Do Amish Get Food Stamps: Exploring the Eligibility Criteria

Do Amish communities receive food stamps? The answer is not as straightforward as one might expect. While many people assume that the Amish do not participate in government assistance programs, the reality is that some Amish families do receive food stamps.

As a cultural and religious group that values self-sufficiency and simplicity, the Amish have created their own systems for supporting those in need within their communities. However, in certain circumstances, some Amish families may turn to government assistance programs such as food stamps to help them meet their basic needs.

While the question of whether the Amish should receive government assistance is a complex one, it raises important issues about poverty, community support networks, and the role of the government in meeting the needs of its citizens. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why some Amish families may need food stamps, the challenges they face in accessing them, and the broader implications of these issues for our society as a whole.

Overview of Amish lifestyle and beliefs

The Amish are a traditionalist Christian group known for their simple and self-sufficient way of life. The Amish way of life is guided by their religious beliefs, which emphasize humility, simplicity, and separation from the world. The Amish strive to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, as interpreted by their church leaders.

  • The Amish view technology as a potential threat to their way of life, and so they avoid the use of modern machinery and technology.
  • The Amish wear modest, homemade clothing and live in simple homes without electricity or modern conveniences.
  • The Amish do not participate in politics, military service, or vote in elections.

The Amish value hard work, self-sufficiency, and community, and they place a high value on education, both secular and religious. Amish children attend one-room schoolhouses, where they are taught by their parents or community members until the eighth grade. After that, they typically start working and learning a trade.

The Amish are known for their skills in farming, woodworking, and other crafts. They sell their products locally or through Amish-owned businesses and do not participate in the larger economy. The Amish often live in close-knit communities, where they support one another through life’s challenges and celebrate together during times of joy.

BeliefsWay of life
HumilitySimple and self-sufficient
SimplicityModest and homemade clothing
Separation from the worldSimple homes without modern conveniences
Hard workFarming, woodworking, and other crafts
CommunityClose-knit communities that support one another

Overall, the Amish way of life is guided by their beliefs, which center on humility, simplicity, and separation from the world. The Amish value hard work, self-sufficiency, education, and community, and they strive to live a simple life free from modern technology and conveniences.

Introduction to Food Stamps Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the food stamp program, is a federally funded program that is designed to help low-income individuals and families buy nutritious food. The program aims to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their financial situation, have access to the food they need to lead healthy lives. The program was first established in 1964 when Congress passed the Food Stamp Act.

Eligibility for Food Stamps

  • To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet certain income and asset requirements. Generally, applicants must have a household income at or below 130% of the federal poverty level.
  • Individuals and families who receive other forms of government assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), are also eligible for food stamps.
  • Applicants must also be US citizens or legal permanent residents to receive benefits. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for the program.

Do Amish Get Food Stamps?

Amish communities are often seen as self-sufficient and living off the land. However, many Amish families struggle financially and are eligible for food stamp benefits. In fact, some Amish communities have a higher poverty rate than the general population. Amish families who meet the eligibility requirements can apply for and receive food stamps.

There are some exceptions to the program’s rules for Amish families. For example, Amish families who run their own businesses are exempt from certain record-keeping and reporting requirements. However, they are still subject to the same eligibility requirements as everyone else.


The food stamp program is an important resource for millions of Americans who struggle to put food on the table. While it may be surprising to some, Amish families are also eligible for the program and can receive much-needed assistance. The program’s eligibility requirements ensure that benefits go to those who need them most, regardless of their background or way of life.

Key Takeaways from the Food Stamp Program
SNAP is a federal program that helps low-income individuals and families buy nutritious food.
To be eligible for the program, an applicant must meet income and asset requirements and be a US citizen or legal permanent resident.
Amish families can be eligible for food stamps if they meet the program’s requirements, although they may be exempt from certain reporting requirements.

The program is an important safety net for those in need and helps ensure that everyone has access to healthy food options.

Eligibility requirements for food stamps

Food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provide help to low-income households to buy food. To be eligible for food stamps, there are certain requirements that must be met. These requirements can be broken down into three subsections:

Income requirements

  • Household income – The gross income of everyone in the household is calculated to determine eligibility for food stamps.
  • Net income – The net income is calculated by subtracting certain deductions from the gross income, such as medical expenses and child care expenses, to determine the household’s eligibility.
  • Asset limit – Households with a gross income above the poverty level may still be ineligible if they have assets beyond a certain limit, such as cash or property.

