Food Stamp Guidelines for the Self-Employed

Self-employment has its perks. Setting your own schedule, enjoying a host of tax write-offs and pursuing your career of choice are common benefits for self-employed people. However, self-employment means your income is not guaranteed. When experiencing financial hardship, consider applying for food stamp assistance until your income stabilizes.

Maximum Income

The federal food stamp program helps low-income families buy food. As of 2011, you are considered eligible for food stamps when your net income falls within 100 percent of the poverty level and your gross income falls below 130 percent of the poverty level. Your gross income is the amount you make before taxes and your net income is the amount you make after taxes.


In order to qualify for food stamps, you must prove your income with your case worker. Most employees have pay stubs, but as a business owner, you can present a copy of your tax return and recent bank statements. A case worker reviews your information to determine whether or not your income meets the current requirements of the program. Your case worker has the right to require additional income verification to ensure their calculations of your gross and net income are correct.


In addition to your income, the income of your household members is also considered on your food stamp application. Food stamps are granted to households, not individuals. Any household member over the age of 18 must submit income information to your case worker. If a person shares meals and buys food with you in your house, he is considered to be a member of your household. When calculating your income, factor in the income of other household members to determine your eligibility.

Countable Resources

In addition to income, your household also must meet the countable resources test. Countable resources are all forms of assets, including money in your bank account, alimony or child support received. As of 2011, your household can have a maximum of $2,000 in countable resources. If you have an elderly or disabled household member, your countable resources are capped at $3,000.


Being self-employed can increase your chances of receiving food stamps if you are the sole provider for your household. If someone in your home receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, his income is not considered on your food stamp application. Case workers request documentation on all information stated in your food stamp application. Keep all documents on hand until you receive written confirmation from your case worker that your benefits are approved.