Do You Qualify for a SNAP Medical Expense Deduction?

Medical Expenses Draining Your Account? You May Qualify For SNAP Relief

( – If you’re getting Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, you know that every little bit helps. However, it can be challenging to qualify for the maximum amount of SNAP benefits, which is especially frustrating when you have a serious need or are in danger of hunger. Fortunately, there are some (legal) tricks and tips you can take advantage of to ensure you get the maximum amount of SNAP benefits. It’s not at all cheating — but it is using all the deductions you possibly can to ensure you can get the amount it takes to feed you and your family. The SNAP medical expense deduction is one such often overlooked SNAP deduction.

SNAP Medical Expense Deduction: How Does It Work?

When your caseworker submits your paperwork and your benefits get calculated, several factors go into consideration. Most prominent among these factors is your income, but household size and other expenses are also counted. One of these expenses, which fall under the category of “necessary,” is the amount you require for medical. These expenses get deducted from your income before your benefits are even calculated.

Since lower income leads to higher benefits, this pre-calculation deduction is important, especially if you have significant medical expenses. This can include common medical expenses such as the cost of insulin or other prescription medications!

Many people don’t know about the SNAP medical expense deduction and fail to account for it when they file. This results in them getting less SNAP funding than they’re entitled to. Only 5 percent of SNAP households even include that medical deduction, and many SNAP households are missing out.

Can You Deduct Your Medical Expenses From SNAP?

It depends. Not everyone on SNAP can deduct medical expenses, but if you’re 60 years or older and get Social Security Income (SSI) or disability benefits, you may be entitled to this deduction. If you get an annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act and also have Medicare eligibility, you could qualify for the medical expense deduction. If you’re a veteran and receive a total and permanent disability aid or award, or if you’re a permanently homebound veteran, you could qualify. Spouses and children of deceased, permanently disabled veterans often qualify as well.

To reiterate: only elderly, veterans, veteran survivors, or disabled people can typically claim the deduction. If you have medical expenses relating to others in the household, you can’t deduct them. Additionally, to qualify, your medical expenses must exceed a low threshold of $35 per month.

What Medical Expenses Can You Deduct If Eligible?

  • Should you qualify, you can deduct expenses such as:
  • Prescription drug fees and copays
  • Any fees you pay a dentist or doctor
  • Inpatient or outpatient hospital treatment
  • Home nursing care
  • Care in a nursing home facility
  • Medicare premiums
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Extra help you must hire around the home
  • Transportation to medical facilities or to obtain medical treatment
  • Any costs associated with a service animal, such as dog food, vet bills, and training — note that this only works for a service animal, not an emotional support animal (ESA) and your service animal must be registered
  • Hearing aids, prosthetics, glasses, and dentures

You cannot deduct marijuana or food, even if a doctor proscribes those things. Since deductions are state-by-state, all of these items may not qualify. Check with your caseworker.

How Do You Claim the Deduction?

To claim a SNAP medical expense deduction, you must keep paperwork showing the amount you pay monthly for ongoing expenses as well as qualifying single expenses. Unfortunately, medical expenses are often challenged. If that happens, you’ll have to work with your caseworker to request a hearing which you must do within 15 days to avoid risking the loss of benefits. An appeal, unfortunately, requires a lawyer in most instances, so be sure to weigh costs versus benefits.

If you believe you qualify, however, you should apply. Always consult your caseworker for help as a starting point.

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