Skip to Content

How Much Can a Disabled Person Get in Food Stamps?

How Much Can a Disabled Person Get in Food Stamps?

When my husband became too disabled to work, I had a lot of questions. One of those questions was, “How much can a disabled person get in food stamps?”

After all, I had applied for food stamps before and I’d seen the little square on our applications that asked if anyone in our household was elderly or disabled. Now that my husband was officially declared disabled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, would that help us get more food money?!

While this is a completely understandable question, it turns out the answer is a bit complicated. If you are disabled, you can take advantage of special rules that help you get more food stamps per month. The amount you receive will still depend on your income and household size.

In this article, we’ll break down who is considered disabled by the food stamps office and how you can take advantage of the special options available to people with disabilities.

Who is considered disabled by food stamps?

Even though the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) is administered by the states, it’s the federal United States Department of Agriculture that sets most of the guidelines and rules.

According to the USDA, there are many ways that you can be determined to be disabled. You only have to meet one of the following criteria in order to qualify:

  • You receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • You receive Social Security Disability or blindness payments.
  • You receive ANY federal disability or blindness payments under the Social Security Act.
  • You receive state disability or blindness payments based on SSI rules.
  • You receive a disability retirement from a government agency based on a permanent disability.
  • You receive annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act AND are eligible for Medicare or meet the SSI definition of disability.
  • You are a veteran who is 100% disabled, permanently homebound, or in need of Aid & Attendance.
  • You are the surviving spouse of an eligible veteran.
  • You are the child of a veteran who is receiving VA benefits and is considered permanently disabled.

If any one of those criteria applies to you, then you may be considered disabled by the USDA and therefore eligible for their special disability rules.

How much can a disabled person get in food stamps?

The amount of food stamps you receive will depend on your household size and income level. Food benefits are called “allotments” and they are carefully calculated based on your income, expenses, and number of people who live and prepare meals with you.

Even people who are disabled cannot exceed the maximum monthly allotment. That’s the most you could possibly receive for your household size. Your disability may help you qualify for more than you ordinarily would, but your allotment will not exceed the maximum.

As of 2023, the maximum allotments are as follows:

People in HouseholdMax Monthly Allotment
1$281
2$516
3$740
4$939
5$1,116
6$1,339
7$1,480
8$1,691
Each Additional Person+$211
source: USDA.gov

How can a disabled person get more food stamps?

Living with a disability can be both difficult and expensive. In addition to normal household expenses, you may have significantly higher than normal costs for health care, medications, mobility aids, service animal costs, and more.

The USDA recognizes that, so they have special rules for elderly and disabled people that can help you qualify for more benefits that you would normally receive with your income and expenses.

In order to get the most benefits possible, you need to understand the rules and how they apply to your case. Let’s go over the most important ones to help you navigate those benefits.

Disabled people may qualify as their own household.

A SNAP household is defined as the people who live together AND store and prepare food together. If there are people who live with you but don’t share food with you, then they should not count as part of your SNAP household.

Some people will always be included in your SNAP household by default. These include your spouse and biological children who are under the age of 22.

However, in many cases, seniors and disabled people don’t have to count everyone who lives with them in their SNAP household. These rules are intended to reduce the amount of income that counts against you, so that you can receive more benefits.

For example, let’s consider the case of Sarah and Samuel. They are permanently disabled, so they are unable to purchase and prepare meals separately from the rest of their family. However, the USDA’s special rules state that they can be their own SNAP household as long as the others they live with don’t make a lot of money.

According to the current USDA guidelines, “The person and the person’s spouse may be a separate SNAP household if the others they live with do not have very much income (no more than 165 percent of the federal poverty level).”

Typically, residents of institutions that provide meals are not eligible for SNAP but the special rules also state that disabled residents of nonprofit group homes with less than 16 residents can still be eligible for food benefits even if the group home provides meals.

Disabled people are allowed to have more resources.

Typically, households cannot receive food stamps if they have more than $2,750 in cash or bank accounts. Those funds are considered countable assets, and the USDA insists that money should be used for food.

However, disabled households can have up to $4,250 in countable assets and still qualify for food stamps. That’s because the USDA recognizes that disabled households often have higher expenses and need a larger safety net for non-food items.

The amount of assets you have will determine your eligibility but have no impact on how much a disabled person gets in food stamps.

Disabled people don’t have to meet the gross income test.

Typically, households have to meet both a gross and net income test in order to qualify for food stamps. If either test is failed, then the household cannot receive benefits.

However, households with a disabled person only have to pass the net income test. That means your gross income (or total income before eligible expenses) doesn’t matter. What matters is how much money you have left after the allowed expenses.

Allowed expenses include:

  • 20% deduction from earned income
  • $193 standard deduction for households of 1-4 people (higher for larger households)
  • Medical expenses that exceed $35 for the month
  • Excess shelter costs (or $166.81 for a homeless household)
  • Legally obligated child support payments (in some states)
  • Dependent care deductions (when needed)

To calculate your net income, the state office will start by adding up all of your total income. They’ll process each of the deductions in order to determine how much of your income actually counts against you for food stamps purposes.

In 2023, the net income limits are as follows:

Household SizeNet Monthly Income
1$1,133
2$1,526
3$1,920
4$2,313
5$2,706
6$3,100
7$3,493
8$3,886
Each Additional Member+$394
source: USDA.gov

If you have any doubt or question about whether or not you’ll meet the income limit, I encourage you to apply! It’s always hard to answer questions about how much a disabled person can get in food stamps because it depends on your income and the calculations used by the government are so complicated. When in doubt, apply and let them sort it out. The worst they can do is say no!

Disabled people don’t have to meet work requirements.

It should go without saying, but disabled people do not have to meet work requirements for food stamps. If every household member is either disabled or elderly, then your entire household will be exempt from those requirements.

FAQ about EBT with Disabilities

We’ve received a lot of questions about how food stamps work with disabilities, especially since the cost of food is rising rapidly. Here’s what you need to know.

Can disabled people get food stamps?

Yes! There are even special rules that can help disabled people get more food stamps than they would normally qualify for. These special rules are described in detail at LowIncomeRelief.com.

Can disabled people get extra food stamps?

Although it’s not possible to get more than the maximum allotment for your household size, there are special disability rules that can help you get more than you might otherwise qualify for.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.