Effective October 1, 2023, more than 300,000 households in Louisiana will experience an increase in their monthly benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. This comes as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) routine cost-of-living adjustment for Federal Fiscal Year 2024.
The move is in response to the impact of inflation on SNAP beneficiaries. Each year, the USDA revises SNAP monthly distributions based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) trends from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This ensures that the rising costs of living do not deprive individuals of essential nutritious foods necessary for health and well-being.
The Maximum Monthly Food Allotment
For the upcoming fiscal year, the maximum monthly food allotment is set to increase based on household size. Single-member households will now receive $291, up from $281, while a three-person household will see an increment from $740 to $766.
Here’s a quick overview of the changes:
- 1 person: Was $281, now $291.
- 2 people: Was $516, now $535.
- 3 people: Was $740, now $766.
- … (and so on for larger households)
The minimum monthly distribution remains fixed at $23. This modification is anticipated to predominantly affect individuals with minimal to zero income, currently drawing the maximum benefit sum.
Adjusted Income Thresholds and Deductions
From October 1, 2023, revisions in income thresholds and deductions will also result in enhanced monthly benefits for several SNAP households.
The criteria for income eligibility, connected to inflation and the federal poverty threshold, have been revised. The income caps for single-person households and those of three members, among others, have been increased. Specifically:
- 1 person: Gross limit now $1,580, Net limit $1,215.
- 2 people: Gross limit now $2,137, Net limit $1,644.
- 3 people: Gross limit now $2,694, Net limit $2,072.
- … (and so forth)
A household qualifies as a Broad-Based Categorically Eligible (BBCE) unit if they are eligible for non-cash perks such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State maintenance of effort (MOE) funded assistance.
Lastly, households with a member aged 60 or above, or a disabled member, will continue to have a resource limit of $4,250. For all other qualifying households, this limit is $2,750. There’s also an increase in the standard monthly deduction to $198, and the shelter cap is now $672. Those households consisting entirely of homeless individuals with eligible shelter expenses will now benefit from a shelter deduction of $179.66, an increase from the previous $166.81. If you need more information, refer to the official website, here: https://dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/snap.
What are Broad-Based Categorically Eligible units in SNAP?
Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE) is a policy employed within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that allows households to become categorically eligible for SNAP if they qualify for a non-cash Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or state maintenance of effort (MOE) funded benefit.
BBCE aims to support working families and those saving for the future by eliminating a “benefit cliff” as their earnings rise. This is achieved by gradually phasing out benefits, allowing households close to the income threshold to accept higher-paying work and still benefit from SNAP.
Furthermore, BBCE allows low-income households to save for the future. Under regular federal SNAP rules, countable assets cannot exceed $2,250 for most households, and $3,500 for households with members who are elderly or have a disability. However, BBCE lets states increase or eliminate these limits for SNAP, encouraging low-income families to avoid debt, weather unexpected financial disruptions, and prepare for retirement.
Louisiana’s SNAP Programs Has New Working Requirements – Are You Impacted?
Starting from October 1, the DCFS is set to enforce federal work requirements and time constraints for specific food stamps beneficiaries. However, it’s worth noting that these regulations won’t apply to 33 parishes, which have been granted a federal waiver exempting them from the time limit rule.
As of October 1, 2023, individuals aged between 18 and 52 within the Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) group will be eligible for SNAP benefits for a maximum of three months within a 36-month period, unless they fulfill the federal work requirement or qualify for an exemption. This rule, referred to as the SNAP Time Limit, is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
Additionally, the Fiscal Responsibility Act has introduced new exemptions from the work requirement. These exemptions apply to individuals who are experiencing homelessness, veterans, and young adults aged 18 to 24 who were in foster care on their eighteenth birthday.
It’s important to note that the ABAWD age limit will be raised again on October 1, 2024, extending the work requirements and time constraints to ABAWDs up to the age of 54. These changes aim to promote fiscal responsibility within the SNAP program and ensure that benefits are allocated appropriately.
To comply with ABAWD work requirements, SNAP recipients must fall into this category must:
- Work in a job (for pay or as a volunteer) for at least 80 hours per month;
- Take part in a SNAP Employment and Training program for at least 80 hours per month (More information available at www.dcfs.la.gov/SNAPET); or
- Work and/or participate in any assemblage of the above for a total of at least 80 hours per month.