Residency requirements

To be eligible for food stamps, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident or a refugee. They must also be a resident of the state in which they are applying for food stamps.

Work requirements

Food stamps are intended to be a temporary solution to help families in need. Therefore, able-bodied adults without dependents are subject to work requirements. They must work a certain number of hours each week, be enrolled in a job training program, or participate in community service in order to continue receiving food stamps.


Eligibility requirements for food stamps are strict yet flexible enough to encompass many households who are in need. It’s important for individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet to know that there are resources out there to help them with their basic needs.

Household SizeMaximum Gross Monthly IncomeMaximum Net Monthly Income

The table above shows the maximum gross and net monthly income for households of different sizes to be eligible for food stamps. It’s important to remember that eligibility guidelines may vary by state, so it’s best to check with your local SNAP office for more information.

Perception of government assistance among the Amish community

The Amish community is known for their traditional way of living, which includes a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency and reliance on their community for support. As a result, there is often a negative perception of government assistance within the Amish community, with some believing that it goes against their values and way of life.

  • Some Amish individuals view government assistance as a form of charity, which they believe is not in line with their traditional belief in hard work and self-sufficiency.
  • Others feel that accepting government assistance puts them in a situation of indebtedness, which conflicts with their desire to be independent and free from outside influences.
  • Additionally, there is a perception that government assistance may weaken the sense of community within the Amish, as it may incentivize individuals to seek help from the government rather than from their neighbors or church.

Despite these beliefs, there are some instances where members of the Amish community do utilize government assistance programs, such as food stamps.

It’s important to note that not all Amish individuals hold the same beliefs regarding government assistance, and opinions may vary within different Amish communities and households.

Factors Affecting Amish Perception of Government AssistanceExamples
Religious beliefsSome Amish sects may view government assistance as a violation of their religious principles, while others may see it as acceptable in certain circumstances.
Community support systemClosely knit Amish communities may be more self-sufficient and less likely to rely on outside help, while those living in areas with limited Amish presence may be more likely to utilize government assistance.
Individual circumstancesIndividuals who are elderly, disabled, or experiencing financial hardship may be more likely to seek government assistance, regardless of their Amish beliefs.

Ultimately, the decision to seek government assistance is a personal one and may be influenced by a variety of factors, including religious beliefs, community support systems, and individual circumstances.

Factors that may influence Amish participation in the food stamps program

Although some Amish communities may participate in government aid programs, the majority choose to rely on their own resources and community support. Below are some of the possible factors that could be influencing their decision not to participate in the food stamps program.

  • Cultural beliefs: The Amish community values self-sufficiency and hard work as a way of life. They view accepting government aid as a sign of weakness and prefer to take care of their own needs through their strong community support system.
  • Religious principles: Many Amish people believe that relying on others for material support goes against the principle of humility and submission to God’s will. They also believe in the importance of maintaining a simple lifestyle, which may be incompatible with accepting government aid.
  • Logistics: Many Amish people may not be aware of the food stamps program or the application process or may have difficulty navigating it due to their lack of access to technology and limited education.

It’s important to note that the decision not to participate in the food stamps program is not due to a lack of need or financial hardship. The Amish are known for their hard work and frugality, and many live below the poverty line. However, they choose to rely on their own resources and community support instead of government aid.

Here is a table showing the percentage of Amish households participating in government assistance programs, according to a 2017 study by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies:

Assistance programPercentage of Amish households participating
Food stampsless than 1%
Social Security6%
Unemployment benefitsless than 1%

Despite their low participation in government aid programs, the Amish community continues to thrive through their strong work ethic, sense of community, and dedication to their cultural and religious values.

Food choices and dietary restrictions among the Amish

The Amish are known for their traditional way of life and their strong faith. Part of their faith includes dietary restrictions and guidelines for food consumption. They believe in consuming natural, wholesome foods that are free from artificial preservatives and chemicals. For this reason, many Amish families grow and raise their own food, relying on homegrown produce, dairy products, and meat. In addition to traditional farming, many Amish communities also operate their own grocery stores and bakeries, selling a range of items such as fresh bread, pies, and jams.

