Food Stamps Calculator – How Much Will I Receive?

If you are struggling to afford food for yourself and your household, you should consider applying for food stamps. Food stamps are monthly cash benefits that can be used to purchase eligible food items at the grocery store.

One of the first questions food stamps applicants want to know is how the food stamps calculator works. That’s because it will tell you how much you’re expected to receive in food stamps if your application is approved.

That’s an important question because they want to know if the amount of benefits is going to make a difference.

In this article, we will walk you through how to calculate your benefit amounts, based on your household income and other important eligibility criteria. At the end of the article, you will be able to determine how much you will receive in food stamp benefits if you are eligible.

How much in Food Stamps you receive essentially boils down to your household income and the number of allowable deductions you have. First, let’s review the eligibility criteria.

"Food Stamps Calculator - How Much Will I Get?"

Food Stamps Eligibility

Under federal rules, to be eligible for food stamps benefits, a household’s income and resources must meet three tests:

Gross monthly income

This is a household’s income before any allowable deductions are applied. This income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line. For a family of three, the poverty line used to calculate SNAP benefits for 2019 is $1,732 a month.

This means that a family of three, the 130 percent of the poverty translates into $2,252 a month, or about $27,000 a year.

Net income

This is a household’s income after allowable deductions are taken out. The resulting amount must be at or below the poverty line.


The assets belonging to the household must fall below certain limits. If your household is without a member who is elderly or disabled, you must have assets of $2,250 or less, to qualify for food stamps.

If your household has an elderly person or disabled person, then the asset limit is $3,500 or less.

What counts as income for Food Stamps Application?

For those applying for food stamps, it is important to know what the government counts as income.

Generally, the USDA counts cash income from all sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support.

What counts Asset for Food Stamps Application?

The USDA counts resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts etc. as assets.

Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count.

Note that the federal government, through the USDA has given states the flexibility to relax the asset limits.

You, therefore, have to consult with your state specific guidelines to know what will be counted as assets during your food stamps application. To get in contact with your state’s food stamps agency, click here.

Food Stamps Income Limit

Most households applying for food stamps must meet the income limit, unless members are receiving TANF, SSI, or some other form of cash assistance from the federal government or state.

There are two parts to the income limit – the gross income and net income. The net income is determined after allowable deductions are taken from the gross income.

Most households must meet both the gross and net income tests unless there is an elderly person or a person who is receiving certain types of disability payments.

It is important to note that if your household income is above the limits shown below, you will not be approved for food assistance.

"Food Stamps Income Limit"

As you can see, both the gross and net monthly income calculations are based on the number of people in your household. The income limit rises as you add additional members to your household.

Here are the deductions that are allowed to arrive at your net monthly income number:

"Food Stamps Income Limit Deductions"

Calculate your Gross & Net Monthly Income

Now that you know the income limits and the allowed deductions, you are now ready to calculate your gross and net monthly income.

The image below shows you an example of how to calculate both numbers:

"Food Stamps Amount Calculator - Gross income and Net Income"

Food Stamps Calculator

You can use the food stamps calculator to calculate how much you will receive in food stamps benefits. To begin, we first have to look at the maximum benefit a household could get.

This is amount is set each year and by the United States Department of Agriculture. For 2019, here are the maximum monthly benefits and the estimated average benefits the USDA projects for the year.

We are showing you data compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) using USDA information.

"How Much Will I Receive in Food Stamps?"

As you can see, for a household of one, the maximum food stamps benefits that can be received is $192. However, the average is $134, which translates to $4.5 a day on average.

For a family of four, the maximum benefits that can be received is $642. However, the average benefit amount for a family of four is $465 per month. This averages $15.50 a day to purchase food for a family with four people.

How Much Will I Receive in Food Stamps?

To calculate how much you are can receive in food stamp benefits, we have provided an example below.

This example from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) will show you how much a family of three is expected to receive. The family shown includes one full-time, minimum-wage worker, two children, dependent care costs of $67 a month, and shelter costs of $927 per month.

We hope the example provided below will help you calculate your own benefit amount.

"Food Stamps Calculator - How Much Will I Receive?"

If you are having trouble figuring out how much you will receive in benefits, please send us a message. We are here to help. If you have any additional questions about the food stamps calculator, let us know in the comments section below.