There are TWO different Food Stamp/SNAP policies that affect persons with disabilities who are unable to purchase and prepare their own food.
1. One rule affects persons who live and share food with other persons and who are both disabled and elderly. In this case, to qualify for separate SNAP benefits, the disabled person must be age 60 or older, and must live with persons whose gross income is below 165% of the poverty level (this requires the other household members share information about their income). In October 2010, DTA recently issued a series of Hotline Q &As on this situation – persons who are both elderly and disabled, and living with others with whom they share meals. See October 2010 Hotline: http://www.masslegalservices.org/node/34063
2. There is another option for disabled persons who are entitled to separate SNAP benefits. Persons who are disabled - regardless of their age or the income of others - who get help with the purchasing and preparation of food can also qualify for separate SNAP benefits. The critical difference is whether or not the majority of food is purchased and prepared for the benefit of the disabled person, or intended for the consumption of all household members a majority of the time. USDA issued guidance in June 2006 addressing this issue, but it has never made its way into revised federal regulations. See http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/separate-household-status-disabled-persons A December 2007 DTA FYI also addresses this scenario.
The following are links some additional resources:
- MLRI fact sheet explaining these two rules
- MLRI "Snap Shot" chart explaining the differences between these two rules
- Question 19 from the SNAP/ Food Stamp Advocacy Guide discussing these rules
- October 2010 DTA Hotline Focus
- December 2007 DTA Hotline FYI
- December 2007 DTA Hotline Focus
- June 2006 FNS Guidance