Certain populations are not eligible for SNAP benefits, except under specific conditions. States have some flexibility in determining whether these populations meet specific conditions.
Striking workers and their households are ineligible for SNAP unless they were eligible for the program before they began striking or were eligible for a waiver of work requirements. Some states do allow striking workers to receive unemployment benefits, but individual states cannot allow them to receive SNAP. A worker who is unable to work due to a strike, but is not participating in the strike, is eligible for SNAP.
Students who are enrolled in college at least half-time are not eligible for SNAP unless certain exemptions apply. The primary exemptions are for students who are below age 18 or over 50, are disabled, work at least 20 hours a week in paid employment, are enrolled in a work study program or work training program, care for a child below age 12 or are also eligible for TANF.
States have flexibility to determine whether certain work training programs are the equivalent to a SNAP Employment and Training program. The New York governor’s office (20-ADM-13) determined that students in qualified career and technical education programs would be eligible for SNAP. Illinois (SB-0351) determined that students in community college work training programs would be eligible for SNAP.
The College SNAP Project from Swipe Out Hunger and the Congressional Hunger Center provides information on each state’s SNAP flexibilities for college students.
Undocumented Immigrants and Lawful Non-citizens
Only legal U.S. citizens and certain lawfully present non-citizens may receive SNAP benefits. The primary lawful non-citizens who may receive SNAP without a waiting period are alien children under 18 years old, refugees and asylees, victims of trafficking and a series of other specific groups. A lawful permanent resident who has completed 40 quarters of work or a battered spouse, child or parent may receive SNAP benefits after a waiting period.
Formerly Incarcerated Individuals with a Drug-related Felony
Most states have opted out of the federal policy implementing a lifetime ban against individuals who have been convicted of a drug felony from accessing SNAP benefits. States have either implemented modified restrictions or repealed the ban entirely. States that have a modified ban may require a waiting period, the expiration of probation or parole, regular drug tests, completion of a substance abuse treatment program and/or compliance with supervision. South Carolina and Guam each have a full ban for formerly incarcerated individuals with a drug-related felony.