  • The Amish diet is centered around fresh, whole foods
  • Processed and packaged foods are not typically consumed
  • Meat is typically consumed in moderation, with a focus on lean cuts

The Amish dietary restrictions are largely based on their faith and cultural traditions. They follow a set of guidelines outlined in the Ordnung, a set of rules and regulations that govern Amish life. These guidelines dictate how food should be prepared and consumed, and include guidelines for fasting and feasting.

One notable feature of Amish cuisine is the focus on homegrown and homemade foods. From fresh vegetables and fruits to homemade bread and cheese, the Amish take great pride in their food traditions. In addition, many Amish families rely on traditional cooking methods, such as wood stoves and cast-iron skillets, which add to the unique flavor of their dishes.

Dietary RestrictionsAllowed Foods
No alcoholWater, milk, and fruit juices
No caffeineDecaffeinated tea and coffee
No smokingN/A
No recreational drugsN/A
No processed or packaged foodsWhole foods, fresh produce, homemade bread, and dairy products
Moderate consumption of meatLean cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and turkey

Overall, the Amish food choices and dietary restrictions reflect their commitment to living a simple and wholesome life. By focusing on natural, whole foods, they prioritize health and wellbeing while also honoring their cultural traditions. While they may not receive food stamps, their self-sustaining lifestyle allows them to provide for themselves through their own hard work and dedication to their community.

Economic challenges faced by the Amish community

The Amish community in the United States faces various economic challenges due to their traditional way of life and limited interaction with the modern world.

  • Limited access to technology: The Amish community has limited access to modern technology, making it difficult for them to keep up with modern businesses and farming techniques.
  • Lack of education: The Amish community places a strong emphasis on practical skills over formal education, which can limit their job opportunities and earning potential.
  • Reliance on agriculture: The Amish community relies heavily on agriculture as a source of income, which can be affected by factors such as weather and market conditions.

Despite these challenges, the Amish community has managed to maintain their way of life and support themselves through traditional methods such as farming, carpentry, and handmade goods.

Do Amish get food stamps?

The Amish community does not typically apply for or receive food stamps, as they believe in self-sufficiency and rely on their own resources to provide for their families. Additionally, the Amish community is exempt from paying into the Social Security program, which is a requirement to receive food stamps. However, there may be some individual cases where an Amish family may receive food stamps if they are in dire need and meet the eligibility requirements.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Amish community

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Amish community, as it has affected their ability to sell their handmade goods and interact with customers through traditional methods such as farmers’ markets and auctions. Additionally, some Amish families have been impacted by the loss of income due to job loss or market disruptions. However, the Amish community has also shown resilience during this time, with some families pivoting to online sales or finding new ways to market their goods locally.

Comparison of Amish and non-Amish poverty rates

While poverty rates among the Amish community are difficult to determine, as they do not typically participate in government programs such as surveys and censuses, some estimates suggest that poverty rates in the Amish community are lower than the national average. However, this does not mean that poverty is not a concern for the Amish community, as they face unique challenges and may experience poverty differently than non-Amish individuals.

Amish CommunityNon-Amish Community
Poverty RateUnknown, estimated to be lower than national average10.5% (2019)
Median Household IncomeUnknown, estimated to be lower than national average$68,703 (2019)

Overall, while the Amish community faces economic challenges due to their traditional way of life, they have managed to maintain their self-sufficient lifestyle and find ways to support themselves through traditional methods.

Availability of supermarkets and grocery stores in Amish areas

Supermarkets and grocery stores are not commonly found in Amish areas as the Amish people prefer to grow their own food and buy from local farmers. However, some Amish communities do have access to nearby supermarkets and grocery stores.

  • In bigger Amish communities, there may be a small grocery store or market that caters to their specific needs, often selling items such as bulk grains, spices, and non-electric kitchen tools.
  • Some Amish families may take trips to nearby towns to stock up on supplies, making use of modern transportation methods such as cars or hiring non-Amish drivers.
  • In some cases, Amish families will also participate in bulk food buying groups, where they can purchase large quantities of non-perishable items like flour, sugar, and canned goods at a discounted price.

Despite these options, many Amish communities still prefer to rely on their own resources or local farmers for their food needs. This not only supports local businesses and agriculture but also aligns with the Amish philosophy of simplicity and self-sufficiency.

