TN 19 (08-17)

SI 01801.060 Household Composition for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Purposes

This section provides general guidelines about what is a “household” for SNAP benefit purposes. For the definition of a SNAP household or a pure SSI household, see SI 01801.005B.

NOTE: If you are not sure how to complete the household composition information on the SNAP application or unsure to consider a person living in the household a household member for SNAP purposes, document this in Item 7 (REMARKS) on the SSA-4233 (Social Security Administration for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Applications).

A. Who to consider a household member for SNAP purposes

This subsection explains who is generally considered a household member for SNAP purposes.

1. Family members

The following individuals, or group of individuals living with others part of the SNAP household even if not purchasing food and preparing meals together:

  • Spouses who live together;

  • Parents and their children 21 years old or younger who live together; and

  • Children (excluding foster children) under 18 years old who live with and are under the parental control of a person other than their parent.

2. Boarders and individuals in foster care

A boarder is an individual (or a group of individuals) who resides with a household and pays “reasonable compensation” for lodging and meals. The household that provides board must request the boarder’s participation in its SNAP application.

NOTE: Foster care individuals placed in the home of relatives or other families by a federal, state, or local governmental foster care program are considered boarders and cannot participate in SNAP independently of the household providing the foster care services. However, foster care individuals may participate (along with their spouse or children who live with them) as members of the household providing the foster care, but only at the request of the household that provides the foster care services.

a. What is reasonable compensation

Under SNAP guidelines, each boarder is usually considered a separate household as long as any other boarders are not family members (as defined in SI 01801.060A.3. in this subsection).

Boarders who are related have their payments combined to determine if their payments are “reasonable compensation” based on household size.

NOTE: SNAP uses only the amount of board paid for meals to determine reasonable compensation.

b. When a boarder does not pay reasonable compensation

If a boarder does not pay reasonable compensation, he or she is considered to be a member of the household.

c. Household requests boarder’s participation in the SNAP application

When a household requests a boarder’s participation in its SNAP application, and the boarder pays reasonable compensation, the boarder’s income is included with the household’s income for SNAP purposes.

d. Household does not request boarder’s participation in the SNAP application

If the household does not request the boarder’s participation in its SNAP application, and the boarder pays reasonable compensation, the boarder’s payments to the household are considered self-employment income for the household.

B. Who is not considered a household member for SNAP benefit purposes

A “non-household member” is a person living in a SNAP household who the SNAP office does not consider present in the household to determine the household’s eligibility or allotment amount.

EXAMPLE: Two families share living quarters to save on rent but do not purchase and prepare food together. When one family applies for SNAP benefits, the members of the other family are not considered members of the SNAP applicant’s household.

The following individuals are not considered part of the SNAP household but are able to apply for SNAP benefits as a separate household.

1. Roomer

A roomer lives with a household and pays for lodging but not meals.

2. Boarder not asked to participate with the household

A boarder is not considered a household member if the household that provides the board does not request the boarder’s participation in its SNAP application. However, if the boarder pays reasonable compensation and resides in a pure SSI household, the boarder is permitted to apply for SNAP, but only on behalf of the household.

NOTE: If the boarder does not pay reasonable compensation, consider him or her as a member of the household that provides board.

3. Live-in attendant

A live-in attendant resides with the household to provide medical, house