Alternative Programs for People Who Don't Qualify for Food Stamps

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Certain individuals may not meet the requirements to qualify for food stamps. Find out about additional programs that may offer free or low-cost food items.

In 2023, approximately 41 million people in the United States face some form of food hardship. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides financial assistance to individuals who meet certain income criteria, but not all people qualify. 

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Are There Other Programs If I Don’t Qualify for Food Stamps?

For those who don't qualify for food stamps, there are several other programs in the United States, including the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

These programs offer nutritious food at no cost to help low-income individuals and families struggling with food hardship. Below is a rundown of each program.

Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program

The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition program (SFMNP) provides fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey to older adults aged 60 and above. To qualify, a recipient's household income cannot exceed 185% of the federal poverty income level. guidelines.

Twenty-seven states and two tribal nations currently participate in this program, and all fruits and vegetables provided are locally grown.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides monthly food packages to seniors age 60 and over. The program is designed to help older adults who meet certain income guidelines maintain healthy diets with USDA food items.

The food boxes contain healthy items such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, plant-based proteins and grains. All food boxes are distributed to participating states and Indian Tribal Organizations through the USDA. 

The Emergency Food Assistance Program/Local Food Banks

The United States is home to over 200 food banks that provide food for low-income individuals through over 63,000 agencies. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides U.S. food banks with commodity food items, and the banks then serve the public directly or distribute food to soup kitchens, shelters and nonprofits that provide assistance in local communities.

In most cases, there are no eligibility requirements for people to visit food banks or food pantries, but they may need to self-certify that they are experiencing food hardship. 

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

The Child and Adult Care Food Program is specifically designed to provide nutritious food to low-income children in daycare centers, shelters and after-school programs and low-income adults in adult daycare centers.

Healthy food and snacks are distributed to participating daycare centers, shelters and after-school programs that meet meal pattern standards.

What Is the Maximum Income to Qualify for SNAP?

The maximum gross monthly income for single individuals to qualify for SNAP in 2023 was $1,580, with a monthly net income limit of $1,215. The maximum gross monthly income for a household with two people was $2,137, and the monthly net income limit was $1,644.

The maximum amount increases with each additional household or family member, and the total monthly gross income limit for households is typically equal to 130% of the federal poverty level

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Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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