Shopping with SNAP EBT Card? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-21-2012, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We received our SNAP EBT card today & it just came with a small piece of paper that said we could buy breads & cereals, fruits & veggies, poultry, seafood, meat and dairy.  And then of course it said we could not buy alcohol, pet food, household goods...

 

The woman gave me a receipt with the current balance & said the register at the stores will kick out anything not allowed.

 

So...does this mean I can buy any brand of bread or cereals?  Can I buy organic dairy products & eggs?  What about cold cuts from the deli?  Box quick foods like mac & cheese or jars of peanut butter?  What kind of seafood is permitted?  We are in a tight place right now & have been using the credit card for groceries most of the time.  We would like to keep our food budget to the EBT card now & not go over that amount.  And for a # of reasons, I don't want to be at the checkout line with a pile of things that aren't eligible...

 

I can't seem to find any specific guidelines on the net for my state (NJ)??  I did find that there are no farmer's markets in my area that accept it but that's not really an issue since my brother has a HUGE garden every year that we can pick from whenever we want & since we are in a rural area, the regular stores carry a great deal of local produce once the season gets going.  


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Old 05-21-2012, 03:14 PM
 
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Here are the basic guidelines:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm

 

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Originally Posted by ellairiesmom View Post

 

So...does this mean I can buy any brand of bread or cereals?  Can I buy organic dairy products & eggs?  What about cold cuts from the deli?  Box quick foods like mac & cheese or jars of peanut butter?  What kind of seafood is permitted?  We are in a tight place right now & have been using the credit card for groceries most of the time.  We would like to keep our food budget to the EBT card now & not go over that amount.  And for a # of reasons, I don't want to be at the checkout line with a pile of things that aren't eligible...

 

The deli food is the only thing I dont' know about *for sure.*  I think if it is just sliced meat or cheese you are fine.  I don't think you can get prepared deli foods like sandwiches, chinese, etc... but you can (at least in WA) get take and bake Pizza (like at Papa Murphy's).

 

Any brand of bread or cereal.  Yes to organics.  Yes to box foods and peanut butter.  Any kind of meat or seafood.  Basically anything you eat (not vitamins or suppliments). 

 

In case you haven't already, you should also apply for WIC.  If you are eligible for SNAP, you are automatically eligible for WIC and that will help that bit extra (milk, eggs, cereal, peanut butter...).


 

 

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Old 05-21-2012, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thx so much for your reply & the link.  I had come across that but re-reading it more carefully did get a better sense of the dealio.  

 

In googling today, I think I have determined that yes, the deli sliced meats/cheeses are ok (which is good because I have a picky 4 year old who only eats Boar's Head low salt ham-uggghhh) but we can't buy anything pre-made in the stores.  That's fine though because we wouldn't be buying that kind of stuff normally anyway.

 

I am thrilled about seafood since we haven't been able to eat much of that in the past 2 years. 

 

I am shocked about soda & find it very sad that you can buy soda with Snap benefits.  

 

 

I don't know why they didn't mention WIC actually???  Now that you say that, I am reminded I applied for everything they offered.  We already had the Family Care insurance-DH got laid off 3 years ago & we qualified for that.  But because we had a small 401k left, we weren't eligible for any cash assistance.  It's insane.  We cashed out almost all our retirement savings last year to avoid foreclosure, finally sold the house, moved into a rental & then had to pay the taxes this year on everything we cashed out which meant liquidating more of the retirement savings, creating another tax bill for next year...not a great cycle.  Hope I can get back to a career asap so we can get back on our feet again soon.  I never thought I would want to get back to work this bad.

 

Thx again!!! 


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Old 05-22-2012, 07:11 PM
 
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You can buy seeds and plants too. I use mine to buy potted herbs.  I think I read you can buy fruit trees with it also.  Although not many stores that take SNAP sell garden kind of stuff.  I know you can't get hot prepared things like a rotisserie chicken.  I'm a bit unsure on prepared sandwiches.  I sometimes buy cold prepared wraps and sandwiches at the health food store and it's fine.  But I tried to buy a sandwich at another store and they told me it wasn't allowed.  Not sure which store is wrong. Some farmer's markets will take SNAP too. I was once buying gum for my husband and food coloring for dyeing wool and both went through!  Which is crazy because you'd think neither would be allowed.  Oh and some protein bars won't go through if there is too many added vitamins because then it's considered a supplement.  But almost any food item you'd buy at the store should be covered. 


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Old 05-22-2012, 11:07 PM
 
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Pretty much anything that isn't ready-to-eat (and that's loosely defined - Rotisserie chicken is considered ready to eat, but things like say Lunchables are not?) or has a label stating "Supplement Facts" instead of "Nutrition Facts" is acceptable. And as a PP stated, seeds


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Old 05-22-2012, 11:09 PM
 
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And if you do end up getting WIC, there will be certain brands you can get, you have limits (ex. no Full fat milk unless your child is 1-2, no free-range or "antibiotic free", etc) and most states will not allow you to buy organic anything. But you will receive milk, cheese, juice, fruits & vegetables, whole grain rice or bread, beans, peanut butter, cereals, and if need be baby food and formula.


