SNAP Basics

SNAP's Excess Medical Expense Deduction: Targeting Food Assistance To Low-Income Seniors And Individuals With Disabilities

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides over 8 million struggling elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities (as well as millions of other low-income households) with benefits that they can use to purchase food. Many low-income households with elderly and disabled members pay high out-of-pocket expenses for health care that create additional barriers to affording an adequate diet. SNAP allows households to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses over $35 per month from their income in calculating their net income for SNAP purposes to more realistically reflect the income they have available to purchase food. This, in turn, could potentially qualify them for higher SNAP benefits.

While the medical expense deduction plays an important role in ensuring that households with high medical costs receive adequate benefits, it is underutilized.



Chart Book: SNAP Helps Struggling Families Put Food on the Table

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program.

  • SNAP reaches millions of people who need food assistance.
  • SNAP is an efficient part of the nationwide safety net.

This chart book highlights some key characteristics of the more than 47 million people using the program as well as trends and data on program administration and use.



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