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7 Fatal Food Stamps Mistakes to Avoid

7 Fatal Food Stamps Mistakes to Avoid

Are you making these fatal food stamps mistakes?! If so, you could be losing out on benefits! 


Mistake #1: Not accepting the minimum amount

Over the years, I’ve heard from hundreds of people – maybe even thousands – who have said that they would rather not get food stamps at all than get the minimum amount. For some reason, they feel insulted when the office offers them $16 per month and just decline to participate altogether. 

Now, $16 isn’t a lot. That’s true. But during the pandemic, many states boosted everyone to the max benefit. The people who usually received $16 per month suddenly started receiving over $200 per month! The people who refused their benefits got… nothing. 


Refusing the minimum amount is one of the biggest food stamps mistakes you can make! It’s not just about increases – and that’s what we’re going to discuss next. 

Mistake #2: Not participating in other benefits that you may be eligible for. 

There are SO many programs out there that offer additional benefits to people on food stamps. You could get a free cell phone, discounted internet, free museum admission and so much more, just by having a food stamps card! 


We have a list of over 600 freebies and deals that you can get with an EBT card, so be sure to check out this list. 

Mistake #3: Not getting cash back. 

It’s true – it’s easy and legal to get cash back with food stamps when you shop with Ibotta or another rewarded shopping app. Personally, I love Ibotta. But when you shop with food stamps and use the Ibotta app, you can get cash back that you can use for other essentials that food stamps can’t buy – things like diapers, toilet paper and other things you need. Try it today!

Mistake #4: Not making meal plans. 

Nobody ever complains about getting too much money in food stamps, but we’ve heard from hundreds of thousands of people who aren’t getting enough. Sometimes, the food stamps they receive are barely enough to cover a meal or two. 

Making meal plans can help you stretch your food stamps dollars. I rely on meal plans to feed my family of 7. I like to plan a month at a time, and focus on meals that incorporate similar ingredients so that I can save money by buying in bulk. For more information about this, visit our guide on how to save money on groceries

Mistake #5: Not reporting expenses properly. 

If you aren’t reporting your expenses properly, you may be losing money. That’s one of the most common food stamps mistakes!

When the food stamps office decides how much you qualify for, they use an algorithm that factors in your income and your expenses. Expenses like housing, utilities, and sometimes even medical bills can offset your income and help you qualify for more food stamps money. Here’s how to get more food stamps.

Mistake #6: Not reporting income properly. 

If you haven’t reported your income recently, you may also be losing money. If your income drops, or you aren’t scheduled for as many hours, or you had sick days, then you may qualify for more food stamps. You are supposed to report any income changes to the food stamps office so they can update your food stamps amount accordingly… but many people forget. Don’t forget. These basic food stamps mistakes can cost you lots of money!


girl shops with food stamps because her mom avoid food stamps mistakes

Mistake #7: Not renewing your paperwork. 

The recertification process can be annoying but it’s important. You need to make sure you complete the renewal process so that you don’t accidentally lose your food stamps. Of course, if you are a senior or disabled person, you may be able to use an ESAP application that lets you avoid some of the tedious recertification work.

For more information about how you can make the most of your food stamps benefits, be sure to check out our EBT guide at!


Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today,,, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.