Social Security’s 8.7% increase could effect eligibility for SNAP households in Hawaiʻi : Big Island Now

January 2, 2023, 3:04 PM HST

This month, households receiving Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income will begin receiving a benefit increase of 8.7% due to cost-of-living adjustments. It’s the largest increase in more than 40 years.

The average retiree benefit is increasing by $146 per month, to $1,827. The average disability benefit is going up by $119 per month, to $1,483.

But for some people, the benefit increases will impact eligibility and benefit amounts for SNAP, the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

SNAP eligibility and benefit amounts are based on income limits set by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Nutrition Services.

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If you are concerned the cost-of-living adjustments will impact your SNAP benefits, or have received a notice that they will, call the Public Assistance Toll Free Information Line at 1-855-643-1643. Do not try to determine eligibility on your own.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Human Services said it is helpful to share information about your monthly expenses – such as rent and medical expenses. Seniors age 60 or over, or people with disabilities, can report medical expenses.

Examples of expenses that may be reported include:

  • Clean
  • Mortgage and/or 2n.d Mortgage
  • Property Tax Assessments
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Garbage, Sewer, Trash Collection Fees
  • Utilities (electric, gas, water, telephone) and Utility Installation Fees
  • Car Payment and Care Insurance (if car is used as a home)
  • Boat Slip (if boat is used as a home)
  • Alimony/Child Support Expenses
  • Dependent Care Expenses (eg, Child Care, or care for a disabled adult)
  • Medical Expenses for household members who are disabled or age 60 and older, such as:
    • Medicare premiums
    • Health and hospitalization insurance premiums
    • Prescription drugs
    • Doctor and dental bills
    • Medical transportation costs
    • Glasses, dentures, and hearing aids
    • Nurse or attendance care worker services
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If you have questions about SNAP or Department of Human Services benefits, visit https://pais.dhs.hawaii.gov. At this website, you may apply for benefits online, view information about your case, or learn more about DHS financial assistance, SNAP and child care programs.

In addition, DHS contracts with the following seven SNAP Outreach providers statewide to provide information and provide basic assistance with SNAP applications:

  • Statewide: Aloha United Way, Phone: 211
  • Kauaʻi: ​​Child & Family Services, 808-245-5914
  • Big Island: The Food Basket, 808-933-6030 (Hilo) and 808-322-1418 (Kona).

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