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SNAP: Why don’t all grocery stores accept EBT or food stamps?

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program funding, known by its acronym SNAP and former name ‘food stamps’ is essential for millions of American families.

food stamps ebt why dont grocery stores take snap

SNAP allows families to afford health food and ingredients to make meals at home. Bread, beef, fish, poultry, dairy, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages are all included.

Gas stations, grocery stores, and many online grocers accept SNAP, or EBT payments.

Food Stamps: 500,000 people, $100 more in benefits?


Why doesn’t every grocery store accept SNAP, EBT, or food stamps?

Grocery stores must receive USDA approval to participate in the program. For those who want to see the SNAP benefit system expanded, the regulatory process to get grocers started is a challenge.

Part of that acceptance by the USDA depends on how many brands of products are sold. For example, a store needs to have three examples of any staple food category to qualify. So, if a store only carries one, then it wouldn’t qualify.

More than 50% of total gross retail sales must come from staple food, according to the USDA.


Stores would need to carry three of the following four categories of items to accept EBT payments:

– Bread or cereal;
– Meat, poultry, or fish;
– Dairy products; and/or
– Vegetables or fruit.

In poorer, rural communities there’s a strong argument for making sure all stores are EBT eligible. However, the SNAP onboarding process is a challenge for many small grocery stores. States like Michigan and Iowa are scrambling to extend SNAP benefits to assist families as they continue to struggle in the post-pandemic economy.

How do SNAP benefits work when inflation rises?

SNAP benefits increase annually based on inflation. Many advocates say that existing payments are not enough. They have called on the Biden Administration to increase benefits. Congress must take action in the coming months to change SNAP allotments before 2023.

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