“Where can I find places that take EBT food stamps near me?” is a question that many new beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may ask. This is a very important question.
In most cases, many local grocery stores, farmer’s markets, butcher shops and gas stations accept food stamps as payment. However, customers may only purchase with their SNAP benefits, and they may not purchase prohibited items such as alcoholic beverages or tobacco. Additionally, most customers are prohibited from using food stamps to pay for hot or prepared food items.
While finding restaurants that accept EBT as payment is not as simple as locating participating grocery stores, several food establishments in select states such as Arizona and California provide qualifying customers with affordable meals in exchange for their SNAP benefits. To learn more about how to find locations that accept food stamps as payment, review the information below.
Most places that accept EBT as payment include local retail food stores, grocers, gas stations, farmer’s markets and butcher shops. However, retailers must complete an application if they wish to accept as payment, and they must be licensed and authorized to do so.
To find participating EBT accepted locations, SNAP beneficiaries may use the SNAP Retailer Locator tool on the website of the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). To use the electronic tool, consumers simply need to provide their address, zip code or city and state to obtain a list of participating retailers and farmer’s markets in their area. As another option, program participants may download an Excel spreadsheet from the USDA’s website to obtain a full list of SNAP retailers in their state.
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For assistance in determining what stores accept EBT as payment, SNAP participants may contact a local food bank staff member, food stamp eligibility worker, or a volunteer in their community.
Consumers may purchase foods from any place that accepts EBT as payment, regardless of where in the U.S. they live. For instance, SNAP participants may use their benefits to purchase eligible food items from an authorized retailer in the state where they live, or they may use their food stamps outside of the state. Food stamp benefits can also be used to purchase eligible foods in the Virgin Islands and in Guam.
“Are there any places that accept EBT outside of the country?” SNAP beneficiaries may wonder. Currently, SNAP benefits cannot be used outside of the country, and beneficiaries who reside in Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or the American Samoa may not use their benefits outside of the area in which they live. For instance, beneficiaries who receive their SNAP benefits in Puerto Rico may not use their food stamps outside of the U.S. territory, and these same rules apply to residents of the American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.
While most places that accept SNAP benefits as payment vary depending on the state in which beneficiaries reside, popular stores that participate in the program often include the following:
While many places that accept EBT cards include major retailers such as these, smaller stores and other local establishments may also choose to participate in the program.
Most places that accept EBT as payment do not include restaurants or fast food establishments, as SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase hot or prepared food items. However, food stamp recipients who live in a state that participates in the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) may use their benefits to purchase prepared meals if they are homeless, elderly and/or disabled. Currently, only authorized restaurants in certain parts of California and the state of Arizona participate in the program.
For instance, counties in California with restaurants that accept EBT as payment include Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County. And as part of a pilot program, select restaurants in Rhode Island and Florida also accept food stamps as payment for qualifying beneficiaries.
“What fast food places take EBT?” SNAP recipients may ask. While customers may only use their SNAP benefits to purchase prepared foods from fast food establishments if the state participates in the RMP program, several participating restaurants in Arizona include the following:
Note: If you live in a state that participates in the Restaurant Meals Program, you may use the USDA’s SNAP Retailer Locator tool to find an authorized establishment in your area.
In addition to the many places that take EBT food stamps as payment, SNAP beneficiaries may use their benefits to purchase foods from participating farmer’s markets or directly from farmers. Additionally, customers may use food stamps to pay for groceries that are delivered to their homes. For instance, customers may use their food stamps to pay for groceries that are purchased from a participating grocery delivery service, but they cannot use their SNAP benefits to pay for the delivery charges. Instead, they may use their SNAP benefits to pay for their groceries, but they must use another form of payment (such as cash or a credit card) to pay for any delivery fees.
“What stores accept EBT payments online?” SNAP participants may wonder. Currently, several EBT accepting retailers such as Amazon, Hy-Vee, Walmart, Safeway, FreshDirect, Dash’s Market, ShopRight and Wright’s Markets are working with the FNS to develop an online pilot program for SNAP participants. While a launch date has not been set, the FNS expects to launch the pilot program sometime in 2019. Through this pilot program, SNAP beneficiaries will be able to use their EBT cards to make online transactions when purchasing eligible food items from participating retailers.
However, customers may only do so through a place that accepts EBT as payment, and only several states will participate in this online pilot program. These states include Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington.
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