Serving up the Latest Trends in the Government's SNAP and EBT Programs

Mikhail Nguyen
Published Apr 22, 2024


Food Stamps have come a long way and actually originated during the Great Depression in Rochester, New York, in 1939. The program would reach some 20 million people, but by 1943, Food Stamps disappeared. The program was no longer considered necessary. Today, Food Stamps is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and is a nationwide federal aid program.

SNAP has evolved into something quite impressive. The need for nutritious food is essential for all individuals, especially for those struggling to make ends meet. Thanks to technology, the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows SNAP participants to pay for food using SNAP benefits.

 

Global Pandemic Brought on Food Insecurity


By October 2021, more than 41 million Americans enrolled in SNAP, and the statistics show that one in eight Americans were receiving food assistance. This illustrates how vulnerable many people are when it comes to basic nutrition and that food insecurity really exists. As for any fraudulence occurring in the SNAP/EBT system, the fraud rate has been calculated at only 1.3%.

SNAP participants come from all walks of life. In fact, about 88% hold a high school diploma or higher education. The program can offer a safety net to folks trying to better their lives, pursue their education and meet their nutritional needs.

 

Food Stamp Benefits Can Include These Grocery Items


If you're new to SNAP and curious about the kinds of food available to you, here are the facts. You cannot purchase alcoholic beverages, prepared hot foods or non-food products. What you can buy are healthy foods such as meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, cereals, grains and non-alcoholic beverages.

Each state is different, but the federal government has expanded the program to include the SNAP restaurant meals program (RMP). Fast food chains such as Mcdonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and others are participating. This is "prepared hot food," but most states do not recognize the RMP plan. Check your state to see if you can purchase fast food under the SNAP/EBT programs. By the way, benefits are paid on a specific day each month depending on your state. Your EBT card functions like a debit card.

 

Did You Know You Can Also Shop With Food Stamps Here?


Not every SNAP participant is aware of this, but you can also shop at locations other than a grocery store. For instance, in every state but Alaska and Hawaii, you can buy fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and dairy products online from Amazon. Also, Walmart and Target accept EBT cards for purchases there.

In addition, SNAP EBT payments are also accepted at Dollar Tree and Dollar General. Maybe your community also supports local farmers' markets. Some states accept EBT cards when you purchase fresh veggies, fruits and other healthy food products. It would make a lot of sense because the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs SNAP.

 

Recipients of SNAP Benefits Have Seen a Sharp Decrease, but Why?


Inflation has made it difficult for Americans to financially survive, pay their bills and eat healthy foods, and now this! Your SNAP benefits are shrinking, and you may have noticed this in March. On average, recipients have received $82 less a month in SNAP benefits. The federal government says it has returned to its pre-pandemic level and halted the extra benefits.

Folks are fuming because the rising cost of food has been a hardship for many Americans. When you consider that 80%-plus of SNAP recipients include working families, elderly people or individuals with disabilities, that's hard to swallow. Not only that, but two-thirds of SNAP households have kids.

 

Check Out Other Nutrition Assistance Programs That Can Help


The great news is that SNAP isn't your only option. The US government can also assist you with programs such as WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Also, for those who are at least 60 and qualify under low income, there is the Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. This plan entitles you to coupons for fresh produce at farmers' markets.

There is a hunger hotline, too, operated by the USDA. It will connect callers with emergency food providers in their community.



Food can be a struggle for lots of Americans, and you're certainly not alone.

Review the guidelines outlined above in using SNAP EBT for healthy, nutritious food.








 

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