Can a Veteran Qualify for Food Stamps?

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, does not disqualify veterans from receiving benefits. Any veteran of the armed services can apply for food stamps. Qualification is based on the same conditions all applicants for food stamps must meet.


Resource Limitations

Qualifying for food stamps requires that your resources total no more than $2,000. An exception is granted when there is a person age 60 or older in the home and the total is increased to $3,000 in resources. Resources include bank accounts and some vehicles. Resources do not include your home, most pensions plans, Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Full rules relating which vehicles are counted as resources and which are not can be found at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website.


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The food stamp program requires that applicant income does not surpass both a net and gross level. However, If a home includes either an elderly person or a person receiving disability payments, only the net income threshold, gross income minus allowable deductions, is considered. As of January 2011, the net income maximum for a family of one is $903. With a family of four, the income level rises to $1,838.


It is required that an able bodied adult without dependents between the ages of 18 and 50 be employed or enrolled in a workfare or employment training program other than basic job searches. Without meeting these requirements, SNAP benefits are limited to three months within a 36-month period of time. Some SNAP locations do waive this requirement. Ask your local office when you apply for food stamps what the specific employment policy is for your area.


Veteran Specific Exceptions to SNAP Regulations

Aliens qualified for SNAP are typically put on a waiting list, but there are exceptions for veterans. Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans' spouses or children are eligible for food stamps without a waiting period, provided they meet resource, income and employment criteria and are lawful permanent citizens.

Disabled Veterans

According to SNAP eligibility requirements, a veteran is considered disabled by the program if he "is totally disabled, permanently housebound, or in need of regular aid and attendance." This definition also extends to surviving spouses and children of veterans receiving VA benefits and considered permanently disabled. According to Workworld, benefits for service-connected disabilities count as unearned income with SNAP after the price of uniform maintenance is deducted.