This guide will outline a list of eligible food stamp items that you can buy with your EBT card and SNAP benefits. This is what you need to know.
If you are receiving SNAP benefits each month from your state, it is important to know what you can and can not buy with your food stamps.
Some of the foods will be common sense, but others may be a little confusing. It is best to know what is eligible and appropriate before you go to your local store. The whole point is that families with lower incomes may not be able to afford nutritious foods on their own. So the SNAP food stamps are a way for these families or persons to be able to eat healthy foods.
The USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, established guidelines for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This is a daunting task to say the least. For instance, there are over 300,000 different food products available in markets and stores across the country.
What You Can Buy with EBT Cards – Eligible Food Items
Families and households can use their food stamps benefits to buy many different types of products. Some of these include:
- Breads and cereals
- Dairy products.
If you want to grow and produce food for the household, then you can purchase seeds and plants.
What You CANNOT Buy with SNAP Benefits
Things you can not buy with food stamps and are therefore ineligible for purchase.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Any non-food items, such as soaps, cosmetics, pet foods, paper products
- Hot foods that are ready to eat
- Any food that will be eaten in the store
What About ‘Junk Food & Luxury Items?
The long and short of it is this. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 defines eligible food as any foods or food products for consumption in your home. Once you get past the items that are excluded, it leaves you with a bunch of foods that kind of fall in a gray area. However, most if not all of the junk food and luxury food items tend to be eligible.
The listing of food items, although not totally complete, includes:
- Snacks, soft drinks, cookies, candy and ice cream
- Seafood, lobsters, steaks
- Bakery cakes
Are Energy Drinks Eligible for Purchase with EBT?
Well the short answer is, it depends. There are two different types of energy drinks marketed. The important factor is what type of label the manufacturer places on the drink to appease the FDA.
- Energy drinks displaying a nutrition facts label are eligible for purchase
- Energy drinks that display a supplement facts label are not eligible. (Classified by the FDA as supplements).
The food stamp program was developed to help fight poverty related hunger among families across the U.S. As you can imagine, some people try to abuse program benefits to purchase non-eligible items to circumvent the system. This is not a good thing.
It is unlawful to use your food stamps to buy anything other than ‘eligible foods’.
Make sure to use your benefits the way they were intended. You do not want to break the law. You would probably find yourself losing your SNAP benefits at a minimum. Worse, you may find yourself in trouble with the law.
. Implications of restricting use.
Q: EBT Card Defined?
We hope this list of eligible food stamp items that you can purchase using your EBT card and SNAP benefits has been helpful.