Jobs You Can Do and Still Qualify for Food Stamps
This information is current as of April 27, 2022.
If you’re new to SNAP or just learning about it, you might be wondering what jobs you can do and still qualify for food stamps.
Federal law requires most food stamp recipients to work or look for work to qualify for assistance. Luckily, a SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) program can help you find the job you need. From entry-level positions to paid apprenticeships, there are plenty of options for working while on food stamps.
Wondering which jobs, you can do while receiving food stamps and ensuring you stay under the SNAP income limits, your benefits aren’t affected? Read on!
How to Work and Qualify for Food Stamps
Not only can you work and qualify for food stamps, but it’s a federal law that you must work or look for work to receive food stamps.
There are specific work requirements and exceptions around food stamps discussed at the end of this article and income limits you must fall on or below to qualify for food assistance.
Luckily, SNAP—the food stamp program—offers workfare and employment training programs. By the end of this article, you will learn how to find a job and some job ideas to get you started.
Food Stamp Income Limits
Your household needs to meet two federal income limits to qualify for food stamps and receive SNAP. This is called gross income and net income. Gross income is a household’s total income before any deductions have been made. Net income is gross income minus allowable deductions.
How many people you live and eat with determines the limit you must fall under to receive food stamps. There is a set of federal limits, but the most accurate limits will be posted on your state’s SNAP website.
For example, federal limits state that a household of one must meet a gross monthly income of $1,396 and a net monthly income of $1,074. A larger family of 8 will need a gross monthly income of $4,839 and a net monthly income of $3,722 to qualify.
Calculating Your Income
Your income is any money you receive via cash, benefits, checks, or deposits. This includes social security, cash assistance, child support, and unemployment insurance.
Deductions are amounts you can subtract from your income. These are usually things you must spend money on, such as housing or medicine. In some states, deductions can even include legally owed child support payments.
Some popular deductions include:
- A 20% deduction from earned income
- A general SNAP deduction of $177 for a household size of 1-3 people
- A general SNAP deduction of $184 for four people
Other amount deductions are available for dependent care when needed for education, training, or work, and additional amounts for medical expenses for the elderly or disabled household members.
There are a few exceptions to the income limits, such as:
- A household with an elderly or disabled person must only meet the net income limit
- All members of your household already receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or another general assistance program, you’re immediately eligible for SNAP benefits
SNAP Work Programs
The SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) program helps people gain skills and find work while participating in SNAP. With this program, you have access to training and support services to help you enter the workforce and then advance in your position.
They also provide support services like transportation, books, supplies, and childcare. Each state offers this program, and you can find your state’s E&T program here.
In the hospitality sector, jobs include restaurant server, delivery driver, maid, bartender, and front desk representative at a hotel or store.
In the construction field, entry-level jobs include flooring installer, hazmat removal worker, landscaper, roofer, masonry worker, tree trimmer, pest controller, and construction laborer.
You could work at the front desk, as a lab assistant, or even as a veterinary assistant in the medical field.
Many jobs out there require little or no experience or education, and some even offer paid-on-the-job training or apprenticeships.
You could work as a sales or customer service representative, administrative assistant, or insurance claim adjuster in the business realm.
Other ideas include being a rideshare driver like a taxi driver or chauffeur, a security guard, or a commercial truck driver.
How to Find a Job
Finding a job can seem intimidating, but it can be a lot easier if you know where to look. Some websites to begin your search are Indeed, Glassdoor, Google for Jobs, Monster, ZipRecruiter, SimplyHired, and CareerBuilder. These websites offer filters to narrow your search by location, pay, industry and experience.
There are also recruitment agencies that help employers find workers, such as AppleOne, Randstad, Robert Half, Kelly Services, Manpower Group, and more. These employment agencies post open jobs on websites listed above, like Indeed and Glassdoor. Still, you can also apply directly on their website.
These recruitment agencies conduct in-person interviews where they can help with your resume and give you interview pointers. Then, they work on your behalf, sending your resume out to potential employers. For most agencies, this service is free for applicants because they get paid by the employers they work for.
Some agencies also specialize in temporary and permanent labor work, such as Labor Finders, Aerotek, People Ready, Corporate Job Bank, and Labor Works.
Food Stamp Work Requirements
Unless you meet one of the exceptions, you are likely required to work while receiving food stamps.
There are two sets of requirements for adults to receive food stamps: General Work requirements and Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) requirements.
General Work Requirements
Adults aged 16-59 who have a dependent and receive food stamps must meet the General Work requirements, including:
- Register for work
- Participate in a workfare or the SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) program if available in your state
- Not voluntarily quit a job or reduce your work hours below 30 hours a week without a good reason
- Refuse a suitable job when offered
People are excused from the general work requirements if they meet one of these circumstances:
- You are already working at least 30 hours a week
- You earn wages that are at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours
- You already meet work requirements from another program like TANF or unemployment compensation
- You take care of a child under six years old or an incapacitated person
- You are unable to work due to physical or mental limitations
- You regularly participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program
- You are studying half-time at a school or training program, although college students have different requirements
ABAWD work requirements are for 18-49 with no dependents. This group of adults must meet the General Work requirements listed above plus additional requirements to receive food stamps for more than three months every three years.
To meet the additional work requirements, you must work at least 80 hours a month, about 20 hours a week.
You could also participate in a work program for at least 80 hours a month, such as SNAP E&T or another local, state, or federal work program. You can also participate in work and work programs if the total hours meet at least 80 a month.
You may be exempt from these additional work requirements if:
- You can’t work due to physical or mental limitations
- Are pregnant
- Have someone under 18 years old in your SNAP household
- Meet any of the exemptions of the general work requirements listed above
These requirements are at the federal level, but some states have additional work requirements.
If you are receiving food stamps or looking to apply, you must be currently working or looking for work unless you meet one of the exceptions. Looking for a job can be a scary process—especially if you are struggling financially—but SNAP offers many resources to help you.
Take advantage of things like the SNAP E&T program, where you can learn skills and receive support such as skills building and childcare. You can also head to a local staffing agency to help you with resume writing, hiring practices, and interview tips.
Plus, check out how to get free internet with food stamps so you can apply for jobs right from home.
The most important thing is that you take that first step and get started today. You got this!
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
When you qualify for government benefit programs like SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Both Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.