Why Do I Only Get $16 in Food Stamps?! – Your EBT Questions Answered!

Have you ever wondered, ”Why do I only get $16 in food stamps?” We get asked this question all the time. In this video, we’ll explain why some people only receive $16 in food stamps, and what you can do to get more food stamps benefits!

ABOUT US: Low Income Relief is a free information source that helps low income people across America find free stuff and save money. We help millions of people every year connect with benefits, programs and resources in our local communities.

TRANSCRIPT: One of the most common questions we are asked is, ”Why do I only get $16 in food stamps?!” It seems like many people apply for food stamps, only to get a pitiful amount of money that barely helps at all.

If this has happened to you, then you probably have a lot of questions. Why did this happen? What are you supposed to do with $16 per month?! And what can you do to get more food stamps?!

We’ve looked into it, and we’ve found answers for all of these questions.

I’m Nicole, from LowIncomeRelief.com. We help millions of people save money and get free stuff every year!

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So… Why do you only get $16 in food stamps?

The short answer is that $16 is the minimum amount of food stamps that someone can receive. Federal law states that all one and two person households who meet the income requirements will receive a minimum benefit. According to this USDA memo, the minimum benefit was increased to $16 in 2020 for all states except Hawaii and Alaska.

Before 2020, the minimum benefit was $15.

The good news is that you may be able to increase that amount. As always, we do NOT recommend committing any form of fraud, ever. We are simply recommending that you check the math that was used to calculate your benefit with a few simple tips.

You can find all these tips – and more – at LowIncomeRelief.com! We have an instruction guide titled “How to Get More Food Stamps” at

First, check your household size. There are many rules governing who actually counts toward your household. It isn’t as simple as counting everyone who lives with you. It must be people who live with you and share food with you. It’s possible that you included more people than necessary, and that their income is counting against you.

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That link at LowIncomeRelief.com can help you figure out who should be in your household.

Second, check your deductions. There are some deductions that are only claimed by 2-5% of people who receive food stamps. This is especially common for seniors and disabled people, who are eligible for the little-known medical expense deduction. This deduction can make a huge difference in the amount of food stamps you receive, but it does require a bit of extra paperwork. For more information, check out our website!

Third, you may be able to rearrange your budget to maximize deductions. For example, my friend Bob lives with his relatives and pays for specific expenses instead of paying rent. If he applied for food stamps, he would actually receive more help if he paid a flat rate for rent and let his family members use that money to pay for those expenses that he was covering directly. The amount of money he spends won’t change, but the food stamps office will be able to recognize that contribution as his shelter costs. This will result in a higher food stamps allowance.

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Even if you cannot directly increase the amount of food stamps you receive, you may be able to maximize your benefits through some smart shopping techniques.

For example, many Farmer’s Markets offer a Double Up program. With these programs, you can get twice as much produce as you actually pay for. Just like that, your $16 in food stamps becomes $32 in produce!

We’ve also found a list of 450+ freebies and deals that you can receive just for having a food stamps card. It doesn’t matter how high or low the balance is. For more information about that, be sure to check out our directory at LowIncomeRelief.com/EBT!

We have done a lot of research into food stamps topics, and we’re always happy to help. For more information about this and other food stamps questions, be sure to check out our resources at LowIncomeRelief.com!

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