How will the government determine if I’m eligible for food stamps?

Some background about this question:

  • The food stamp program (the program's new name is SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is funded by the federal government and operated by state and local welfare offices.
  • Food stamps help low-income people buy food.
    • The money is put on an EBT card, which can be used like an ATM or debit card at grocery stores.
To get food stamp benefits, your income and other resources must be under certain limits.
  • INCOME: There are two income limits used to determine eligibility for food stamps, gross income and net income.
    • Most households must meet both income limits.
    • If your household has a person who is 60 or older or who is disabled, you only need to meet the net income limit.
    • If everyone in your household receives SSI or TANF, you do not need to meet any income limit.
  • RESOURCES: Your resources are things like bank accounts.
    • Most households may have up to $2,000 in resources and still qualify.
    • If your household has a person who is 60 or older or disabled, you may have up to $3,000 in resources.
    • The resources of people who receive TANF or SSI do not count.
    • Your home does not count.
    • In some States, at least one car does not count.
  • To see if you might be able to get food stamps, visit  Answer the questions.  You will find out if you might be eligible and how much you could receive (as your income goes up, your food stamp benefits go down).  But to know for sure, you must apply.1


  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service []

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