6 Surprising Places You Can Use SNAP Benefits

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  • More than 42 million people utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) each year to put food on the table.
  • At participating retailers, program recipients can use an EBT card to fill their carts with eligible food and drink items.
  • You can use your SNAP benefits to get food at big-box stores, farmers' markets, and more.

The grocery store isn't the only place you can use SNAP benefits.

For many Americans, it's a struggle to put enough food on the table. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a valuable resource that can help individuals and families afford food. Beyond using program benefits at the grocery store, you can also use your EBT program to shop elsewhere. Here are some of the surprising places you can use SNAP benefits.

1. Amazon

In every state except for Alaska, you can use SNAP benefits to purchase groceries on Amazon. Eligible items are marked as SNAP EBT eligible for added convenience. Delivery or service fees may apply when shopping for food essentials on Amazon. You'll need to use an alternate form of payment, like a debit card or credit card, to cover any fees.

If you are a SNAP benefit recipient, are on Medicaid, or receive other government benefits, you can score an Amazon Prime membership at 50% off. Instead of paying $14.99 monthly, you'll pay a monthly rate of $6.99. This deal can help you keep more money in your bank account.

2. Big-box stores

Did you know that big-box stores like Walmart and Target accept food stamps? In addition to using your benefits to load up on food items in-store, you may also be able to use your benefits to shop for eligible items online. This option is available in most, but not all states.

3. Farmers' markets

Some farmers' markets accept SNAP benefits. Recipients can load up on fresh produce when visiting participating markets. Seed and edible plant purchases are also eligible, so if they're available, you can also buy these items. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is working to expand program participation.

4. Warehouse clubs

SNAP benefits can also be used at warehouse clubs. If you have a Costco, BJ's, or Sam's Club membership, you can use your EBT card to buy food and other eligible items. For many households, warehouse clubs help to lower food spending costs. Buying in bulk can also reduce trips to the store and can allow you to stretch your benefits further.

5. Instacart

Do you prefer to get your groceries delivered directly to your home or save time by picking up your entire grocery order? Believe it or not, Instacart accepts SNAP benefits. All you need to do is use Instacart to shop with a store that accepts this form of payment.

Instacart has a limited-time promotion for those who pay for their orders with an EBT card. Through the end of 2022, delivery and pickup fees will be waived when using SNAP benefits on orders of $35+.

6. Gas stations and convenience stores

You can also use your benefits to buy approved food items at participating gas stations and convenience stores. While not all retailers accept this form of payment, many do. This is an excellent option if you live in a more rural area with limited access to grocery stores.

Some food items aren't SNAP eligible

Are you new to using SNAP? One thing to remember is that benefits can't be used to purchase heated, hot, and prepared cold foods. These items aren't considered staple foods, so they aren't accepted by the program. However, many other foods and non-alcoholic beverages are eligible.

How to check participating retailers in your area

If you're unsure if a specific retailer in your community accepts SNAP benefits, you can use the USDA's SNAP retailer locator to find participating stores in your area. This tool can make it easier for you to plan an upcoming shopping trip.

Using SNAP benefits to load up your cart at the grocery store is one option, but it's not the only place you can use an EBT card to buy food. With food prices continuing to rise, don't let these valuable benefits go to waste.

Are you looking for additional ways to save money? You're not alone. These personal finance resources may help.

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