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102. Gross monthly income standards for households where an “elderly” or “disabled” member is a separate household

We’re here to help, with a handy chart explaining seven scenarios for applying the gross inocme rules to households with elderly or disabled members. (A tip-of-the-FSG-hat to David Mandel at the Senior Legal Hotline for creating this chart.)

Most households have to meet both monthly gross and net income tests. Households with an elderly and/or disabled member, however, have different income eligibility standards. What test applies depends on the food stamp household arrangements.

The options are: 1) no gross income limit; 2) 165% gross income limit. (Monthly gross income limits are based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines, loosely but incorrectly referred to as the “federal poverty level,” published each year in the Federal Register.)

1) No Gross Income Limit
If a food stamps household contains someone who is aged or disabled, the entire household does not have a gross income test. MPP §63-409.112; 7 C.F.R. § 273.10(e)(ii)(2)(A) (compare to (2)(B), which also applies a gross income standard to non-aged/disabled households). In living situations in which some members are aged or disabled, but choose to be in a separate food stamps household (so that the non-aged or disabled members are in their own food stamps household), then the aged/disabled unit has no gross income test, but the remaining (non-aged/disabled) group would have the “standard” 130% gross income limit.

2) 165% Gross Income Limit
The household contains an aged and disabled person unable to buy or prepare food separately. In the unusual (and limited) situation in which a person is over 60 and is too disabled to buy/prepare food separately and wants to be in a separate food stamp household, the rest of the members of the food stamp unit must meet the 165% gross income limit. MPP §63-402.17; 7 C.F.R. § 273.1(b)(2). In other words, you first look at the larger group to see if it’s income (excluding the income of the elderly/disabled person) is under 165% of poverty, and, if so, you can have a separate household for the elderly/disabled person who cannot purchase/prepare food separately. The disability must either be considered permanent under the Social Security Act or a “non disease-related, severe, permanent disability.” Once the household meets this 165% standard, the eligibility is determined for the two households separately. It is possible that the aged/disabled individual/couple qualify (since they have special rules for deductions), and the non-senior household does not. (The non-senior household must meet the net income limit of 100% of FPL standard, but they just get the regular deductions, since the senior is no longer in the food stamp unit.)

The table below provides the 165% gross monthly income standard for these households. The U.S. Department of Agriculture every year updates the income eligibility standards at the beginning of each Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), which runs from October 1 through September 30 of each year.

Still confused? Take a look at the gross-net income checklist that walks through, step-by-step, the various household combinations.

The gross income limit chart below is for 165% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (Oct. 2011-Sept. 2012), per ACIN I-62-11.

Household Size 165% Gross Monthly Income Limit
1 $ 1,498
2 $ 2,023
3 $ 2,548
4 $ 3,074
5 $ 3,599
6 $ 4,124
7 $ 4,649
8 $ 5,175
Each additional person + $ 526

There is different chart illustrating the 130% gross income and 100% net income limits that apply to food stamp households without any elderly or disabled members.