Can You Buy Ice With Food Stamps? [Learn The Facts]

Learning how to use food stamps, now known as SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) can be tricky. Food stamps are meant to buy food groceries for a household, but there are lots of items that can leave shoppers unsure. 

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Ice is one of those items. Is it classed as food, and will it be covered by SNAP benefits? Let’s find out. 

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Can You Buy Ice With Food Stamps? 

The simple answer here is yes, you can use your food stamps to buy ice. Surprisingly, a lot of snack food is covered by SNAP benefits, like ice cream, chips, and some energy drinks. 

Types Of Ice You Can Buy 

Essentially, you can buy ice in just about any form. This might include:

  • A single block of ice
  • A bag of crushed ice, or ice divided into cubes
  • Ice cream
  • Sorbet
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Slushies

This is because ice is technically classed as a “food” item. So, it’s covered by your SNAP benefits. 

What Can You Buy With EBT?

EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfers) is designed to provide nutrition to low-income American families. It’s most commonly used for SNAP benefits, or P EBT (Pandemic EBT). 

Most whole foods and ingredients are included in the approved foods list. With your food stamps, you can buy products like:

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  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, fish, and some seafood (nothing pre-prepared)
  • Dairy products
  • Snack foods 
  • Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, etc)
  • Nuts, beans, and legumes
  • Seeds (for planting and growing food at home)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
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The point of food stamps is to buy ingredients to cook food at home. You can decide what to spend your food stamps on. 

What Can’t You Buy With EBT?

Since EBT is designed to pay for food, it’s no great leap to work out that non-food groceries aren’t allowed. Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:

  • Household supplies
  • Cleaning products
  • Paper goods
  • Hygiene and grooming items (such as soaps, shampoos, etc)
  • Sanitary products
  • Pet food 
  • Medicines, vitamins, and supplements
  • Fast food or restaurant food 
  • Hot food, designed to be eaten immediately (such as rotisserie chickens)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products

Some of these products are self-explanatory. Of course, you can’t use your food stamps to buy alcohol or tobacco. However, you also won’t be able to use your food stamps to buy household supplies. 

While these supplies are essential, they aren’t food, and unfortunately aren’t covered by your EBT benefits. 

You can use your EBT card for grocery delivery services, but you’ll have to use your own money to pay for any delivery fees or tips.  

The Bottom Line

Most grocery items are more clear-cut than ice. Your weekly shopping will likely be neatly split into two categories: food and non-food groceries.

Some stores allow you to make multiple payments on one load of shopping, meaning that you can use your EBT card to buy food and your own money for any non-food supplies. 

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