Navigating different types of government benefits is tough, and sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether you qualify for one type of program or another — many ask for different criteria, and some are administered by states while others by the federal government. One common point of confusion is between Social Security disability benefits and food stamps, which are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, benefits, you may also be wondering if you qualify for food stamps.
The simple answer is — it depends. SSDI disability and food stamps are two different programs, and you may be eligible for one but not the other. To know for sure, it’s important to understand what the requirements are for each.
SSDI is not an income-restricted benefit; instead, it is administered based on how long you have worked into the Social Security system and paid income taxes — or, what’s known as a “work credit” requirement. You also need to have a disability that is recognized by the Social Security Administration as a medical condition that prevents you from working, or reduces the amount that you are able to work. SSDI disability pay is given out from the federal government, and thus you will be applying through your local Social Security Administration branch.
Food stamps, meanwhile, are income-based, which means that you need to have a certain minimum income for your family size in order to qualify. The SNAP program, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gives out a certain amount of food stamps for you to spend on grocery items. SNAP applications must be made at the state level, and in New York, your annual household income has to be below $15,444 for a family of one in order to qualify. The amounts are $20,826 for a family of two, $26, 208 for a family of three and $31,590 for a family of four.
Because SNAP is income-based and SSDI is not, you should check your qualifications for each program separately; you may be able to apply for SSDI because you worked a certain number of years and have a disability, but if you do not meet the income requirements, you won’t be eligible for food stamps. However, if you are disabled and qualify for SSDI, you might be able to deduct medical expenses from your income when calculating your SNAP eligibility.