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Everything to know about what you can buy and where you can shop with food stamps

Food stamps, or SNAP benefits, are widely used by using an EBT card, and where you can shop and what you can buy with food stamps is important to know.

produce aisle filled with grocery items eligible for food stamps using a SNAP benefits EBT card

Food stamps are given using an EBT card, which works similar to a pre-paid debit card.

Each month a recipient’s benefits are loaded onto their EBT card for them to then spend at participating grocery and convenience stores.

The reason it’s loaded this way is so it’s spent on nutritional foods approved by the USDA, and not other items or food not permitted.

Places you can spend your food stamps that may surprise you

Yahoo Finance recently shared the various places people could use their EBT cards and why these places make sense.

First is Costco, where families can buy in bulk and get the biggest bang for their buck.

Trader Joe’s sells an array of healthy foods and accepts food stamps.

Instacart is an option is some states, but not all.

You can check out every store and which states accept EBT cards as a form of payment through the grocery delivery app.

Family Dollar, though they sell more than food, will take food stamps for food products approved by the SNAP program.

Most farmers markets have started accepting food stamps and may even offer programs for their more expensive produce.

Amazon, the giant online retailer, accept benefits and even labels which products are eligible for EBT.

Sam’s Club offers the Scan & Go App using your EBT card as a form of payment.

Finally, Walmart and Target both accept food stamp SNAP benefits in store and Walmart takes them online for grocery pick up and delivery at most locations.

While knowing where to shop is important, so is knowing what to buy with food stamps

The USDA determines what items can be purchased with benefits.

The following items and categories are eligible for purchase using benefits

  • Produce
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Snacks
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants that produce food

The biggest thing most people cannot use SNAP benefits for is hot, prepared meals or drinks.

This means drinks like soda, slushies, iced coffee, or smoothies are eligible for food stamps, according to Yahoo Finance.

Hot coffee is not eligible.

There are also items ineligible entirely for food stamps

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Vitamins
  • Medication
  • Supplements
  • Live animals
  • Non-food items

In very few cases some may qualify for hot food purchases using EBT cards

According to GoBankingRates, a program called Restaurant Meals Program exists and allows for the purchase of prepared meals.

Only 7 states have this program

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

There is very specific eligibility for this program.

Not only must you live in a participating state, but you must be of a certain population.

This means over age 60, disabled, homeless, and/or the spouse of someone else who can use the program.

Learn more about states that are currently sending residents emergency allotment food stamps for the month of June.

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