Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Manual

1115.035.25.05 Allowable Shelter Costs

IM-139 December 28, 2021; IM-102 September 1, 2005; IM-111 October 22, 2004; IM-125 September 19, 2003IM-174 September 21, 2001

Shelter costs are as incurred or as billed rather than as paid. Shelter costs do not include penalty fees (late payment charges on rent, mortgages, property insurance, and/or property taxes). Money paid to the household by individuals outside the household for shelter costs are considered income to the household and are allowable shelter deductions.

If more than one SNAP household, including individuals in DMH apartment placements, lives in one apartment and more than one household pays the rent, each SNAP household is entitled to a prorated share of the rent.

Shelter costs consist of the costs of the following. The expense type is listed in parenthesis.

  • Rent (RT) and house payments (HP) are allowable costs. Include in shelter costs the continuing expense of the dwelling (including mobile home and lot rent) occupied by the household. Such costs are rent, mortgage, or other charges leading to the ownership of the dwelling, including interest on such shelter costs
  • Allow the entire amount of condominium or association fees (CF) as a shelter expense.
  • Include property taxes (TX), state and local assessments. Allow personal property tax on a mobile home as a shelter expense.
  • Insurance on the structure (IN) itself is an allowable shelter expense.
  • Utilities for heating and cooking fuel (GA, KE, OL), electricity (EL), water (WA) and sewer (SE), trash collection (TR), and telephone (PH) are a deductible shelter cost. (Refer to the Mandatory Utility Standards section.)
  • Repairs to a home damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster and corresponding shelter expenses are allowable expenses, under certain circumstances. Shelter expenses include charges for the repair of a home substantially damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood. Enter expenses for repairs of a home damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster on the Shelter Expense (FMXK) screen. The expense type codes are for vacated home – including actual utilities (VA), vacated home – no utilities (VH), and vacated home – including the non-heating/cooling standard (VS).
  • Initial installation fees charged by the utility provider (UI) are allowable expenses. One time deposits (which are separate from installation fees and are generally refundable) are not considered a utility cost.
  • The costs of wood (WD) if the household purchases wood for heating or cooking are allowable costs. The costs of cutting wood (such as cutting permits, gas for chain saw, and equipment such as a chain saw) are not allowable shelter costs.
  • For homeless households, the cost for shelter all or part of the month is a shelter expense. Use the appropriate type code for the type of expense a homeless household incurs.

Shelter costs do not consist of:

  • Amounts carried forward from past billing periods even if included with the most recent billing and actually paid by the household.
  • Separate costs for insuring furniture or personal belongings.
  • Charges for repairs to the home that have been or will be reimbursed by private or public relief agencies, insurance companies, or any other source.
  • Shelter costs paid directly to the provider by vendors or others outside the household. Vendor payments are not considered incurred by the household and are not deductible.
  • Personal property tax is not an allowable shelter cost unless paid on a mobile home occupied by the household.