The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Ops Memo 2014-60: Annual Cost-of-Living (COLA) Adjustment, Standard Utility Allowance and Asset Limit Changes

Date: 
09/18/2014
Author: 
DTA

Overview
The annual SNAP COLA will be processed during the weekend of September 19, 2014. This is a mass change affecting the entire SNAP caseload, and this recalculation will impact the household’s monthly benefit for October.

Purpose of Memo
The purpose of the memo is to inform staff of:

  • the annual COLA changes;
  • the standard utility allowance changes; and
  • the increase in asset limit for households without elderly or disabledmembers.

COLA Changes
The following is a summary of the COLA changes in SNAP:

Gross, Net and 165 Percent Income Eligibility Standards - The Gross, Net and 165 Percent Income Eligibility Standards have increased.

Shelter Deduction - The maximum shelter deduction (for households that do not include an elderly/disabled member) has increased to $490.

Standard Deduction: The standard deduction for all household sizes has increased.

  • The standard deduction for household sizes I to 3 has increased to $155;
  • The standard deduction for a household of 4 has increased to $165;
  • The standard deduction for a household of 5 has increased to $193; and
  • The standard deduction for a household of 6 has increased to $221.

Maximum Benefit Levels - The maximum SNAP benefit levels for all household sizes have increased.
Minimum Benefit Level - The minimum benefit level for eligible one and two-person households has increased to $16.
See Attachment A for revised standards.

Standard Utility Allowance Changes

Standard Utility Allowances (SUAs)

  • The Heating/Cooling SUA has increased to $634;
  • The Nonheating SUA has increased to $390;
  • The Phone SUA has increased to $45; and
  • The Bay State CAP SUA has increased to $634.

Homeless Shelter/Utility Deduction
The Homeless Shelter/Utility Deduction remains at $143.

Automatic Update of Active SNAP Households
As of the close of business on September 19, 2014, active SNAP cases, including Bay State CAP cases, will be automatically recalculated using the new COLA and SUA standards. SNAP cases with a change in benefit amount will be automatically authorized. The newly calculated benefit amount will be displayed on the Active by Grantee Name view, under Assistance Unit Lists.

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