Maximizing Your SNAP Benefits with Medical Deductions

( – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, provide assistance for struggling Americans to get help with the cost of their food. If you’re already enrolled in SNAP, you understand how your monthly calculated benefits get loaded onto your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card each month.

But, how do you make the most out of your SNAP benefits? You can look for the SNAP Medical Expense Deduction. This is a legal way to maximize your snap benefits.

The SNAP Medical Expense Deduction: How Does It Work?

When the government calculates your SNAP benefits, they consider your income, the size of your household, and some of your regular expenses. Those “necessary expenses” get deducted from your income before they calculate the amount you will receive. Because the program is meant to aid struggling Americans, you will get more benefits if your income is lower.

However, many people don’t know about the deductions, and therefore neglect to claim them. This leads to fewer SNAP benefits than they are entitled to. In fact, just five percent of SNAP households claim that deduction.

Who Can Deduct Medical Expenses?

All SNAP recipients aren’t automatically eligible to deduct medical expenses. To be eligible, you must be 60 years of age or older and get either disability benefits or Social Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you get an annuity from the Railroad Retirement Act and are also able to get Medicare, you may qualify.

If you are limited to your home due to being a disabled veteran, or if you receive a permanent and total disability award and you’re also eligible for attendance payments, you could qualify. This is also true if you are a surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was permanently disabled. Only the elderly or disabled person gets to claim the deduction; you can’t add the medical expenses of others in your house.

What Medical Expenses May You Deduct?

Legitimate medical expenses include any fees paid to a dentist or doctor, prescription drug copay, inpatient or outpatient hospital treatment, home nursing care or nursing home care, premiums for Medicare or health insurance, hearing aids, dentures, eyeglasses, or prosthetics, service animal related costs including veterinary bills, food, and training (emotional service animals not eligible), transportation to receive medical treatment, extra help you need around the home.

You can’t deduct food or marijuana by default, but some states may operate differently.

How Can You Claim the SNAP Benefits Medical Deduction?

You can claim monthly and one-time expenses, and there are a couple ways to do it. What works best depends on independent circumstances, so it’s best to let your caseworker handle this and help you determine the right method.

Keep all of your receipts so you can prove your expenses. Expect that they may get challenged.

What Do You Do If Your Deduction Gets Denied?

Your deduction may get denied as illegitimate, but you may request a hearing within 15 days. If you wait longer than that, it could affect your benefits, and if you lose an appeal, you may have to repay funds.

If you would like to appeal, you should consider hiring an attorney. If you have significant medical expenses like hospitalizations and you get a denial, though, it’s possibly worth it to get a legal expert on the issue.

If you haven’t considered medical deductions for your SNAP benefits and you may be eligible, consider pursuing that option to maximize the benefits you already receive. Why have a tougher time than you have to? Check the local requirements with your state and apply today.

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