Say if you retire early with 500k in saving but you lose all your income, do you count as low income and can get some sort of financial assistance e.g. food stamps or having that 500k disqualifies you for any assistance?

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    retire at what age? Is there a disability involved? Aug 16, 2021 at 23:16
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    The qualifications for federal and state food assistance are surely posted somewhere on the Web. What has your research shown?
    – RonJohn
    Aug 16, 2021 at 23:21
  • Well, if you have no problems getting other people to pay your food for you, it is less paperwork to sit at a street corner with a cup.
    – Stian
    Aug 17, 2021 at 13:41
  • Since you won't have employer medical, and assuming early is below 65 you won't get Medicare, you can qualify for 'assistance' (aka subsidy) on exchange-purchased medical insurance in the form of normal or advance Premium Tax Credit and possibly Cost Sharing Reduction -- those are based solely on income (AGI with some addbacks) not assets. Also FYI the program formerly and still commonly called food stamps stopped using stamps decades ago and was officially renamed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program = SNAP. Aug 18, 2021 at 4:29

2 Answers 2


You'd need to look into the specific eligibility criteria for each program you're interested in and for the specific state you're in. If you want to receive food stamps in the state of Idaho, for example, you're generally limited to 5,000 in assets in addition to a car. Other states and other programs will have different limitations.

That being said, it is pretty unlikely that someone with half a million in assets would receive meaningful amounts of cash welfare assistance in any state if they were able to work and just wanted to retire early. It is also reasonably likely that if you have a $500,000 portfolio that you're using for retirement that you'd be producing a reasonable amount of income in the form of dividends, interest, capital gains distributions from mutual funds, etc. It would generally be unwise to be retired and have your entire nest egg in early stage growth companies that don't pay dividends.

  • That link you provided has a more relevant point on it "Can I get food stamps if I’m unemployed? Yes, as long as you aren’t leaving a job or reducing your hours specifically so that you’ll qualify."
    – JohnFx
    Aug 18, 2021 at 15:46

Yes, by engineering your lifestyle and by being honest with your social worker, you can get food stamps with a net worth of $500k in many states [PDF].

  • Engineer for yourself an income near $0 by investing 80% of your money in non-dividend payers such as Berkshire Hathaway. The other 20% is cash savings for you to spend down. Don't realize any capital gains. Don't take on any interesting consulting work or part-time gigs
  • Sign a statement requested by your social worker, to prove that, by spending down your savings, you are paying your monthly bills despite having little income
  • Prepare to be underwhelmed by the food stamp allowance for a single individual with no kids

Here's a relevant forum post from early-retirement.org

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