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Old 05-23-2012, 03:07 AM
 
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for sandwiches, the answer is yes and no at least in IL. outside prepared sandwiches are good, deli prepared(made in store) sandwiches are generaly a no, though sometimes the division is whether or not the sandwich is hot, then it gets even more confusing, the Rotisserie chicken was a no now (at least in IL) is yes, but the potato salads and chicken pops/wings have always been a yes. Then Tax some foods count as food some count as high tax food(this is detemined by the local government) snap will cover the 1% food tax but no more, all very confusing because the local government can change the rules somewhat.

 

And I just have to add, for all the digs at soda being covered, not only here but everywhere, most people drink soda for the same reason a lot of people drink coffee and tea... caffeine, if I could make it through two jobs with out it I would but I can't and/or don't want to and if thats the one thing I can get for myself to make the work days go better then I think at the very least it shouldn't be regulated.

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Old 05-23-2012, 10:29 AM
 
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I had apple cider from the produce section not go through. Funny when juice, soda, Kool-aid, etc is ok.


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Old 05-23-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isisandshiva View Post

for sandwiches, the answer is yes and no at least in IL. outside prepared sandwiches are good, deli prepared(made in store) sandwiches are generaly a no, though sometimes the division is whether or not the sandwich is hot, then it gets even more confusing, the Rotisserie chicken was a no now (at least in IL) is yes, but the potato salads and chicken pops/wings have always been a yes. Then Tax some foods count as food some count as high tax food(this is detemined by the local government) snap will cover the 1% food tax but no more, all very confusing because the local government can change the rules somewhat.

 

And I just have to add, for all the digs at soda being covered, not only here but everywhere, most people drink soda for the same reason a lot of people drink coffee and tea... caffeine, if I could make it through two jobs with out it I would but I can't and/or don't want to and if thats the one thing I can get for myself to make the work days go better then I think at the very least it shouldn't be regulated.


Yeah, the sandwiches are weird here too. If you go in a convenient store and get a cold sandwich it is covered. If it is a hot sandwich, it is not. BUT you can buy the sandwich cold and then microwave it at the store and it's still covered. *rolls eyes*


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Old 05-23-2012, 07:39 PM
 
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you can buy any food item.  i do know that some brands of energy drinks you cant buy with them. not sure about atkins bars, slim fast etc.  technically it's food but every state had different rules, i think you can go online somewhere and find a list of foods that arent allowed
 


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Old 05-24-2012, 06:42 AM
 
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In my state, you can buy food off the salad/fruit bar. Papa Murphy's pizza is allowed - think take and bake items for treats. I have bought supplement teas, elderberry juice concentrate.

 

With regard to things not going through, one of our stores regularly has foods from the health food section not entered in the computer correctly and not  EBT eligible. When in doubt, ask! Seasonal or new items may be a computer oversight at the store rather than not actually allowed. Though one manager told me it was a long process to override and then two managers since then have spent less than a minute to force my card to pay for it.


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Old 05-28-2012, 10:20 PM
 
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I haven't had any kind of food I've tried to buy at the grocery store not go through. I know not to try to use the salad bar, but the pre-made salads they sell will go through for me.


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Old 05-28-2012, 10:26 PM
 
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I'm pretty sure you can buy any food item you wish. If that includes everything organic or a cart full of Skittles and soda and ice -- it's totally up to you.

Others have told you the only exceptions. like hot chicken or energy drinks... But really, I'm thinking anything goes that is edible besides a few items.

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Old 05-29-2012, 04:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

Here are the basic guidelines:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm

 

 

The deli food is the only thing I dont' know about *for sure.*  I think if it is just sliced meat or cheese you are fine.  I don't think you can get prepared deli foods like sandwiches, chinese, etc... but you can (at least in WA) get take and bake Pizza (like at Papa Murphy's).

 

Any brand of bread or cereal.  Yes to organics.  Yes to box foods and peanut butter.  Any kind of meat or seafood.  Basically anything you eat (not vitamins or suppliments). 

 

In case you haven't already, you should also apply for WIC.  If you are eligible for SNAP, you are automatically eligible for WIC and that will help that bit extra (milk, eggs, cereal, peanut butter...).

 

i thought you could only get WIC if your kids were under a certain age?

 

also, a HFS that i went in and tried to buy seeds at last year did not have them in the computer and were unaware that seeds were supposed to be covered. they did not override them and i had to take them off the tab. you may want to just call ahead to make sure they have it in the system if you don't want to be standing there while they check.

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Old 05-29-2012, 09:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meandk0610 View Post

 

i thought you could only get WIC if your kids were under a certain age?

 

 

 

Yes, it is only for Women, Infants and Children under 5.  The OP has a 2 year old and a 4 year old (based on her signature) so I thought it might be a good fit *for her.*  For older children, they are automatically eligible for free school lunch at public schools (so, really, WIC should go to under 6 so it would have an overlap).


 

 

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Old 05-29-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here...

