When SNAP decides the amount of your benefit, they consider the size of your household, your income, and some of your expenses. They take expenses like housing, childcare, and medical expenses (for elderly and disabled people) into account when they look at your income by giving you a credit for certain necessary expenses. They subtract these credits, called “deductions,” from your income, so your “countable income” is lower. Once they have calculated your countable income, they compare it to your household size to determine your monthly SNAP benefit. Generally, the lower your countable income, the higher your benefit will be.
How do I know if I can deduct medical expenses?
You may be able to deduct medical expenses if:
If you qualify, you can deduct medical expenses that are more than $35 in a month.
What medical expenses can be deducted?
Medical expenses you can deduct include:
What expenses are not counted?
You can only count medical bills that are actually paid or due from you. If insurance or another agency is paying the cost, you can’t deduct that expense.
How are medical expenses counted?
For ongoing and recurring expenses, the amount you pay each month will be deducted monthly. For one-time expenses, like a hospitalization or eyeglasses, you can deduct the total expense in one month or you can spread the total over your recertification period. Which way is better for you depends on your income and other expenses. If you need help deciding which method to use, you can ask your caseworker what the difference would be for each method. You can also contact the LSNJLAWSM hotline at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529) or your regional Legal Services program.
What if I disagree with a decision about medical expenses?
If you think you are eligible for a medical deduction and the SNAP agency doesn’t agree, you can ask for a fair hearing.
How do I get a fair hearing?
How much time do I have to ask for a fair hearing?
You have 90 days from the date of the Division of Social Services’ decision to ask for a fair hearing on a SNAP denial.
If you want your SNAP benefits to continue unchanged while you wait for a hearing, you must ask for a hearing within 15 days of the day you get notice of a change in your case. Make sure that you say that you want your benefits to continue, when you ask for the hearing. (If you lose your appeal you will have to pay the extra benefits back. Usually, the SNAP office will recoup this out of future benefits you receive until it is paid back.)
If you need help with your SNAP benefits, you can call LSNJLAWSM, Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline, at 1-888-LSNJLAW (1-888-576-5529) for legal advice, information, and referral.
This information last reviewed: May 2, 2018