Food Stamps

Social Security Bulletin, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Food Stamps

The Food Stamp program provides a means for persons with no or little income to obtain a nutritionally adequate diet. The program issues monthly allotments of coupons that are redeemable at retail food stores, or provides benefits through electronic benefit transfer (EBT). Eligibility and allotments are based on household size, income, assets, and other factors.

Households without income receive an amount equal to 100 percent of the June monthly cost of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP-a nutritionally adequate diet) for a reference family of four adjusted for household size and economies of scale. This amount is updated every October for the new fiscal year to account for food price increases.

As of October 2002, an eligible four-person household in the continental United States with no income receives $465 per month in food stamps. Households with income receive food stamps valued at the difference between the maximum allotment and 30 percent of their income, after certain allowable deductions.

To qualify for food stamps, a household must have:

1. Less than $2,000 in disposable assets ($3,000, if one member is aged 60 or older or is disabled),

2. Gross income below 130 percent of the poverty guidelines for the household size, and

3. Net income of less than 100 percent of the poverty guidelines allowable deductions.

Households with a person aged 60 or older or a disabled person receiving either Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security (OASDI), state general assistance, or veterans' disability benefits (or interim disability assistance pending approval of any of the above programs) may have gross income exceeding 130 percent of the poverty guidelines if the income is lower than 100 percent of the poverty guidelines allowable deductions.

One- and two-person households that meet the applicable standard receive at least $10 a month in food stamps.

All households in which all members receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or SSI are categorically eligible for food stamps.

Net income is computed by subtracting the following deductions from monthly gross income:

1. Twenty percent of earned income.

2. Standard deduction of $134 for fiscal year 2002 for households with one to four members, $147 for households with five members, and $168 for households with six or more members.

3. Amount paid for dependent care (up to $200 a month for each child under age 2 and $175 for all other dependents) while the dependent's caretaker is working or looking for work.

4. Out-of-pocket medical expenses in excess of a $35 deductible for a person aged 60 or older or a disabled person. If more than one person in the household is aged or disabled, $35 is subtracted once before deducting combined medical expenses.

5. Legally owed child support payments.

6. Excess shelter expenses, which is total shelter costs including utilities minus 50 percent of income after all the above deductions have been subtracted. Effective October 1, 2002, the limit was $367. The limit does not apply to households with an aged or disabled member.

Households are certified to receive food stamps for varying lengths of time, depending on their income sources and individual circumstances. Recertification is required at least annually. Households whose sole income is from SSI payments or Social Security benefits are certified for a 12month period, although states may request a waiver allowing for a 24-month certification period for these households. Households must report monthly income or expense changes of $25 or more or other changes in circumstances that would affect eligibility.

Families with income or food loss resulting from disaster situations such as tornadoes or floods may be eligible for food stamps for up to 1 month if they meet the special disaster income and asset limits.

Special provisions allow the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, blind, or disabled residents in certain group living arrangements, residents of shelters for battered spouses and children, and persons aged 60 or older to use their coupons for meals prepared at a nonprofit facility.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Food Stamps


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?