TN 19 (08-17)

SI 01801.040 Living Arrangements That May Affect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Eligibility

Generally, a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient is not eligible for SNAP benefits if he or she lives in:

  • a cash-out state (i.e., California);

  • an institution; or

  • a commercial boarding house.

IMPORTANT: SSI recipients who reside in a cash-out state, an institution, or a commercial boarding house still have the right to apply for SNAP benefits. Refer the applicant or recipient to the local SNAP office to file an application. The SNAP office makes an eligibility determination.

This section provides guidance about the prerelease provision under which a resident of a public institution may apply for SNAP benefits at the same time as he or she applies for SSI benefits, if the resident expects to live in a pure SSI household upon release.

A. Cash-out states

Currently, the only cash-out state is California. For detailed instructions to apply when serving cash-out state residents, see SI 01801.030.

B. Residents of public institutions

A resident of an institution generally is not eligible for SNAP benefits because he or she receives over 50% of three meals daily from the institution as part of its normal services. This is the “resident rule.” However, if an individual who lives in an institution appears to meet the criteria for SSI eligibility, and the institution may release him or her within 30 days after notification of potential SSI eligibility, he or she may apply for SNAP benefits at the same time as he or she applies for SSI benefits under the prerelease provision. For more information about the prerelease provision, see SI 01801.030B.1. in this subsection.

We do not consider certain categories of applicants, recipients, or households living in a facility, shelter, or other type of housing residents of an institution. For more information about applicants, recipients, or households excluded from the “resident rule,” see SI 01801.030B.2. in this subsection.

1. Prerelease provision

Under the prerelease provision, a resident of a public institution may apply for SNAP benefits at the same time as he or she applies for SSI benefits, if he or she expects to live in a pure SSI household upon release. For detailed information about the prerelease procedure for the institutionalized, see SI 00520.900 through SI 00520.930.

a. Prerelease procedures for SNAP

When an SSI applicant expects to live in a pure SSI household upon release from an institution and wishes to file for SNAP benefits, take the following actions.

  • Complete the SNAP questions on the SSI application or redetermination form;

  • Take the SNAP application;

  • If you know the applicant’s residence address, provide the applicant with the address and telephone number of the local SNAP office. If you do not know the applicant’s residence address, provide him or her with the address and telephone number of the SNAP office servicing the institution; and

  • Send the application to the SNAP office.

b. How to send the prerelease application to the SNAP office

Take the following actions when you send prerelease SNAP applications to the SNAP office.

  • Write “PRERELEASE” in large letters across the top of the first page of the completed SNAP application. If you mail the paper form to the SNAP office, write “PRERELEASE” in red ink.

Complete Form SSA-4233 (Social Security Administration Transmittal for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Applications). For detailed instructions, see SI 01801.310.

  • Include the name, address, and phone number of a staff contact at the institution in the REMARKS section (Item 7) of the SSA-4233.

  • Fax the SSA-4233 and SNAP application within one business day to the SNAP office servicing the applicant’s expected residence address after release. If you do not know the applicant’s residence address, send the application to the SNAP office in the institution’s servicing area.

IMPORTANT: Send the SSA-4233 and SNAP application to the SNAP office servicing the institution when: the institution released the applicant but he or she does not have his or her new residence address, the applicant’s SSI claim is denied prior to his or her release, or the release date changed or cancelled.

c. Coordinate with the institution and SNAP office

Inform, verify, and coordinate with the applicant’s institution and local SNAP office regarding:

  • the release date or any changes that the institution reports concerning the release date;

  • any SSI eligibility or ineligibility determination; and

  • the applicant’s new residence address, phone number, or living arrangement upon release.

d. When an individual does not wish to file for SNAP benefits under the prerelease provision

Tell an applicant or recipient who does not wish to file for SNAP benefits under the prerelease provision that SSA offices have SNAP information and applications available and that we take SNAP applications from SSI applicants or recipients who are members of pure SSI households. If the individual decides to file for SNAP benefits later, tell him or her to contact the local SNAP office or the SSA field office (FO).

2. Who is not considered a resident of an institution for SNAP purposes

Do not consider categories of recipients individuals or households in this section as residents of institutions for SNAP purposes. The individuals or households in these categories can apply for SNAP benefits through an authorized representative or on their own.

a. Federally subsidized housing

Individuals who live in federally subsidized housing for the elderly (built under section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959) are considered one-person households.

b. Drug or alcohol abuse (DAA) treatment or rehabilitation centers

Residents of DAA treatment centers or rehabilitation programs are generally considered one-person households unless their children live at the center or facility. If the children live at the center or facility with the resident, include the children as members of the household for SNAP purposes. These residents generally apply for SNAP using an authorized representative whom the DAA center employs.

c. Public or private non-profit group living facility

Title II or Title XVI disabled or blind beneficiaries or recipients who live in a public or private non-profit group living facility that serves no more than 16 residents are considered one-person households.

d. Shelter for victims of domestic violence

Individuals or individuals with dependents who temporarily reside in a shelter for victims of domestic violence are considered one-person households.

e. Public or private non-profit shelters for the homeless

Residents of a public or private non-profit shelter for the homeless are considered one-person households.

C. Residents of commercial boarding houses

Generally, residents of a commercial boarding house are not eligible for SNAP benefits. For SNAP purposes, a commercial boarding house is an establishment licensed by the state or a local jurisdiction to offer meals and lodging for compensation. In the absence of state or local licensing requirements, a commercial boarding house is a commercial establishment that offers meals and lodging for compensation with the intent to make a profit.

If a resident of a commercial boarding house inquires about SNAP benefits:

  • explain that he or she may not be eligible for SNAP because of the rules concerning residents of a commercial boarding house;

  • offer informational materials about SNAP benefits and the address and phone number of the local SNAP office; and

  • explain that he or she can file an application at the SNAP office for a SNAP eligibility determination.

NOTE: Residents of a non-commercial boarding house are generally considered a one-person household for SNAP purposes. For more information about non-commercial boarders, see SI 01801.060A.4.


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SI 01801.040 - Living Arrangements That May Affect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Eligibility - 08/23/2017
Batch run: 08/23/2017
Rev:08/23/2017