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Food stamps: No hot food rule explained

Millions of Americans collect food stamps, or SNAP benefits, each month to help their families eat, but hot food is not allowed to be purchased.

hot prepared food that may not be purchased with food stamp snap benefits

Grocery stores have utilized hot bars over the years, and many offer full pre-cooked meals to bring home to your families.

You may not purchase these items with an EBT card, or any form of SNAP benefit.

This is not a new rule, but with hot bars becoming more common, people with food stamps are starting to feel angry that they are unable to use their benefits on them.


Payment schedule for every state

Rules against purchasing hot food with food stamps

The law on banning the purchasing of hot foods with food stamps was passed in 1977. This was under the Food and Agriculture Act.

Food is defined very specifically for SNAP purposes under the Act, and it would need to be changed by law with Congress.

The reasoning is that benefits are to be used for providing food for consumption, not for general purposes.


Income limits for SNAP benefits

The use of food stamps is geared for purchases like bread, cereal, produce, fish, meat, and dairy to prepare at home.

Hot food is also usually more expensive to purchase.

The purpose of benefits are to provide an adequate amount of food for a nutritional diet.


Food stamps: 18 states providing extra in February

Changes to the hot food rule and food stamps

Certain recipients are permitted to purchase hot food with their benefits under new rules.

This includes elderly, disabled, and homeless individuals that do not have the ability to prepare food at home.

Every state has to decide and then apply to provide the program.

It allows these people to purchase meals at a discounted price at restaurants.

During a natural disaster sometimes waivers are passed that let people use food stamps on hot food.

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