How Do You Know Who Is Considered Part of Your Household?

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
January 11, 2016

Monthly allotment and eligibility are partially determined by the size of the household. Understanding how to determine the size of your household is essential to understanding your eligibility. Different programs define households differently. However, SNAP defines a household as all individuals that live together in one residence and purchase or prepare meals together.

This means that there may be people physically living in your household, but they are not part of your household for the purpose of eligibility. For example, if you have an adult child over the age of 22 that lives in your home but purchases and prepares their own food, they would not be considered part of your household.

Another example would be if you are renting out a room in your home, and the tenant buys and prepares their own meals, that person would not be considered part of your household. However, it is important to remember that any rent you receive from people living in your home does have to be counted towards your total income.

There are a couple exceptions to the household definition for eligibility. The first exception is a family with children under the age of 22. Children under the age of 22 are considered part of the household regardless of whether or not they purchase or prepare food. There is an expectation that dependent children will not be part of the purchasing or preparing process.

The second exception applies to households that include elderly or disabled individuals, who are unable to purchase and prepare meals themselves. If the family they live with purchases and prepares meals for them, they are still included as part of the official household.

You may have an elderly parent living with you who buys and prepares their food separately. In that situation, the elderly parent would not be part of the household. However, if the elderly parent did help purchase and prepare food, they would be considered part of the household.

The household definition for SNAP is different from other programs like Medicaid in that it doesn’t matter whether the people in your household are claimed as dependents on your taxes. You may have another friend or relative living with you that may be counted as part of your household.

Regardless of whom you claim as part of your household, you will need to provide documentation showing that all the members of your household are physically living with you. You will also need to provide documentation of all income coming into the house. So, if you have an older child, parent, or relatively living with you and buying and preparing meals with you, their income has to be counted towards the total household income.

Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
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