What foods are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits?

unemployed_questionA) SNAP benefits can be used to purchase a variety of food items, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Bread and cereal
  • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat

However, there are also some restrictions on what you can purchase with SNAP benefits. For example, you cannot use your benefits to buy alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, or hot prepared foods. In addition, some stores may not accept SNAP benefits for certain items, such as non-food items or luxury food items like gourmet cheese or lobster.

It’s important to check with your state’s SNAP office or the USDA website for a complete list of eligible and ineligible food items, as the rules may vary by state.

Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Foods for the household to eat such as breads and cereals; fruits and vegetables; meats, fish and poultry; and dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
  • Any nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products and household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines.
  • Food that will be eaten in the store.
  • Hot foods

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