You are allowed to own a home, as long as you live in it. This will not count as an asset and will not affect your food stamps. If you own two homes, you are out of luck. Unless you live in a state that has eliminated asset cut offs, in which case you are in luck.
Your food stamps may go up if you have any of these expenses. Below are a sample of expenses that count in Massachusetts. While food stamps rules are often identical or very similar from state to state, sometimes they do vary. Please check to confirm if they are the same in your state:
🍎 Mortgage, including payments on the principal, interest, legal fees, home improvement loans (even if you are behind in your payments). If you pay mortgage quarterly or semi-annually, list your monthly average.
🍎 Property taxes and homeowner insurance (even if you have no mortgage)
🍎 Trailer payments and parking fees
🍎 Repair costs on your home needed as a result of a fire, flood, severe storms or other natural disaster and not reimbursed by insurance; (e.g. a new boiler, new roof, replacement of windows, etc.)
🍎 Shelter expenses for a home not occupied by you if you are planning to return to it, not otherwise renting it and had to leave because of employment and training away from home, illness or a natural disaster
If someone is renting a room in your house, you will need to report this as income, and it may impact your benefits. Here are two regulations that may help:
🍎 Solution #1 – According to Mass Legal Help, one way to pay rent is to pay it directly to the mortgage or utilities company. “If Carol’s mother is on benefits, Carol can pay the rent money directly to the mortgage and utility companies so that the payments will not count against her mother’s benefits” Please talk with your caseworker, or check the regulations in your state to make sure this allowed.
🍎 Solution #2 – According to IRS regulations, the homeowner would now be considered a landlord and would be able to deduct certain things as business expenses. In this way, there might not be any profit or income that counts.
Tips from Neroli
“If you have a home equity loan that too often counts. When in doubt, find the supervisor there and ask. You will probably need to talk to someone higher up. In my state, the SNAP office did not even know this rule EXISTED. I had to tell them and show them the policies.”
Now you know all the regulations! That doesn’t mean your caseworker knows all the regulations. If you think your food stamps were not processed correctly, here’s some ideas for next steps.
There are a bunch more food stamps rules and regs it may really help you to know: How to Get Enough Food Stamps to Actually Eat
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