Claiming Medical Expenses


Did you know that seniors (age 60 and older) and individuals with disabilities can claim medical expenses when applying for SNAP? Unreimbursed, out-of-pocket medical expenses over $35 per month can be claimed, and there is no cap on the amount of medical expenses that can be claimed. Claiming these expenses can potentially increase the amount of SNAP benefits a household receives each month.


Households with seniors and/or individuals with disabilities often have higher than average healthcare costs and sometimes face the difficult choice of buying food or medicine—a situation that places these households at greater risk of food insecurity. Unfortunately, few eligible SNAP households claim medical expenses. In 2012, only 13% of North Carolina SNAP households with a senior or a person with a disability claimed medical expenses (1). In our conversations with people across the state, the More In My Basket team often finds that people are not aware they can claim medical expenses. We will continue to raise awareness about this important option.


Examples of medical expenses that can be claimed

  • Prescription and over-the counter medications
  • Insurance premiums, Medicare premiums, Medicaid cost-sharing expenses
  • Dentures, hearing aids, prescription eyeglasses, prosthetics
  • Transportation and lodging costs to obtain medical treatment and services
  • Service animal expenses, including food and veterinarian bills
  • Hospitalization, outpatient care, dental care, nursing care, psychotherapy
  • The above list is not an exhaustive list of eligible medical expenses. Ask your county DSS office about claiming other medical expenses.


If you would like assistance completing the SNAP application, please call 1-855-240-1451. For assistance in Spanish, please call 1-888-382-7105.


(1) Jones T. (2014) SNAP’s Excess Medical Expense Deduction: Targeting Food Assistance to Low-Income Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities. Retrieved from