Can I Get Food Stamps If I Am Under 18?

by Brooke Julia ; Updated July 27, 2017

Anyone suffering from a lack of adequate nutrition is eligible to apply for food stamp benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Age doesn't matter. If you're under 18 and living alone, you have the right to apply for food stamps. The food stamp program, renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2008, was designed to provide needy people with the means to provide themselves with food.

Living Alone

Households with only one member can get as much as $200 a month in food stamp benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This means no matter your age or whether or not you have dependents, you can get up to this amount in food stamp benefits as long as your income qualifies.

College Students

Special rules apply to college students interested in applying for food stamps, according to United Way of Connecticut. If you're under 18 and attending post-secondary school, whether it's a four-year college or a vocational school, you automatically qualify for benefits. The work requirement of being employed at least 20 hours a week, which applies to most students, won't apply to you until you reach 18.


Children under 18 who are born to legal immigrants in the United States qualify for food stamp benefits without a waiting period, according to the Social Security Administration. Most immigrants must complete a five-year residency period before they're eligible to apply for benefits, but immigrant children under 18 are immediately eligible.

Not in College

If you're under 18 and not attending college, you may have to fulfill work requirements, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All able-bodied adults between the ages of 16 and 60 must register for work and accept offered employment. This rule can be waived by the state if you live in an area where the labor force is greater than the available work.

About the Author

Brooke Julia has been a writer since 2009. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including "She" and "Hagerstown Magazine," as well as national magazines, including "Pregnancy & Newborn" and "Fit Pregnancy."