Effective Oct. 1, 2017, the local food stamp program, administered by the Nutrition Assistance Program office, increased its income eligibility standards by 14 percent.
The income eligibility standards, commonly referred to as the “income guidelines” or “income brackets,” are the gross monthly income thresholds used by NAP in determining if a household is eligible for food stamp assistance.
For example, the prior rule allowed a household of four to be eligible for food stamp assistance if it has monthly gross earnings of $1,277. NAP has now increased that to income threshold for fiscal year 2018 to $1,451 a month.
The income eligibility standards are the approved guideline used to compare against a household’s gross monthly income from any source such as wages, social security pensions, retirement pensions, rental income, monetary contribution, child support payments, etc., and whether such income does not exceed the income limits for eligibility.
The income determination is based on gross, and not net income, which means the amount sought for eligibility is the amount before taxes and other deductions.
The income eligibility standards for fiscal year 2018 is now as follows:
Recipients of Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration are exempted from the income eligibility standards. SSI recipients who apply for NAP assistance are automatically eligible and shall receive the approved fiscal year 2018 minimum allotments based on the location the recipient is residing. Each SSI recipient shall receive a minimum allotment of $38 on Rota, $32 on Tinian, and $29 on Saipan.
In addition to the income eligibility standards, NAP also determines eligibility from two other criteria: the resources eligibility standards and the citizenship/alien status requirement. Generally, these three criteria have to be met in order to qualify for nutrition assistance.
Resources basically applies to only “accessible” or “readily negotiable” liquid assets at the banks such as savings, checking accounts, time certificate of deposits, savings bonds, other negotiable instruments and cash on hand.
The resources eligibility was increased 13 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for fiscal year 2018. A household’s combined resources must not exceed the resources eligibility standards to qualify for NAP assistance.
In addition, participants shall be verified to be one of the following to meet the citizenship or alien status requirement: U. S. citizen; U.S. national; an alien granted asylum under section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act; a refugee who is admitted to the United States under section 207 of such Act; certain aliens whose deportation is being withheld under section 243 (h) of such Act; and lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act, provided five years elapsed since the aliens’ entry into the United States.
Despite the increases to the income and resources eligibility standards, the maximum monthly benefit allotments have been reduced in fiscal year 2018.
The maximum monthly benefit allotments for Rota/Northern Islands have been reduced by 6 percent, for Tinian 7 percent, and Saipan 8 percent.
For example, a household size of four on Rota was reduced from $957 to $897, on Tinian $804 to $744, and on Saipan $748 to $686.
Below is the maximum monthly benefit allotments for fiscal year 2018:
Applications are available at the Certification Unit on the ground floor of the NAP office at the JTV building in As Lito. Applications that have been filled out and signed may be submitted at the same office at the Certification Unit during office hours from 7:30am to 4:30pm.
For more information, contact the NAP Administration Office at 237-2842 or 237-2843. (PR)