How Much Does SNAP Pay?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps feed more than 45 million Americans. In 2020 alone, the U.S. Government spent over $85 billion on SNAP benefits. It’s safe to say that there is a lot of money out there going to pay for food assistance.

The amount of money you can get from SNAP depends on your income and the size of your family. In this post, you will learn about the different factors that determine how much money you can get in SNAP aid.

For starters, SNAP expects families getting benefits to spend 30% of their net income on food. It’s important to know the difference between net and gross income.

Top Factors That Affect SNAP Benefit Amounts

Gross Income

This is the total household income before any of the program’s expenses are added. For a family of three, the poverty line used to determine SNAP benefits in 2021 is $1,810 a month. So for example, 130% of the poverty line for a family of three is $2,353 a month, or about $28,200 a year.

Net Income

Net income is the amount of income left over after expenses are applied. Net income must be at or below the poverty line.

SNAP counts cash income from any source, including any you made from work. They also count other forms of income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and child support.

Families with no income receive the maximum amount of SNAP benefits. Let’s go over another important part in finding out how much SNAP pays — deductions.


Deductions are an important part of figuring out how much you get from SNAP.

  • Standard — The cost of essential items (clothing, utility bills, transportation)
  • Earnings — Up to 20% of your job earnings
  • Child Support — If you or a family member are required by law to pay child support
  • Medical Expenses — any money you spend out of pocket on medical treatment for someone elderly or disabled qualifies.

All households can receive the standard deduction. Over 70% of SNAP households claim the shelter deduction, while 30% claim the earnings deduction.

Average Benefit Amounts

On average, families receiving SNAP benefits received $246 per month in 2020. The average individual receiving SNAP benefits received $125 per month.

Families of three that had no income received $535 per month.


Assets must be under a certain dollar amount when determining SNAP benefits. Families that don’t have a member who is over 60 years old or disabled must have assets under $2,250.

For families with someone over age 60 or disabled, their assets can’t be over $3,500.

To learn more about the average breakdown of SNAP benefits for all family sizes, visit this guide.