counter drugs, ointments, creams, adult diapers, hearing aid batteries, vitamins, etc), any proof of medical appointments (used to claim travel expenses) or other expenses. The Field Ops Memo includes a sample brochure describing the scope of medical expenses allowed (Attachment B). If the client has any expenses above between $35.01 and $125/month they will get the standard $90 deduction off income. If greater than $125, they will get the actual expenses (above $35/month) allowed as a deduction.

Attachment Size
FO_2008-15.pdf (1.01 MB) 1.01 MB