Nutrition Assistance (NA) is for people who can’t afford to pay for all of their food. When you apply for Nutrition Assistance, you will need to give details about how much money everyone in your household (also called budgetary unit) has. If you have more money than the program allows, you won't qualify for Nutrition Assistance. The rules may be different depending on your circumstances, including whether you (or someone in your household) has a disability or is elderly (60 or older). This article will focus on the program rules for people with disabilities.
If you have a disability or are elderly, the state will look at your income, resources and household composition to figure out if you are eligible for Nutrition Assistance. After deductions for income tax, shelter and medical expenses, your income must be less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) for your household size, which means $990 per month for an individual, $1,335 per month for a couple, and an additional $345 for each additional household member.
The Arizona Self-Help website provides an online tool to let you estimate whether you might be eligible for NA, and what your benefits might be.
Some households don’t have to worry about Nutrition Assistance’s income limits. For example, if everyone in your household is on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you qualify for Nutrition Assistance.
Resources are things you own, like a car, home, or money in the bank. In general, the resource limit for persons with disabilities is $3,250, although some people with disabilities have categorical eligibility for NA and then their resources are not counted. If you have questions about this, you can use Arizona Self-Help's online screening tool to estimate your eligibility and benefts, or you can call the Family Assistance Administration (FAA) at 602-542-9935 or 1-800-352-8401.
Note: If your disability began before you turned 26, you can open an ABLE account where you can save up to $14,000 each year and not have it counted by Nutrition Assistance. Learn more about ABLE accounts.
Nutrition Assistance has a list of how much money they think households need to spend on food each month. This amount depends on how many people are in your household:
|People in your household||Amount to spend on food each month|
|For each additional person over 8...||Add $146|
If you have no monthly net income (gross income minus certain deductions), the amounts shown in the table above are what you’ll get each month from Nutrition Assistance.
If you do have net income, Nutrition Assistance expects you to spend 30% of your net income on food. Nutrition Assistance will give you the amount listed in the table above, minus the 30% they expect you to spend.
Tim lives alone and gets income from Social Security benefits and work. His net income is $500. After he deducts his medical expenses and shelter allowance, the calculation would look like this:
|Maxiumum benefit amount from the table||$194|
|Minus (0.3 x $500)||-|
|Tim's Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) food benefit|
The minimum Nutrition Assistance benefit for households of 1 or 2 people is $16 per month. The exception to the general rule is the initial or application month. When the benefit is less than $16, it must be paid when the amount is $10-$16. When the benefit is less than $10, it will not be paid.