Thursday, July 18, 2024

Surprising Things You Can Buy With Food Stamps

More About Things You Cant Buy With Food Stamps Recipes

10 Surprising Things You Can Buy with Food Stamps

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  • Hot Food Items. Basically, the government doesnt want food stamp recipients to use food stamps at Olive Garden or to purchase pre-cooked items at the grocery store.
  • Alcoholic Beverages. It may be arguable to disallow hot food items bought in the grocery store, but this one is clearly agreeable, since the majority of food stamps go to help families.
  • Energy Drinks. So, of course alcohol isnt allowed, but what about Red Bull? The primary reason that energy drinks may not be allowed is because of the product label chosen by the manufacturer to conform to Food and Drug guidelines.
  • Live Animals. Since food stamps does provide benefits to purchase seeds, why not chickens for eggs or meat? The law is also very specific on this matter.
  • Pumpkins. A pumpkin is actually a legitimate item to eat, and therefore allowable, but only if it is listed as a food item and not decoration, whereby it would not be allowed.
  • Holiday Cakes. There are some further regulations that decide what you can buy in the bakery of the grocery store. For example, gift baskets that have both food and non-food items are not eligible for SNAP if the value of the non-food items exceeds 50 percent of the purchase price.

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Food Stamps Can Even Pay For Gift Baskets Cakes And Some Junk Food

Maybe surprisingly, holiday gift baskets, stockings and tins can be purchased using SNAP benefits so long as the food value of the items is clearly worth more than 50% of the purchase price. A large stuffed animal toy sold with a small box of candy would not qualify since the toy is obviously worth more than the candy.

However, a gift basket of meats, cheeses, cookies or snacks that also includes a small toy could be purchased since the food value clearly exceeds the toy value. An Easter basket filled with edible treats can be purchased but Easter baskets filled with toys cannot be bought.

Birthday cakes are covered by SNAP benefits if the decorations are minimal. The edible portion of the cake must make up at least 50% of the value. Cakes that include costly, extravagant decorations such as those often found on wedding cakes may not qualify for purchase as the decoration value may exceed the value of the edible portion of the cake.

While not recommended , food stamps will surprisingly pay for what is traditional junk food or snacks. An EBT card can be used to pay for junk food such as candy, cookies, ice cream, soda, chips and crackers can all be purchased with SNAP funds even though may lack significant nutritional value.

Hot Prepared Food: No

Convenience often comes at an extra cost, and the Food and Nutrition Service doesn’t want to foot that bill. Hot foods and prepared food items meant to be consumed immediately or on the premises cannot be purchased with an EBT card. So, rotisserie chicken is a no-go, as are shrimp and seafood that has been steamed or fried, and stews, soups, and chili. Cold deli foods, including sliced lunchmeat, packaged sandwiches, salads, and sushi rolls, however, should be fine .

If you want to make food purchases at a gas station or convenience store, you can, but you won’t be able to buy food at your favorite coffee shop. There does seem to be some flexibility around whether you can use SNAP to purchase Starbucks items particularly canned beverages or packaged foods at kiosks within grocery stores or Target locations.

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Amazon Is A Great Place To Shop With Ebt

For years, Ive been telling you about how you can get . And its still true if you participate in an eligible program, you can get Amazon Prime for just $6.99 per month instead of the usual $14.99 per month!

Theyve even expanded the number of qualifying programs, so that you can get this discount if you get WIC, TANF or TTANF, SSI, NSLP, Medicaid, LIHEAP, EIP Cards and more. Its a great deal that saves a lot of people a lotof money so I highly recommend it and not just because Im an Amazon affiliate.

Since they started accepting EBT years ago, Amazon has also expanded their offerings to include thousands of products that are hard to find anywhere else, including EBT-eligible seeds and plants! Its a great place to shop with food stamps if youre looking for a convenient and easy check-out and home delivery process.

Toys That Look Like Food

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This cute Cotton Candy Color Mix Surprise slime toy is marked EBT eligible on Amazon, I think because it looks like food. Its $10 and the listing is littered with food keywords like lollipop and cotton candy, so if Amazon is relying on AI to classify EBT-eligible items this probably confused the algorithm into thinking it was food.

You have to read the fine print to discover that the Cotton Candy Color Mix is not actually food and should not be eaten.

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Games That Include Food

Some games have food elements, like this $26 Truth or Dab hot sauce game. The description says, This game consists of 250 questions that pit players against each other, burn bridges, and bring up past stories we were all trying to forget.

