Can I Receive Both Food Stamps & Social Security Disability?

by Lanae Carr ; Updated July 27, 2017

The federal food stamp program is available to low-income families seeking alternative ways to buy food. If you are receiving Social Security disability, you can apply to receive food stamps as long as you meet the minimum program requirements. Social Security disability payments are considered a source of income on your food stamp application.

Social Security Disability

Your eligibility for Social Security disability is separate from the food stamp application process. In order to qualify for Social Security disability, you must have documentation of a medical disability and cannot work for at least a year. Applicants with terminal illnesses are also eligible for Social Security benefits. Social Security disability is not centered on income, but applicants often have low income due to their inability to work.

Income Limits

If your Social Security benefits are lower than the maximum income allowed for food stamp applicants, you can apply to receive food stamp aid. As of 2015, your net income must equal the national poverty line and your gross income must be 130 percent of the national poverty line or less. If your household includes a senior citizen or someone who receives some forms of disability, the household must meet only the net income test. Net income is the amount you receive in Social Security income after taxes are applied. If your benefits are not taxed, only your gross income is tested. The more people in your household, the more you can earn and still qualify for food stamps.

Household Member Requirements

Unfortunately, your Social Security disability alone doesn’t determine whether you receive food stamps. The combined income of your household is used to determine whether your income meets the gross and net income tests. A household is defined as anyone who shares meals and expenses. Each household member over the age of 18 must submit income verification information along with your food stamp application. Documentation in the form of pay stubs or tax returns, if the person is self employed, is required.


Receiving Social Security disability and food stamps is possible in all states except California. The state of California prevents Social Security income recipients from applying for food stamps because the state provides a food stamp alternative for residents receiving SSI. Most certification periods last between two months and 12 months, but people over the age of 60 or who are legally disabled can apply for an extended certification period. If you receive Social Security disability, you can receive food stamps for up to 24 months.

About the Author

Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.