The SNAP Medical Deduction: Saving Money for Those in Need
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The SNAP Medical Deduction: Saving Money for Those in Need

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April 16, 2012 Learn More

Do you have clients who need food help and also have significant medical expenses not covered by Medicare/Medicaid? Your clients may be able to deduct those expenses when applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps). Here’s what you need to know:

How the medical deduction works

Your elderly (aged 60+) and disabled clients can deduct certain medical costs that are more than $35 a month if those costs are not paid by insurance (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid) or by someone outside the household.

There is no cap on medical deductions for the elderly and disabled. Allowable medical deductions include (and your clients must provide documentation):

  • Out-of-pocket medical and prescription drug costs (e.g., copayments, coinsurance, deductibles)
  • Medicare (or other insurance) premiums
  • Most dental care including dentures
  • Medically related expenses such as transportation

For more information on how deductions are calculated, consult the USDA Food and Nutrition Service handbook.

A medical deduction success story

Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP), a new Benefits Enrollment Center grantee, recently launched a Benefits Hotline program. Recently, an elderly couple contacted the hotline; the husband was suffering with cancer and the couple was incurring thousands of dollars in medical bills. The couple had been receiving $16 per month in SNAP benefits. They were frustrated and convinced the hassle of the recertification process was not worth the $16.

GLSP collected documentation of the couple’s medical expenses and forwarded them to the Georgia Department of Human Services/Food Stamp office. A caseworker immediately increased the food stamps allotment from $16 to $355 per month—that’s a savings of over $4,000 a year!

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