SNAP Medical Expense Deductions: Are You Claiming Yours?

( – Are you receiving SNAP benefits? If you’re like many who qualify for the program, you may not be getting the maximum you can. To get the most out of your benefits, you should know how to ensure all your deductions are adequately reflected on your applications and updates. This isn’t cheating or doing anything deceptive — it’s using all the deductions you can find to ensure you get the most benefit.

The main thing people miss when it comes to deductions is the SNAP medical expense deduction.

What Is the SNAP Medical Expense Deduction?

When you apply for SNAP, the form asks for a lot of information. There are many considerations, including your household size, certain expenses, and your income. Necessary expenses get deducted from the income category before benefits are calculated. As you can guess, lower income makes you eligible for more benefits.

For some people, certain medical expenses are also factor in. However, many don’t know this and end up not claiming this important deductions. This results in less SNAP money than you’d otherwise get — and you deserve that money! Only 5 percent of SNAP beneficiary households claim the medical expense deduction.

Can You Take the SNAP Medical Expense Deduction?

Not every SNAP beneficiary can deduct medical expenses. You have to be eligible, which means being 60 years of age or older, receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or disability benefits. Otherwise, you might be qualified if you get an annuity per the Railroad Retirement Act and have Medicare eligibility. Permanently homebound veterans or veterans who get a permanent, total disability award or aid and attendance payments may also be able to deduct medical expenses, as may their surviving spouses. This also applies to children of veterans who were permanently disabled.

Note that only the disabled or elderly person in question can claim the medical deduction. Other household medical expenses don’t qualify, and those medical expenses must total at least $35 per month.

What Medical Expenses Count For the Deduction?

The following medical expenses count towards the SNAP Medical Expense Deduction:

  • Prescription drug copays
  • Fees paid to dentists and doctors
  • Outpatient or inpatient hospital treatments
  • Nursing care (at home or in a facility)
  • Medicare premiums
  • Dentures, prosthetics, hearing aids, and eyeglasses
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Service animal fees such as dog food, vet bills, and training — this only applies to service animals, not emotional support animals or pets
  • Wages of extra help required to maintain the home
  • Transportation to receive medical treatment

Marijuana and food do not qualify, even if the doctor prescribes them. Plus, deductions do differ from state to state, so make sure you check the qualifications for your individual state.

How Can You Claim the Deduction?

If you’re able to claim the deduction, you can claim the amount you pay each month for that month’s ongoing expenses. One-time expenses can be deducted when they occur or you can spread them through the recertification period. Your caseworker can help you make choices about how and when to apply medical deductions for SNAP benefits, as methods vary.

Make sure to stay legal: keep all of your receipts and expenses so you can prove the legitimacy of each medical expense. Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll get challenged on the expenses you’ve claimed.

If your deduction is denied, you can request a hearing but you must do so within 15 days of being denied. If you lose your appeal, you might have to pay some money back. If the medical expense is significant enough, it may be worth it to hire a lawyer and appeal.

With some careful recordkeeping, a SNAP medical deduction could make a big difference in the amount of benefits you receive.

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