WAG 04-05-03: People Required to Be in the SNAP Household

PM 04-05-03

The following examples show how SNAP household policy applies to different family situations.

Example 1: Ms. Q lives with her 25 year old daughter. She buys food and prepares meals separately from her daughter. Ms. Q and her daughter each qualify as separate SNAP households because they buy and prepare food separately.

Example 2: Ms. S moves in with her sister and they share housing expenses. They buy and prepare food separately because Ms. S works nights. Ms. S and her sister are separate SNAP households because they buy and prepare food separately.

Example 3: Ms. W and her child receive TANF. Ms. W reported that her child's father, Mr. M, moved into the home. Ms. W states that she buys and prepares food separately from Mr. M. Ms. W and Mr. M are not married and Mr. M's name is not listed on her child's birth certificate. Since paternity has not been legally established, Mr. M cannot be added to the TANF case.

Since Ms. W states that Mr. M is her child's father, Ms. W, her child, and Mr. M must all be included in the same SNAP household.

Example 4: Ms. R, age 16, lives with Ms. X. Ms. X is not Ms. R's mother. Ms. R is under Ms. X's parental control, and does not have a husband or child living with her. Ms. R does not qualify as a separate SNAP household because she is under Ms. X's parental control.

Example 5: Ms. Z and her 19 year old daughter live together. The daughter buys and prepares food separately for herself and her child. Ms. Z's daughter does not qualify as a separate SNAP household because she is under age 22.

Parents and Children Living Together But Claiming to be Separate

When a parent(s) and child(ren) under age 22 claim to be separate SNAP households because they live separately, but in the same dwelling, grant separate SNAP household status only if the following conditions are met:

  • the living quarters are totally separate, and
  • there is no shared living space.

Living quarters can still be considered separate even if there is a shared entrance (e.g., a hallway or stairway).

Example 1: Mr. J, age 20, rents a basement apartment in his parent's house. The entrance to Mr. J's apartment is a shared entrance which leads to a stairway to his apartment. Although the entrance is a shared entrance, the living quarters are entirely separate, so grant Mr. J separate SNAP household status.

Example 2: Mr. T, age 19, applies for SNAP. He lives at home with his parents and younger brother. He pays his parents $200 a month in rent. He buys and prepares food separately from the rest of the family. His room is on the 2nd floor next to his brother's.

Do not grant Mr. T separate SNAP household status since his room is not separate from the rest of the house (the kitchen and bathroom for the house are part of his living quarters).

Parents Share Joint Custody of the Child

When parents share joint custody, the child(ren) may be included in the SNAP household if living at least 50% of the time with the parent that is applying for SNAP if not active on the other parent's case. If a SNAP  application is filed at the same time, the parents must decide which SNAP household will include the child.

revised manual textExample: Ms. B is applying for SNAP benefits for herself and her 5-year old child K. She shares joint custody of K with her ex-husband. The HSC asks Ms. B how often K lives with each parent during the month to determine where the child resides at least 50% of the time and receives meals. Ms. B states K lives with her Monday through Saturday morning. On Saturday around noon, K is picked up by her father to spend the weekend until Sunday evening after dinner. The HSC looks at the number of days and meals the child receives with each parent and determines that K lives with Ms. B at least 50% of the time and is not active on another SNAP case. K is included in Mrs. B's SNAP household. K is with her father for a half day on Saturday and receives lunch and dinner with him. On Sunday, K's father provides her with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Monday through Saturday morning, K is with her mother where she is provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Temporary Absence from the Home

A child in a TANF cash/SNAP case who does not live in the home is not eligible to be in the SNAP household, regardless of their eligibility for TANF. This includes children removed from the home by DCFS. The length of the absence is not a factor.

Example 1: Ms. J and her daughter C are one SNAP household. Ms. J reports that C is going to visit her father during the summer, but will return home in the fall for school. The HSC leaves the child on TANF, but removes C from Ms. J's SNAP household. C may be added back to the SNAP household when she returns home if all other eligibility requirements are met.

Example 2: M has a TANF/SNAP case  for herself and her 2 daughters. DCFS sends Notice of Foster Care Placement (CFS 1868) notifying the local office that one child has been removed from the home. The absent child remains on the TANF case, but is no longer eligible to remain in M's SNAP household. See WAG 04-1-08-a.

Same Sex Marriages and Civil Unions

  • Same sex marriages are considered the same as opposite sex marriages. Do not grant separate SNAP household status, even if food is bought and prepared separately. new manual textPartners in same sex marriages are considered to be the parent of the child the same as opposite sex marriages.  
    • Example: Mr. B and Mr. J are applying for SNAP benefits. Mr. B states that he is married to Mr. J. Consider Mr. B and Mr. J as a married couple and one SNAP household, even if food is bought and prepared separately.
  • Couples who are in a civil union are not considered spouses and may be granted separate SNAP household status, if food is bought and prepared separately.
    • Example: Ms. T and Ms. L live together as civil union partners. Ms. T is applying for SNAP benefits and states she buys and prepares food separately from Ms. L. Grant Ms. T separate SNAP household status.
  • Consider a civil union partner as a parent if the child is born into the civil union. Accept the customer's statement. 
    • Example 1: Ms. J and Ms. M are in a civil union. They are applying for SNAP benefits for themselves and Ms. J's child born into the civil union. Ms. M buys and prepares food separately from both Ms. J and her child. Since the child was born into the civil union, consider as one SNAP household, even if food is bought and prepared separately.
    • Example 2: Ms. K and her child are receiving SNAP benefits. Ms. K enters into a civil union with Ms. B but claims that she and her daughter buy and prepare meals separately. Since the child was not born into the civil union, Ms. K and her child may be a separate SNAP household from Ms. D.