To get a better understanding of the food practices of the Amish, here is a table comparing the typical Amish diet to the standard American diet:

Amish DietAmerican Diet
ProteinMeat, cheese, eggs, and legumesMeat, dairy, and processed snacks
GrainsHomemade bread, pasta, and cerealsWhite bread, pasta, and sugary cereals
Fruits and VegetablesHomegrown or locally sourced produceProcessed and/or imported produce
Fats and OilsButter, lard, and natural oilsProcessed vegetable oils and trans fats

As you can see, the Amish diet places a heavy emphasis on natural and whole foods, which is in stark contrast to the highly processed and packaged foods that dominate the standard American diet.

Alternative sources of food and sustenance within the Amish community

While some Amish families may receive food stamps, many others rely on alternative sources of food and sustenance within their community.

  • Gardening: Amish families often have large gardens where they grow vegetables and fruits, which they preserve and use throughout the year.
  • Farming: Many Amish families have their own farm animals, which provide them with fresh milk, cheese, eggs, and meat. Some also produce their own honey.
  • Bartering: The Amish community values self-sufficiency and often engages in bartering to obtain needed goods and services. For example, a family may trade homemade quilts or furniture in exchange for fresh produce or meat.

Additionally, the Amish community is known for its communal activities such as barn raisings and haymaking. During these events, everyone in the community comes together to work on a shared project and enjoys a feast afterwards.

Below is a table outlining some of the common foods found in an Amish household:

Shoofly pieA molasses-based pie with a crumbly, sweet topping.
ScrappleA type of breakfast meat made from pork scraps and cornmeal.
PreservesHomemade jams and jellies made from fresh fruits and berries.
Chow chowA tangy relish made from a variety of vegetables including cabbage, beans, and peppers.

While traditional Amish cuisine may not be for everyone, it is an important aspect of their unique culture and way of life.

Impact of the pandemic on Amish participation in food stamps program

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Amish community’s participation in the food stamps program. Due to the closure of many businesses and the loss of income, many Amish families have had to resort to food stamps to provide for themselves and their families. The overall increase in unemployment rates, especially in rural areas where the Amish live, has made the need for food assistance more prevalent than ever.

  • In some areas, the number of Amish households receiving food stamps has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic.
  • However, the Amish community’s participation in food stamps is still relatively low compared to other communities experiencing similar economic hardship.
  • This is due to the Amish’s strong sense of community and self-sufficiency, which encourages them to rely on their own resources and support each other during difficult times.

Despite the Amish’s resistance to seeking government assistance, the pandemic has shown that even traditionally self-sufficient communities can be vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances. The food stamps program has served as a safety net for many Amish families struggling to make ends meet.

According to the USDA, the average monthly SNAP benefit per person in 2020 was $131. Most Amish families tend to have larger households, meaning that the amount they receive is often not enough to cover their basic needs. This highlights the importance of community support, as neighbors and family members often pitch in to provide assistance and ensure that everyone has enough to eat.

YearNumber of Amish households receiving food stamps

While there is still a stigma associated with receiving government assistance within the Amish community, the pandemic has shown that it is not a sign of weakness to seek help when needed. As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, it is important to remember that no one is immune to hardship and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

FAQs about Do Amish Get Food Stamps

Q: Do Amish people receive food stamps?
A: Yes, Amish people can receive food stamps, just like anyone else who meets the income and eligibility requirements.

Q: How do Amish people apply for food stamps?
A: Amish people can apply for food stamps by visiting their local social services or welfare office and filling out an application.

Q: Do Amish people have to provide a social security number to apply for food stamps?
A: No, Amish people can request an exemption from providing a social security number when applying for food stamps.

Q: Are there any restrictions on what Amish people can buy with food stamps?
A: No, the types of food that can be purchased with food stamps are not restricted, although certain non-food items are prohibited.

Q: Do Amish people see receiving food stamps as a form of charity?
A: It depends on the individual. Amish people generally prefer to be self-sufficient, but may view food stamps as a government program to assist those in need.

Q: How does the Amish community view government assistance programs like food stamps?
A: The Amish community generally has mixed views on government assistance programs, with some members accepting them and others preferring to rely on traditional communal support.

Q: Are there any unique challenges that Amish people face when receiving food stamps?
A: Yes, some Amish people may face challenges when obtaining or using food stamps since they may not have access to transportation or be able to use electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.

Closing Paragraph

We hope these FAQs have provided you with helpful information about whether Amish people receive food stamps. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local social services office or welfare agency. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and be sure to visit us again soon for more informative content.