Are you supposed to work while on food stamps, or SNAP benefits? Are food stamps different for people with no kids?

Food stamps exist to combat food insecurity among Americans, especially in households with children. But what does that mean if someone does not have kids?

Many people are confused on how food stamps work and think if people use them they do not have jobs, but that usually is not the case.

So what are the rules for claiming food stamps?

SNAP has two sets of requirements for working while on food stamps.


If you’re between 16 and 59 and able to work, you’ll need to meet the general requirements and work to get the food stamps. You must register for SNAP Employment and Training.

If a job is offered and is considered suitable, you need to take it. You can’t voluntarily quit a job or reduce your hours without a legitimate reason.

Work requirements do not apply to you if you already work 30 hours a week or warn wages equal to minimum wage, meet work requirements for a different program, take care of a child under 6 or an incapacitated person, if you can’t work due to a mental or physical limitation, if you’re in a drug or alcohol treatment program, or if you’re in school at least half time.


If you do not meet general work requirements and you’re supposed to, you’re dropped from SNAP for at least one month and need to meet requirements to get them again.

If it happens again you could be disqualified indefinitely.

If you do not have children, you might need to meet the work requirements laid out as well as more work requirements as an able bodied adult without dependents.


To meet these requirements you can work at least 80 hours per month, be in a work program for 80 hours a month, be in a work program as well as work for 80 hours a month, or participate in workfare for however many hours you’re assigned per month.

Exceptions to these requirements include if you are unable to work due to a mental or physical limitation, if you’re pregnant, if you have someone under in your home, or if you’re excused from the requirements.

If you need to meet these requirements and do not, you will lose benefits after three months for one month or be excused if you don’t meet them.

Related: When do you have to pay back food stamps or SNAP benefits? Be careful to avoid being overpaid


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