Answer: No. The sister does not have to have legal custody of her siblings to get food stamp (SNAP) benefits for her siblings. SNAP eligibility is based on a household, which is defined as people who purchase and prepare food together. Custody, guardianship, or similar relationships are not required. Even beyond that, in this situation the sister is exercising “parental control” over her younger siblings. That gives her even more right to obtain SNAP benefits on their behalf. (Note that when an unaccompanied youth is staying with someone temporarily, not purchasing or preparing food together, and not under that person’s “parental control”, the unaccompanied youth would apply for SNAP on her own, as a household of one.) The last page of this memo from USDA provides more information.
I’m working with a 21 year old who just took in her 5 siblings. She was denied food stamps for them because she doesn’t have legal custody of them. Is that what the law says?
Apr 26, 2019 | Q and A