Are Food Stamps Considered Income in Bankruptcy Filings?

When you go to file bankruptcy, the court considers your income to determine whether or not you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and in the case of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, to determine the amount of your monthly payments.  Obvious income would be wages earned from employment, self-employment income, social security and child support; but what about government assistance such as food stamps?  In short, food stamps are considered as income for the purposes of a bankruptcy.

Young boy holding the hands of his parents.

The Means Test in a bankruptcy considers most income that you receive: wages, self employment, child support, family support, retirement withdrawals. When you receive food stamps, the monies go straight to a debit card in which you can only use to purchase food in a store that accepts the card.  You cannot get cash back from the card?. However, for the purposes of the Means Test, it is still considered income. Since you can use the governmental assistance to purchase necessities, such as groceries, it is considered to be a part of your monthly income that is calculated under the Means Test. Therefore, it needs to be accurately reflected in both the Means Test and in Schedule I, which is the section that discloses your income to the courts.

2 replies
  1. Denise Bruns
    Denise Bruns says:

    When filing for a waver due to insufficient income to pay back over payment of UIB are food stamps considered income.
    MI UIA is using my food stamps to puff up my income and the courts are denying my fee waver request.

    Any suggestions.

    • Damon Duncan
      Damon Duncan says:


      I’m not sure that I completely understand the question. In most jurisdictions, food stamps are going to be considered income under bankruptcy. However, it may be worth your time to call an attorney in your area to find out for sure in your jurisdiction.

      Duncan Law Team

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