In the United States, US citizens and legal non-citizens have the option of applying for food stamps. Food stamps have changed their name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and offer a set amount of money to spend each month on groceries for your family. It is a federal program set to help low income families get healthy food when they can’t afford them any other way. To get the benefits, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements such as being at a certain income level based on how many people live in your home, be disabled or unable to work in some cases, be a US citizen or legal non-citizen, and other requirements. The following goes over what you can do with your benefits, what you get, and how to obtain them.
What you can Buy
When you receive SNAP benefits, there will be a dollar amount put onto an EBT card. While it is free to use as you choose, there are only certain items that you will be allowed to use it for. If you attempt to purchase something not allowed, the transaction will be denied and you will need to use other means of paying for said items. However, you are free to use the benefits for bread, cereal, milk, cheese, fruits, vegetables, all meats including fish and poultry, and additional dairy products like yogurt and butter. You may also purchase fruit, vegetable or herb seeds to plant produce for your family.
What you cannot Buy
There are also items you are not eligible for purchasing with the EBT card. This is mainly because the food stamps SNAP program is intended to feel your family healthy and nutritious foods. They aren’t meant to purchase these items. Items you can’t use SNAP benefits for are cigarettes or tobacco, beer, wine, liquor, vitamins, medications, hot foods, and non-food items like toiletries, cosmetics, diapers, household supplies, cleaning products, pet food and treats, and similar items.
What If I don’t use all my benefits?
If for some reason you don’t use the entire amount on your EBT card at the end of the month, the remaining benefits will roll over to the next month. Once they roll over, they will add to your new month’s amount of benefits. You don’t have to use the total amount each month, though if the card is not used after a full year, they will be permanently removed from the card. The program is in place to help you buy groceries so you should have no problem spending the entire amount.