What can I buy with SNAP benefits and where can I shop?

You can use your SNAP to buy food at all stores that accept EBT including large and small grocery stories, convenience stores, farmer markets and participating CSA. You do not need to have a stove or other cooking facilities to get SNAP benefits. You can also buy seeds and vegetable or fruit plants to grow your own food.

These are the things you cannot buy with SNAP:

  • Hot prepared foods to be eaten on the store premises or immediately (such as rotisserie chickens) or restaurant food
  • Non-food items such as pet food, vitamins, etc.
  • Paper goods, cleaning supplies etc.

See 106 C.M.R. § 360.100.

You may be able to use your SNAP benefits to make a voluntary payment for prepared meals at certain locations like domestic violence shelters and homeless shelters, congregate meal sites for elders or home-delivered meals for seniors. These donations are voluntary and may depends on whether the agency serving the meals is an approved EBT vendor. 106 C.M.R. § 360.120.

SNAP is a federal program that operates in every state. You are allowed to use your EBT card to purchase food out-of-state, and out of state SNAP participants can shop in Massachusetts. See Can I use my EBT benefits out of state?. If you move out of state, you should tell DTA you moved. Your SNAP case will be closed, but you can reapply in the new state and qualify if you are still eligible.

Advocacy Reminder:

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Last Updated January 2017

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