Food stamp programs provide aid to American families in need. Not all needy families receive the same amount in food stamps. Food stamp agencies use your salary as a method of determining your level of need. In order to qualify for food stamps, both your assets and household income must not exceed the limits set forth by the program.
The amount a family or household receives in food stamp aid is called an allotment. This allotment is guaranteed over a set time frame called a certification period. The length of your certification period and size of your allotment is based on your income and family size. For example, a four-person household demonstrating a high level of need may receive a maximum benefit of $668 each month. Certification periods generally last anywhere from a few months up to a year. Following a household's certification period, applicants must submit new documents to verify their income.
Food stamp income limits are based on the national poverty level. Incomes are measured on both a gross and net scale. The amount you bring home after taxes is your net income, while gross income is the amount you receive before taxes. As of 2011, the maximum net income for a single-member household is $903 per month which, equates to $10,836 per year. The maximum gross income is $1,174 per month or $14,088 per year. A two-person household can have a maximum gross income of $1,579 and a net income of $1,215. The maximum gross income of a four-person household is $2,389, while the net income cannot exceed $1,838.
The combined income of everyone in your household is used to determine your food stamp eligibility. Each person over the age 18 must provide documentation in the form of check stubs to verify the income data you submit on your application. Self-employed household members must submit a copy of their most recent tax return along with the application. The case worker will take his gross salary and deduct any business expenses to obtain the yearly salary.
Anyone living in your home that shares expenses is considered to be one household. However, the income and countable resources of individuals over the age of 60 and anyone receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cannot be counted towards your household resources. Countable resources are bank accounts, investments, vehicles, child support and cash you have on hand. As of 2011, the maximum amount a household can have in countable resources is $2,000.