The hot sauce has a 10/10 heat level and is scored at over 2 million Scovilles, so this game is probably not the best family game night idea

Coffee And Tea The Kind You Make Yourself

You can use SNAP to buy packaged coffee not to mention creamer and that includes Keurig-style K-cups. You cannot, however, buy coffee thats ready to drink. If youre thinking that youll make your own coffee at home and just switch to tea when youre out, that wont work either. Tea, too, is limited to packaged and unbrewed because the USDA doesnt allow SNAP funds to be used to buy any hot beverages.

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Snap Food Stamps Have Some Flexibility That May Surprise You

Thousands of products are eligible for purchase with SNAP funds from the basics to provide daily nutrition requirements to fun foods that, though less nutritious, make life more enjoyable. Wise use of coupons, sale events and purchasing inexpensive seeds to grow some of your food can maximize your SNAP benefits and help ensure that you and your family won’t go hungry.

Can I Buy 5 Hour Energy Drinks With Food Stamps

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No, you cannot purchase 5 Hour Energy shots with SNAP benefits according to the USDA. A 5 Hour Energy drink is considered a supplement drink. You can determine whether an energy drink is a supplement or food item by looking at the label on the back of the bottle. If you see a label that reads supplement facts then its a supplement item, not a food item.

Although 5 Hour Energy drinks are not an eligible purchase under the SNAP benefits program, some food stamp recipients have purchased this energy drink with their benefits. This may be the case, but we do not want to encourage you to do anything that will jeopardize your food stamp benefits.

If you do choose to buy 5 Hour Energy with your EBT card, just understand the risks of misusing your food stamp benefits.

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Food Stamps Can Surprisingly Pay For Deli Purchases Seafood Steak And Pizza

Some deli food in grocery and convenience stores can be purchased with an EBT card. This primarily includes cold food such as packaged sandwiches, sliced lunch meat and salads. Hot foods like a rotisserie chicken or steamed shrimp and food meant to be consumed immediately or on the premises such as soup and chili can’t be purchased.

Steak, lobster, seafood and other shell fish can be purchased with an EBT card although they may be rather pricey. Similarly, organic food qualifies for purchase although it is typically more costly. Such purchases may not be the wisest use of your limited funds, but they are allowed.

Pizza can be purchased from take-and-bake outlets like Papa John’s or a local grocery store since the pizza will be cooked elsewhere. However, baked pizzas from places like Pizza Hut and Domino’s cannot be purchased unless the outlet participates in the Restaurant Meals Program.

High-energy drinks can be purchased with SNAP food stamps as an item if the label or packaging contains nutritional information. If the label on your energy-boosting beverage only includes supplemental information, then the drink is considered a supplement and, like vitamins and medicine, cannot be purchased using SNAP funds. Approved beverages include Red Bull, Monster Energy and Bang Energy Drink.

Hunting And Fishing Equipment

This one comes with an asterisk: *In Alaska.

Residents of the 49th state can use their SNAP benefits to purchase certain gear if they meet these two requirements: they live in a community with limited access to retail outlets, and they make a living from fishing and hunting.

SNAP recipients wishing to take advantage of this benefit must provide a statement that they intend to use the equipment to feed themselves and their family. Once approved, they can take advantage to purchase gear, which the state says includes nets, lines, hooks, fishing poles, harpoons, knives and ice augers. Firearms and ammunition are not eligible.

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What Stores Accept Calfresh Ebt Cards Online

You can use your CalFresh EBT card to make purchases online at Albertsons, Amazon, Safeway, Vons, and Walmart.

Additionally, Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons currently accept EBT online whenchoosing pickup at participating Drive Up and Go stores.

To find out more about how to purchase food online with your EBT card, see our post on How to buy groceries with CA EBT Online.

Energy Drinks Some At Least

Surprising Things You Can Buy With Food Stamps

You can use SNAP funds to buy energy drinks, but only if they meet the USDAs strict standards. If the energy drink has a nutritional facts label, it makes the cut, according to New York SNAP EBT. If it has a supplemental facts label, its considered a supplement and cannot be purchased with EBT. That means Red Bull, Rockstar and Starbucks Double Shot make the grade, but 5 Hour Energy, Bang Shot and Tweaker do not.

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Purchase Hunting And Fishing Equipment With Food Stamps

Lastly, fishing and hunting equipment can potentially be purchased with food stamps if you live in a rural area and you hunt and fish for food year-round.

These weird EBT eligible items mostly apply to individuals living in Alaska.The government has given this permission since they realize there arent many grocery shops typical in the rural areas of Alaska. Some states have also realized that fishing and hunting are ideal options for families to make the most of their budgets.

There are many states that let you receive a free fishing or hunting permit depending on the income you earn from food stamps.

Why Can You Buy This Stuff

Strictly speaking, the USDA says you can use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to buy any food for the household, but you cannot buy non-food items. Youre supposed to purchase food for human consumption only.

