Can you buy alcohol and cigarettes with food stamps?

Are you feeling thirsty, hungry, and in need of a smoke? Do you happen to be on food stamps? Well, the question that’s been bothering many is whether or not alcohol and cigarettes can be purchased using their food stamp balance. Fear not! This article will provide all the answers.

What are Food Stamps?

Before we dive into some serious talk about buying nicotine-infused products with your welfare benefits, let’s first clarify what they are.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a government program that provides eligible low-income individuals and families access to nutritious foods at an affordable price. The SNAP aims to reduce hunger and malnutrition by helping people buy groceries. It’s free money for poor people who don’t make enough dough (pun intended).

Are Alcohol and Cigarettes covered by SNAP benefits?

Contrary to popular belief -Gossip Girl style- the answer would be no, you cannot buy these types of items with your EBT card (formerly known as “food stamp”). These go-to products must come from another source of income since it’s considered illegal under federal law. Ding ding ding: improper use of funds

Federal regulations specify that weapons, tobacco products such as cigarettes or cigars or any alcoholic beverage cannot be bought under any circumstances unless we’re talking about cooking wine (which contains less than 0.5% alcohol, so don’t get too excited just yet chefs).

Here’s what every notorious liquor store across America says when a customer tries paying for booze with an EBT card:

“I’m sorry sir/ma’am , but I can only require cash or credit as forms of payment”

Many rumors swirl around this topic mainly due to presumptions spread through friends-of-friends gossip-like wildfire. Some accurate, some not so much. However, it’s our job to clear the air once and for all.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made an attempt in 2009 to restrict food stamp beneficiaries from using EBT cards for cigarettes or alcohol purchases. It didn’t happen(like a lot of things Arnie tried to do when he was governor….side eye) Regulating such behavior fell under state jurisdiction rather than control by the Federal Government; however, no other states followed suit.

Ubereats acceptance

Several online retailers have recognized SNAP as payment since their services are limited to nutritional value delivery only; companies like AmazonFresh and even UberEats accept EBT payments but can only be used exclusively on eligible items(but let’s be honest who orders apples on UberEats🍎) .

As we’ve addressed earlier, snap benefits cannot legally go towards beverages marked with stickers reading “contains alcohol”. This includes selling individual cigarettes or cigarillos that look more fashionable than actually useful/necessary (Put simply: cigars).

Even if exceptions were put in place giving consumers fewer restrictions purchasing mood-altering products (sigh, because sometimes life really is depressing), patrons would still need a decent cash flow supply. So while your financial score might make you feel miserable (gotcha) , at least one thing is certain —your weekly meals will always come through nutritious(& maybe egg-filled omelettes 🍳)

And now you know – it bears repeating – when someone lines up before you during happy hour and suggests paying with their welfare money… tell them it’s illegal…then order another round of drinks(dot).

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