Does Workers’ Comp Count as Income for Food Stamps?
A work injury does not just impact your ability to work; it can also keep you from bringing in the income you need to support your family. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also called food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) can go a long way toward helping you put food on the table and pay your bills.
People who receive these benefits and suffer a work injury may wonder, Does workers’ comp count as income for food stamps purposes? After all, you do not want to lose your benefits by filing a claim. Workers’ compensation payments count as income or resources for purposes of food stamp eligibility, but that does not automatically mean you do not qualify for government assistance. Further, funds you receive from other government assistance programs (like TANF) do not count toward the income thresholds.
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo fights for those who suffered a work injury or have a disability and need assistance. There are a host of government and private programs available to help people. Unfortunately, the government and workers’ compensation insurance companies do not always make it easy for people to understand if they are eligible to receive benefits. Our experienced Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers demystify the process and empower people to help them successfully navigate these unfamiliar situations.
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What Is SNAP or Food Stamps?
Food stamps, or SNAP, is a federally-funded program administered by each state to help people afford food for their families. The Pennsylvania government administers this program to those it determines need assistance. To make this decision, the government counts the resources and income that the household possesses. Households with more monthly earnings than the designated maximum may be ineligible for benefits, whereas families with less than the maximum may be eligible.
What Counts as Income for Food Stamps in PA?
Income includes most money members of the household receive, except for certain government assistance payments and other types of income. The Pennsylvania government divides income into three primary categories: unearned income, earned income, and third-party payments.
Earned income includes money the individual receives from working, employer-provided sick benefits (if the worker expects to return to work), self-employment income, and rental income. Unearned income includes cash assistance, unemployment compensation, Social Security payments (SSI or SSDI), workers’ compensation, and adoption assistance payments.
Third-party payments include deposits made on behalf of someone else towards a member of the household’s monetary obligations. An example of a third-party payment is when a court order automatically takes money from someone’s paycheck to pay child support or alimony.
What Does Not Count as Income for Food Stamps in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania government does not include certain types of money, income, or assets in its definition of income for purposes of eligibility for food stamps. For example, TANF child support payments, rent payments made directly to the landlord by someone other than the tenant, loans, and lump-sum deposits may not fall within the definition of income. Certain types of military or government-provided benefits are also exempt.
Other types of income may be excluded from the definition when determining if a household is eligible for SNAP benefits. Individuals who have questions about whether their income disqualifies them for SNAP benefits might benefit from talking to an attorney about their situation.
Does Workers’ Comp Count as Income for Food Stamps in PA?
In some cases, workers’ comp may count as income for purposes of food stamps. Often, it depends on how the worker receives the benefits, how much they receive, and whether they meet SNAP’s definition of disabled. For example, workers’ compensation is considered income if the worker receives it regularly (e.g., monthly or biweekly deposits). But the Pennsylvania government considers lump sum payments to be resources rather than income. In that case, the SNAP resource limits would apply. Workers with more than the allowed resource limits may be ineligible for SNAP benefits or become ineligible if they receive the payout.
People who meet SNAP’s definition of disabled may not have to meet the income and resource restrictions imposed on others to be eligible for the program. The eligibility requirements for SNAP and other government programs are quite technical and often change every year. Talking to an experienced attorney can help you understand what applies to your circumstances and how to pursue or maintain your benefits.
What Are the Income Limits for SNAP in PA?
The income limits imposed by the Pennsylvania government change each year (typically on October 1st) to account for inflation and fluctuations in the federal poverty limit. Additionally, the income limits depend on the size of the household. The government counts the income after it deducts payments exempt from the definition. For the federal fiscal year between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, the income limits range from $2,266 for a single-member household to $9,348 for a ten-member family.
Households categorically eligible for SNAP benefits do not have to prove that they meet the income limits. Categorically eligible families can include those where every counted member receives TANF or Social Security benefits. Households may also have blanket eligibility if members meet the SNAP program’s definition of a disability or are over 60 years old.
In addition to monthly income, the household members must have less than the maximum allowed value of resources. Property such as most used vehicles and homes typically do not count toward the resource limit imposed by the government. But rental property and cash or things that someone can easily convert into cash do count. Like with income, however, exemptions apply for government-provided benefits, child support, and people’s personal belongings (e.g., jewelry, appliances, and burial plots).
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo: Experienced PA Workers’ Comp Attorneys Proudly Serving Pennsylvania Since the 1930s
Life can be hard, especially when a work injury prevents you from doing your job and earning enough money to support yourself and your family. Government programs like SNAP and TANF can help bridge the gap while you heal from your injury and get back on your feet. But not everyone is automatically eligible for these programs, and it can be difficult to understand the ever-changing regulations. Fortunately, you have options.
Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo fights for injured workers and helps them pursue the benefits they are entitled to under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation laws. Employers and their insurance companies often try to downplay the severity of a worker’s injuries to save money by not having to pay compensation. Our team understands the tactics companies use to discourage workers from pursuing compensation or prevent them from getting the help they deserve. Our team includes the Honorable Geoffrey Dlin, a retired Workers’ Compensation Judge with decades of experience overseeing workers’ compensation cases. He decided to leave the bench and serve as an advocate again to be the change he wanted to see in effectively fighting for injured workers.
If you suffered a work injury, contact our office today by calling 844-243-4843 or completing an online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.