The law states, The term food means any food or food product for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, those foods which are identified on the package as being imported, and meat and meat products which are imported.

Now, there are some situations where you can buy items that arent strictly food. As we covered in another post, youre allowed to purchase seeds, produce-bearing plants, and even gift baskets when at least half the baskets value comes from eligible food items.

Thats the rule: at least half the value of the non-food item must be from the food.

That creates a bit of a gray area. Many of the EBT-eligible items I found on Amazon fall into that gray area.

However, some of the items I found were clearly mistakes. With a retailer as big and complicated as Amazon, theres bound to be glitches in the system. According to Amazons EBT question and answer section, The Grocery and Gourmet Food category on Amazon features pantry staples, shelf-stable food and household items available nationwide.

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Heres Which Restaurants And Stores Take Ebt Food Stamp Cards

You can download EBT application forms to see markets and stores near your vicinity that allow EBT food stamp cards. Unfortunately, Mine food stores dont currently accept EBT.

Can you get discounts on your online EBT snap accounts?

You can get amazing discounts from your EBT Maine food stamp card. You can get family discounts such as free admission to zoos, museums, aquariums, theme parks and so much more.

What Can Snap Buy

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Any food for the household, such as:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages and
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements. If an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase.
  • Live animals .
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
  • Any nonfood items such as:- Pet foods – Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.- Hygiene items, cosmetics

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Buy Grocery Items With An Ebt Card

Individuals and families can enjoy the SNAP benefits program by allocating an electronic benefit transfer card that allows them to operate it similar to a credit or debit card. This card accumulates food benefits provided to them by the government for a whole month. They can purchase everyday items and grocery products such as fresh bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables, packaged items, meat, poultry, fish, snack items, nuts, and dairy products.

Surprising Things You Can Buy With Food Stamps

SNAP pays for much more than just grocery store staples. Retail Credit Cards 101

Formerly known as food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is the most important anti-hunger initiative in America. According to the United States Department of Agriculture , SNAP provided food security to about 41.5 million people in 2021, with an average benefit of $218.14 per person.

Recipients use Electronic Benefits Transfer cards to receive funds and make purchases, and they can use those cards to buy a whole lot more than just standard groceries. Heres a look at some of the more unusual things that SNAP will pay for.

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Surprising Locations That Accept The Use Of Food Stamps

EBT cards can be used at butcher shops, meat markets, gas stations and convenience stores. Farmers markets in all 50 states accept SNAP funds although the market must be licensed to accept payments. Some U-pick berry farms also accept EBT payments. Read more on using .

SNAP food stamp EBT cards cannot be used to purchase food at wineries, liquor stores or other outlets where the sale of alcoholic beverages is the primary activity. Of course they cant pay for beer, wine, or alcohol too.

While you cannot purchase items from a local Starbucks stand-alone store, you may be able to buy your favorite Frappuccino, a canned beverage or packaged foods from a Starbucks kiosk located within a grocery store. The reason being is that items sold in that location are considered grocery items.

In many states, EBT cards can be used to purchase groceries online from Amazon, Kroger, and other online retailers. Any grocery store that has an online presence will accept food stamps. When browsing online, Amazon provides a list of EBT eligible items that can be purchased. Individual listings also state whether the product is EBT-eligible. Just add your EBT card as a payment method and use it to checkout. Other businesses accepting online EBT card payments in many states include Walmart, ShopRite and Safeway.

Buy Plants And Seeds With An Ebt Card

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If you are enrolled under the SNAP benefits program as a farmer, you are also entitled to purchase seeds and plants to enrich your farming business. These seeds that typically assist in growing household food items are allowed under the food benefits program. As a result, individuals can develop their fruits, vegetables, and other items for daily consumption.

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Who Is Prohibited From Receiving Snap Benefits

Some individuals are prohibited from receiving SNAP benefits. These reasons include:

  • Disqualified for failure to comply with work requirements
  • Disqualified for an Intentional Program Violation by intentionally making false statements, withholding information or committing an act that violates the Food and Nutrition Act, SNAP regulations or state law for the purpose of using, acquiring, presenting, transferring, receiving, possessing, or trafficking of SNAP benefits or authorization cards used as part of an automated benefit delivery system
  • Disqualified for failure to provide a Social Security number
  • Ineligible non-citizens who do not meet non-citizen requirements.
  • Ineligible because of a drug-related conviction after August 22, 1996
  • Fleeing felons
  • Residents of institutions
  • Students attending an institution of higher education at least half time, unless they meet certain exceptions
  • An ineligible ABAWD due to time limits OR
  • Disqualified due to failure without good cause to cooperate with TANF work requirements.

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