Here’s What You Can And Cannot Buy With Your SNAP, P-EBT And EBT Cards

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Food benefits have made major news recently due to the SNAP benefits program receiving a nationwide increase from the Biden Administration. If you’re considering applying for these benefits or are already receiving them, you might have questions about how to spend them and how they work. Here’s what you need to know: 

This article will answer the following questions about SNAP, P-EBT, and EBT: 

What can I buy with my SNAP, P-EBT, and EBT?

Which stores can I use my EBT card at and how can I find them?

When do I have to use the benefits on my EBT card?

How do I know how much money I have left on my card?

Can I shop online with my EBT card?

What can I buy with my SNAP, P-EBT, and EBT?

According to the USDA, foods that can be bought with these food benefits include:

  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Meat, poultry, and fish;
  • Dairy products;
  • Breads and cereals;
  • Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages; and 
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat. 

According to the USDA, these foods cannot be purchased with SNAP, P-EBT, and EBT:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements (any item with a Supplement Facts label)
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store)
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale (pre-made foods)
  • Any nonfood items such as:
    • Pet foods
    • Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies
    • Hygiene items, cosmetics

Which stores can I use my EBT card at and how can I find them?

Click here to find stores that accept SNAP/EBT in your area. After entering your zip code, you will find a list of stores from 0-25 miles away. These include convenience stores, grocery stores, Dollar Tree and Walmarts. 

When do I have to use the benefits on a P-EBT card?

WIth PEBT, SNAP, or EBT benefits, you do not need to use the entire balance on your card during the month you received them. Any unused money will roll over to the next month. If your benefits end for whatever reason, you will still have the right to use the remaining balance on your card. If you do not use the money on your card for an entire year, the benefits will permanently be removed from your account. 

How do I know how much money I have left on my card?

There are multiple ways to check your balance including:

  • Checking your latest receipt – it should be printed there
  • Check on your online EBT cardholder portal – there should be information on the back of your card 
  • Call the customer service number for your state – see below

Note: Each state is different and has different online portals, phone numbers, and contact information. 

Arizona Customer Service (888) 997-9333

California Customer Service (877) 328-9677

Nevada Customer Service (866)-281-2443

New York Customer Service (888)-328-6399

Texas Customer Service (877)-777-7328

Can I shop online with my P-EBT card?

Yes! Most major retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, and Aldi allow you to shop online for pickup or delivery using your EBT/PEBT card. You can check with individual retailers via their website. You can even use your EBT card in the grocery delivery app, InstaCart.
For more information on who is eligible to receive these food benefits and how to apply for them, click here.

Thalia Carrillo is a writer based in Austin, TX. She moved from her hometown of El Paso, TX to pursue a journalism degree at The University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys covering politics and pop culture and has a passion for social justice, digital storytelling, plants, and specialty coffee!