The U.S. food stamp program is designed to help the less fortunate achieve a better level of nutrition health. Food stamps can be used in place of currency at many shops and stores, often through the use of EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, cards. Food stamps can be used to purchase food and drink items, with some restrictions, and function exactly like cash when used, including getting discounts for coupons presented at the time of purchase.
What May I Use Coupons For?
Food stamps may be used with coupons to purchase unprepared foods and beverages. This includes coffee, carbonated beverages and cold sandwiches, but it does not include hot foods or alcoholic drinks of any sort. You may use food stamps and the associated coupons to purchase a cold deli sub, but you could not use food stamps to purchase a pizza hot from your grocer’s deli department.
What about BOGO Coupons?
Buy one, get one, or BOGO, coupons can be used in conjunction with food stamps to purchase allowed foods. This allows you to get twice as much value from your food stamps on products you use frequently, including canned goods and frozen foods as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
May I Use Coupons on Double Value Days?
As long as you are purchasing food-stamp-approved items, you are allowed to use any coupons that are valid for that product. Grocers who offer double-value coupon days will still double the face value of the coupons if you are paying with food stamps. Using coupons on double-value days helps you stretch your limited food resources farther, and that means providing better, more nutritious meals without spending money that you cannot afford to part with.
May I Use Coupons with WIC Purchases?
WIC vouchers are allotted to families who meet certain conditions, primarily women with dependent infants and small children. Typical WIC vouchers are for a particular type and size of a product, and you must stay within the maximum purchase price assigned to that product. By using coupons, you may be able to get the next larger size of a WIC item without being forced to pay for the difference in cost out of pocket.
Food stamps will not pay for nonfood items, even when a coupon is presented as well. These items include such things as clothing and housewares, prepared food items and such incidental needs as cookware and coffee filters. When these items are included in your purchase, the cashier will first apply your food stamps and then present you with an additional amount due for the excluded items you are buying.
- Alaska Division of Health and Social Services: How to Use Your Food Stamps
- Social Security Online: Food Stamp Facts
- South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control: Welcome to WIC
- Food and Nutrition Service. "SNAP Data Tables, Latest Available Month July 2019 State Level Participation & Benefits," Accessed Oct. 21, 2019.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average, August 2019," Accessed Oct. 21, 2019.
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "A Quick Guide to SNAP Eligibility and Benefits," Accessed Oct. 21, 2019.
- USDA." What Can SNAP Buy?" Accessed Oct. 21, 2019.
Roger Golden began his career as a writer in 2008, when he began writing weekly insurance and personal finance articles. Golden's work has appeared on eHow, USAToday.com, TheSpoof.com and his privately managed blogs, .modern Dislogic and Outdoors—Dixie Style.