 

We have done a couple trips to both Shoprites in our area & it was so easy.  Every single thing I had in my cart was good except of course toothpaste which I knew would not be covered.  I was able to get high quality cold cuts, organic dairy & meat/seafood & a few bonus things the kids picked out like Annie's Fruit Snacks & all fruit ice pops.  

 

I have gained a bunch of weight the past 2 years eating cheap stuff like pasta & am insulin resistant so that's not a good combo.  I am now back on my medication & eating low carb, high protein & lots of fresh veggies & in just a week, lost 6 lbs. & my daily blood sugars are getting back to normal.

  

I also found out the Walmart (I know, ick) carries seeds & plants & accepts the card so once I get my planters ready this week, I'll make a trip to pick up some herbs.  I already have tomatoes going & my brother's garden will have everything else by the end of the summer.  Too bad canning supplies aren't covered.

PS-On soda-DH & I have diet soda addictions hide.gif and we are really trying to cut it out for health reasons but it's easier said than done.  A cold can of diet coke is more appealing to me than a chocolate bar some days!!!  I just remember reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls & the reference she made to a 2 liter bottle of soda being cheaper than a gallon of milk & so that's what kids on food stamps in West Virginia were getting everyday at a year old...so that thought popped into my head when I realized soda was covered.  Adults can do what they want-I just hate seeing real little ones drinking soda.  


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Old 05-29-2012, 03:30 PM
 
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I am really happy to hear that things are working out well with the SNAP.  Having quality food is so critical.  A little off topic, but I have been finding some amazing sales at Shoprite.  As you start to catch up on the food supplies, you will be able to make your dollars go further by shopping the sales. 
 

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Old 06-03-2012, 06:30 PM
 
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I'm glad its easy for you... the only issues ive had is if something is on clearance (I buy a lot of my meats on markdown) sometimes it wont go through at first, because its not in the system as food, just as a clearance item, but a manager can usually override it

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Old 11-02-2012, 01:37 PM
 
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you know i was really struggling a lot with my financial situation as well, when i applied for the EBT program they didn't tell me about any of the other programs they had, of course one been WIC, but the other is a Food Bank ( they give you sooo much stuff i was surprised!) , I could not believe I was suffering for food when we have so much help for us out there at least for food, now I don't worry about food and the little money I do get from work i could now use for other bills:) 

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Old 11-09-2012, 05:53 PM
 
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In some states WIC is run by a different agency, so even if you applied for everything at the welfare office you weren't necessarily applying for WIC. I am a caseworker for the welfare office in PA and we don't administer WIC.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:50 AM
 
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Prepared foods are covered; just not hot prepared. food. you can even by bakery bday cakes and bags of ice too.


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Old 11-23-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthyMamaofDaisy View Post

You can buy seeds and plants too. I use mine to buy potted herbs.  I think I read you can buy fruit trees with it also.  Although not many stores that take SNAP sell garden kind of stuff.  I know you can't get hot prepared things like a rotisserie chicken.  I'm a bit unsure on prepared sandwiches.  I sometimes buy cold prepared wraps and sandwiches at the health food store and it's fine.  But I tried to buy a sandwich at another store and they told me it wasn't allowed.  Not sure which store is wrong. Some farmer's markets will take SNAP too. I was once buying gum for my husband and food coloring for dyeing wool and both went through!  Which is crazy because you'd think neither would be allowed.  Oh and some protein bars won't go through if there is too many added vitamins because then it's considered a supplement.  But almost any food item you'd buy at the store should be covered. 

 

you may want to call the store ahead of time. i tried to buy seeds at one health food store because we had been told seeds were covered but the store did not have them set up in their computer system. of course, they could not change that while i'm standing there. i had picked up a ton of seed packages that had been marked down and had to abandon everything at the register.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:21 PM
 
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I live in Idaho so it may be different for different areas, but I DO know that I have bought deli sandwiches, deli meat, deli trays at Walmart. When they say deli is not allowed they mean the HOT deli food that is already prepared, an easy way to remember what isnt allowed think about how you def. can't use it to go to Mcdonalds to get food, mostly bc it's prepared(partly because it's not too healthy lol)..but mainly the rule is just if its already heated. I have also realized you can buy extracts with it too, which helps me in making my homemade beauty products to save me money.  I'm not sure on food coloring I am going to find out soon, but I've heard a lot of people say yes on that one. 

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Old 12-06-2012, 08:16 PM
 
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and please remember that if you cannot tolerate cow's milk you can get goat's milk on w.i.c.


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Old 12-14-2012, 10:00 AM
 
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I have gained a bunch of weight the past 2 years eating cheap stuff like pasta & am insulin resistant so that's not a good combo.  I am now back on my medication & eating low carb, high protein & lots of fresh veggies & in just a week, lost 6 lbs. & my daily blood sugars are getting back to normal.

 

 

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I looooooooooove to hear about my tax dollars paying for stuff like this. It makes it a little easier to deal with the knowledge that so many more of them go towards the "war on terror." Thank you for sharing.

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