If you are new to the SNAP program and are wondering if you can use your food stamps to buy beer, I have bad news for you. You can’t buy beer with your food stamps. In fact, you can’t buy any liquor using your food stamps.
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What Can You Buy With Your EBT Card?
Your SNAP benefits apply to food. This includes items like:
- Meat, fish and poultry
- Breads and cereals
- Fruit and vegetables
- Dairy products
- Seeds and plants that you can grow food from
What Can You Not Buy With Your EBT Card?
You cannot use your food stamps for non-food as well as certain food items.
Non Food items that you can’t buy with food stamps
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- Vitamins and medicines
- Pet food
- Paper products, including toilet paper
- Household supplies
Food Items That You Can’t Buy With Food Stamps
- Food that you plan to eat in the store
- Hot food
- Any food available in liquor stores, wineries, or any place that sells alcoholic beverages
What Happens If You Use Your EBT Card To Buy Beer?
If you try to swipe your EBT card at the till it will be rejected. The payment will not go through since alcohol bar codes will not register. The same thing will happen with any other prohibited item like cigarettes. So, don’t take a chance and offer your EBT card to pay for wine, beer or any other liquor. Your EBT card is programmed to recognize the purchase and reject it.
What Happens If Your EBT Card Was Accepted For A Prohibited Item Like Alcohol?
It is illegal to use your SNAP benefits for any kind of alcohol. In some states, you could be charged with a felony, and if found guilty, you could receive a fine or a jail sentence. States take welfare fraud very seriously and don’t tolerate it.
In addition, people found guilty of using their EBT cards for forbidden items will be disqualified from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Also, you’ll have to pay back the money that was used to make the illegal purchase.
Some states employ mystery shoppers to monitor stores and their customers. They enter the stores and check if anybody is abusing their EBT funds. They can let the authorities know or even arrest violators.
Is There Any Way That An EBT Card Can Be Used To Buy Alcohol?
It may be possible to use your EBT card to purchase alcohol under two special conditions.
- The EBT card holds other funds
An EBT card may have funds from different sources loaded on it. These can include state tax refunds, child support collections, supplemental Security income, aid to the needy elderly and blind, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, and more.
The spending of these funds may not be restricted. It’s funds that belong to the cardholder and can be spent according to the wishes of the recipient of the funds.
- EBT cash option
If your state offers cash assistance, you can use it to pay for any items. First, use your card to pay for food items and then use the cash side of your card to pay for items like alcohol. The only thing that will happen if you do this, is you will have less cash on your card to pay for stuff later in the month.
However, please note, not all states have this arrangement. For instance, the state of Ohio does not offer an EBT cash option on EBT cards. The state of Ohio provides a separate card to pay for items like medicine that cannot be paid for with an EBT card.
How To Get Cash From Your EBT Card
Keep in mind that you have to be registered for this service with the county you live in. If you are not, your card will be declined for this service.
What You Need To Know
You can’t buy beer or any other alcohol with your EBT card. It is illegal and you can get fined or even a prison sentence if you try to do it. Some states support cash on EBT cards, but most don’t.
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