A resident of an institution generally is not eligible for SNAP benefits if 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 that he or she applies for SSI benefits
under the prerelease provision. For more information about the prerelease provision,
see SI 01801.040B.1. in this subsection.
We do not consider certain categories of individuals or households living in a facility,
shelter, or other type of housing, residents of an institution. For more information
about individuals or households excluded from the “resident rule,” see SI 01801.040B.2. in this subsection.
NOTE: An individual in an institution who does not receive over 50% of three meals daily
from the institution is considered an individual household and not a “resident of
an institution” for SNAP eligibility purposes.
Under the prerelease provision, a resident of a public institution may apply for SNAP
benefits at the same time that 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
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
Include the name, address, and phone number of a staff contact at the institution
in the REMARKS section (Item 7) of the SSA-4233; and
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
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
the release date or any changes that the institution reports concerning the release
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 eligibility purposes
Do not consider the following categories of individuals or households as residents
of institutions for SNAP eligibility purposes. The individuals or households in these
categories can apply for SNAP benefits through an authorized representative or on
a. Federally subsidized housing
Individuals who live in federally subsidized housing for the elderly are considered
b. Drug or alcohol abuse (DAA) treatment or rehabilitation centers
Residents of DAA treatment centers or rehabilitation programs are generally considered
individual 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
Disabled or blind individuals who live in a public or private non-profit living facility
that serves no more than 16 residents are considered individual households (not residents
of institutions) and may be eligible for SNAP if they meet certain criteria as outlined
by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.
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 individual 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