A noncitizen who does not meet the INS status rules for SNAP benefits because they have not lived in the U.S. for 5 years may still qualify for SNAP benefits if they meet both of the following criteria:
The first criteria is that they are under age 18, or disabled/blind, or a U.S. veteran or in active military service or their dependent, or that they are a lawful permanent resident credited with 40 qualifying quarters.
The second criteria is that INS status must be:
- lawful permanent resident;
- conditional entrant under section 203(a)(7) of the INA;
- parolee status for at least a year under section 212(d)(5) of the INA; or
- abused spouse or child, or parent or child of an abused person with a petition pending under 204(a)(1)(A) or (B) or 244(a)(3) of the INA. This status does not apply if the noncitizen lives with the abuser.
Under Age 18
A person is under age 18 through the fiscal month they turn age 18.
Disabled or Blind
A noncitizen must meet the definition of a qualifying member for SNAP benefits other than by age, as defined in PM 05-06-01, to be considered disabled or blind.
U.S. Veterans, Active Military Service, and Dependents
To be considered a veteran, a person must meet the minimum active-duty service requirements (24 months or the period for which the person was called to active duty). This includes a person who served in the Philippine Commonwealth Army during WWII or as a Philippine Scout following the war.
A noncitizen who is:
- a veteran, honorably discharged from U.S. military service, for reasons other than being a noncitizen;
- in active U.S. military service;
- a spouse or unmarried dependent child of a veteran or a person in active U.S. military service; or
- the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran or person who was on active duty. The surviving spouse must not have remarried and the marriage must have:
- lasted for at least one year, or
- occurred no later than 15 years after the end of the military service in which the injury or disease happened, or
- been for any length of time if a child was born of the marriage or before the marriage.
Example: Mr. and Mrs. R applied for SNAP benefits. Mr. R is a citizen. Mrs. R is a noncitizen, lawfully admitted for permanent residence who has not lived in the U.S. for 5 years. Mr. R is a veteran. As a spouse of a veteran, Mrs. R meets the citizenship status rule for SNAP benefits.
Lawful Permanent Resident with 40 Qualifying Quarters
A lawful permanent resident who has not lived in the U.S. for 5 years but is credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work meets the citizen/INS status rule for SNAP benefits.
Count qualifying quarters earned by:
- the noncitizen; and
- their parents, for earnings when the noncitizen was under age 18, including quarters worked before the noncitizen was born; and
- their stepparent for earnings when the noncitizen was under age 18 (relationship must still exist, unless relationship ended due to death); and
- their spouse, for earnings during the marriage; and
- their former spouse, for earnings during the marriage if the marriage ended by death.
See PM 04-05-01 for the definition of a parent.
Qualifying quarters of work count even if wage earners whose quarters can be used worked during the same period of time.
Example: Ms. M, age 20, was lawfully admitted for permanent residence 3 years ago. Her parents worked in the U.S. and together earned 40 qualifying quarters when Ms. M was under age 18. Ms. M. is credited with her parents qualifying quarters and meets the INS status rules to qualify for SNAP benefits.
Quarters earned beginning with the first quarter of 1997 (January through March 1997) only count toward the 40 quarters needed to meet the citizen/INS status if the person working did not receive SSI, AFDC, TANF, Medicaid, or SNAP benefits during the quarter.