Food stamp eligibility is complicated, and the rules change often. This page is a good starting point, but the best way to find out if you’re eligible for food stamps is to apply for them.
If you have a general question that we haven’t answered here, let us know.
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- Household size: How many people you live and buy/make food with.
- Income: How much money your household makes. This includes both earned income (the money you make from jobs) and unearned income (cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support, etc.).
- Assets: How much you have in the bank, not including retirement savings or your most recent tax returns. Some states also include real estate, trusts, investments, and vehicles as assets.
Anyone you live and buy/make food with counts a member of your household.
You may live with people who don’t count as household members, like tenants who are renting a room, or adult children (22+) who buy/make their own food.
Children (under 22) always count as household members, even if they buy/make their own food.
Elderly (60+) and disabled people count as household members if you buy/make food for them, or you buy/make food together. If they live with you but buy/make food separately, they do not count as household members.
Use the chart below to find out whether your household makes less than the gross monthly income limit.
Net income factors in deductions and taxes, which is a complicated process. So, if your household income is under the gross limit, you should apply to figure out whether it’s within the net limit.
Effective from October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020.
|Household size||Gross monthly income limit*||Net monthly income limit||Max benefit|
|Each additional member||➕ $682||➕ $360||➕ $146|
* If your household includes an elderly (60+) or disabled person, a higher gross income might still qualify.
Yes, as long as you aren’t leaving a job or reducing your hours specifically so that you’ll qualify.
If you’re elderly (60+), disabled, live with a child under 18, or pregnant, you don’t have to have a job to get food stamps.
If you’re 18 - 49 years old and don’t have children or disabilities, you are what the government calls an ABAWD (an Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents).
Many unemployed ABAWDs can only get food stamps for 3 months every 3 years unless they work or train for at least 80 hours/month.
Maine has these ABAWD requirements at the moment, but this could change.
Call your local office or the Maine SNAP hotline to double check: 1-800-442-6003.
Non-citizens who have qualified alien immigration status are eligible for food stamps.
Qualified aliens include refugees, victims of trafficking, Cuban and Haitian immigrants, Iraqi and Afghan immigrants with special status, and more.
Once your child is born, your household size will increase. More household members = more benefits.
While you are pregnant, you can’t get more food stamps, but you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.
WIC provides food and resources for pregnant women, new parents, and children up to 5 years old.