Federal laws for determining eligibility for food stamps do not establish a specific limit for bank accounts. But bank funds are considered as part of your household's resources, and your household is ineligible for foods stamps if total resources exceed a certain amount. Some households can have more resources and the resources of certain individuals in a household may not be counted.
In addition to meeting requirements relating to income and citizenship, families that apply for food stamps must have total household resources of less than $2,000 as of December 2010. Bank accounts are among the resources your state will consider when reviewing your application, along with other funds, such as investment holdings. Possessions such as a home, land and, in some circumstances, a vehicle do not count toward the resource limit.
The resource limit rises to $3,000 if any member of your household receives disability benefits or is at least 60. The resources of individual members of your family do not count toward the household resource limit if those members receive Supplemental Security Income or welfare benefits, officially known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. If all members receive TANF benefits, for example, no resource limit applies.
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Individual states administer food stamp programs and can modify federal guidelines. In the wake of the recession that began in 2008, many states waived resource limits. As of 2010, 24 states had implemented a policy of "expanded categorical eligibility," which removed resource limits as a consideration for food stamp eligibility. The goal is to help applicants avoid spending a significant portion of their savings on food before becoming eligible for food stamps.
The resource limits for Supplemental Security Income eligibility are somewhat more generous than those for food stamp eligibility, meaning SSI may be an option for qualified individuals whose family cannot receive food stamps. SSI benefits are for elderly, disabled or blind people who need financial assistance with essential needs such as food, shelter and clothing. The resource limit to receive SSI benefits is $2,000 per individual, rather than for the entire household. Couples may receive SSI benefits if they have combined resources of $3,000 or less.