Food Stamps for People With Disabilities

View of a grocery aisle from behind a shopping cart.

For many people with disabilities, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – aka food stamps – is an invaluable lifeline.

What Benefits Does SNAP Provide to Disabled Individuals?

SNAP provides important nutritional support for many people, including those with disabilities who often live on lower, fixed incomes. In addition, research suggests that SNAP benefits help improve health outcomes and lower health care costs.

Local Special Needs Planners in Your City

Planner name

Firm Name
City, State

Planner name

Firm Name
City, State

Planner name

Firm Name
City, State

The federal government pays the full cost of SNAP benefits. However, the individual states administer the program locally.

SNAP is available in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. To apply for SNAP benefits, you must do so through your local office.

Who Qualifies for SNAP Under “Disability” Rules?

To qualify for SNAP, disabled persons (or households with a disabled family member) must meet different conditions than other low-income populations, although there are some exceptions:

1. The person with the disability must meet one of the following criteria:

  • They receive federal disability or blindness payments under the Social Security Administration, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability or blindness payments;
  • They receive state disability or blindness payments based on SSI rules;
  • They receive a disability retirement benefit from a governmental agency because of a permanent disability;
  • They receive an annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act while also eligible for Medicare or disabled under SSI;
  • They are a totally disabled veteran; or
  • They are the surviving spouse or child of a veteran who receives VA benefits and is classified as permanently disabled

2. The applicant must also meet the net income test. For eligibility limits ending September 30, 2024, their net household income (remaining income after all allowed deductions) must be less than or equal to 100 percent of the poverty line for a household of comparable size. For a household of one, this threshold is currently $1,215 per month.

However, if all members of a household are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SSI, or (in some places) other general assistance, the household may be “automatically” eligible for SNAP because of already determined eligibility for other means-tested programs.

3. The person with a disability also must meet a resource limit. In 2024, this equals no more than $4,250 in countable resources.

How Much SNAP Can a Person Receive?

The maximum SNAP award depends on household size. The government expects that households will use 30 percent of their own resources to purchase food. This is taken into consideration in the ultimate benefit amount. A one-person household may get a maximum of $291 per month in SNAP benefits in 2024.

SNAP Work Requirements

Most people filling out a SNAP application are subject to work requirements. However, disabled individuals are exempt from this requirement and do not need to work a certain amount of hours per week to qualify for SNAP.

Other Issues to Consider

SNAP is not available to individuals with an undocumented immigration status. This benefit is currently limited to U.S. Citizens and permanent residents. However, non-citizens must have lived in the U.S. for a minimum of five years, be receiving disability benefits, and be under 18. Income and resource limits still apply.

Denial of SNAP Benefits

If you believe you have been wrongly denied SNAP, you have the right to request a hearing with an administrative law judge to review the circumstances of your case. However, this request must be made within 90 days of the denial to your local SNAP office. If you are facing this situation, you may greatly benefit from the assistance of a special needs planner or other legal advocates. Find a qualified special needs planning attorney near you today.

Additional Resources

For more information, check out the following resources:

Created date: 09/21/2017


View All Special Needs Topics Questions & Answers Directory of Pooled Trusts Directory of ABLE Accounts