Home » Common Cents » Currently Reading:

SNAP Provides Food Assistance to Granite Staters with Disabilities

June 21, 2017 Common Cents

New Hampshire’s Food Stamp Program provides financial assistance to low-income people specifically for food purchases. The program is also known by the title of the federal program which provides the funding for all benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Although the administrative costs of the SNAP program are split with the State, federal funds (totaling about $120 million to New Hampshire in federal fiscal year 2016) pay for the actual costs of the subsidy. The benefits are provided on a sliding scale based on a measure of household income and may only be used to purchase food items intended for human consumption and use.

During January 2017 in New Hampshire, SNAP provided support for food purchases to approximately seven percent of the state’s population. About 40.5 percent of all recipients, or 38,053 individuals, were children. The maximum benefit is $1.83 per person per meal for an eligible household of three with no net income (a measure of income that accounts for certain expenses), and benefits decline as net income increases. As net income for an eligible household of three rises beyond $20,160, benefits disappear. For more on New Hampshire’s Food Stamp Program, see NHFPI’s Fact Sheet.

graph with numbers of adults and children

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) highlights the importance of SNAP for people living with disabilities. Those with disabilities, either life-long disabilities or those who have acquired disabilities through accidents or other events, are more likely to have lower incomes, live in poverty, and experience food insecurity. According to one working paper highlighted in the report, a person with severe and chronic disability experiences an average earnings drop of 76 percent in ten years after the onset of the disability relative to five years before its onset, and both family income and food and housing consumption drop about 25 percent. Families with children who have disabilities are especially susceptible to food insecurity, with these families being an estimated 89 percent likelier than families with children who do not have disabilities to cut or skip meals due to a lack of money. People with disabilities may also face higher costs, and not just lower income, associated with their disabilities, including higher costs for health care, personal assistance services or technology, housing, or transportation. SNAP’s income- and asset-dependent eligibility tests mean that SNAP may provide support for people with disabilities after the onset of financial hardships but before the application and vetting processes for programs designed to target assistance to those with disabilities have been completed.

SNAP identifies benefit recipients as those with disabilities if they are under 60 years old and receive certain benefits from other government programs for those with disabilities or have some other indirect indicator of a disability. By this metric, the CBPP analysis found New Hampshire had the highest share of any state of households receiving SNAP benefits and including non-elderly members with disabilities, at 41 percent. The figure for the United States as a whole (including New Hampshire) was 20 percent. Although this metric is narrower than certain others and does not capture many of those who are not receiving benefits from other programs, it shows New Hampshire has a higher percentage than any other state of non-elderly people who have enrolled for SNAP and still fall below the net income threshold ($20,160 for a family of three). This suggests those with recognized disabilities in SNAP still rely on those benefits, perhaps even disproportionately so relative to other states. An important caveat in the program that aids this population: SNAP only applies the net income threshold, not the gross income threshold, to those with disabilities, which permits provision of benefits to continue even with higher housing and other costs.

New Hampshire’s demographics may also spur additional use of SNAP. People with disabilities are more likely to be in poverty regardless of age, and disabilities are more prevalent among older adults. The New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning projects New Hampshire, with a current total population of about 1.33 million, will have approximately 230,200 more people over aged 65 years and older in 2040 relative to 2010, and approximately 60,300 aged 85 years and older in 2040 than in 2010. These projections suggest that more people with disabilities, as older adults are more likely to have disabilities, may use SNAP to support their daily nutrition.

For more on SNAP and its role in assisting those with disabilities, see CBPP’s June 2017 report, SNAP Provides Needed Food Assistance to Millions of People with Disabilities.



SNAP Provides Food Assistance to Granite Staters with Disabilities (PDF)



Connect with NHFPI

Common Cents Blog

New Data Show Food Insecurity Levels Declining Prior to the COVID-19 Crisis

10 Sep 2020

tree with coins

According to data released on September 9 by the United States Department of Agriculture, food insecurity levels in New Hampshire continued to decline during 2019, prior to the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The report outlines the trends of reduced food insecurity in the nation and in New Hampshire, declining from the higher levels resulting from the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. The overall improvements to the state economy through 2019, along with the effectiveness of key nutritional aid programs, did contribute to lower levels of food insecurity, although the benefits of the economic recovery did not reach all Granite Staters in an equal or timely manner. Although food insecurity levels declined through the years preceding 2020, the current crisis facing Granite Staters is not reflected in these 2019 data. The recent economic pressures on many individuals and families with lower incomes in New Hampshire have been severe, and current levels of food insecurity are very likely to be substantially higher.