How Do You Find Out If You Are Eligible for Food Stamps?

out-eligible-food-stamps Credit: Stuart Pearce/age fotostock/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service website offers a pre-screening eligibility tool for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. The eligibility tool requires the user to enter several types of household income and expenses.

Online help is available on each page of the tool by clicking on the question mark. After all the questions are answered, the eligibility tool estimates the amount of SNAP funds that may be available based on user information.

Income eligibility is evaluated based on household size. As of 2015, a household of four people is eligible for SNAP benefits if gross monthly income is below $2,584 and net monthly income is below $1,988. Most households have to meet both the gross and net income levels to qualify unless an elderly person or someone with certain types of disability income are part of the household. The gross and net household income levels are higher for residents of Alaska and Hawaii.

The pre-screening eligibility tool is not an application for benefits. State or county SNAP offices process applications for benefits. Most states offer online applications. The USDA FNS website contains links to the state applications. State office telephone numbers and addresses are listed in state or local government sections of telephone books and are available on official state websites.