Food stamp payments, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, have largely been sent out for the month of February. SNAP is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program, helping millions of low-income Americans supplement their household’s monthly food budget.
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February’s payment should be the same as previous months, depending on your state’s SNAP schedule. The U.S. Department of Agriculture pays for the full cost of SNAP benefits and splits the cost of administering the program with each state and territory. Each state and U.S. territory has its own monthly deposit schedule for when payments are made.
If you are eligible for SNAP benefits, they will be deposited monthly into your SNAP account. Payments are now made with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards instead of food stamps, although some states might have a different name for the cards.
EBT cards are linked to SNAP accounts. Cards can be swiped at checkout in grocery stores, major retailers and other outlets, similar to debit cards. You will need to enter your PIN to complete the transaction. Depending on your state, you might also be able to purchase eligible foods online at participating retailers. Visit the USDA page to see which retailers accept online EBT payments.
To find out when you’ll receive your February 2023 payment, the USDA provides information on monthly payment schedules for all states and territories. In most states, payment dates are staggered throughout the month based on SNAP case numbers, last names or Social Security numbers. The payment schedule is usually the same every month.
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In very rare cases, all recipients get payments on the same date, such as in Alaska, which makes SNAP benefits available on the first day of every month for all recipients. In more populous states like Florida, benefits might be paid on 20 different days. States also have different rules regarding payment days that fall on weekends or holidays.
SNAP benefits can be used to purchase the following food items:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Dairy products
- Breads and cereals
- Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat
Among the items you can’t buy with SNAP benefits are alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, vitamins, medicines, supplements, live animals, pet foods, cleaning supplies, paper products and cosmetics. In most states, you also can’t buy hot meals. The exceptions are states that have signed up for the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program, including Alaska, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island and Virginia.
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You can apply for SNAP through your state’s local SNAP office or on its website. You can also visit SNAP’s Application and Local Office Locators page to learn how to apply in your state. To get SNAP benefits, you must apply in the state in which you currently reside and you must meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits. Depending on your state, there may be additional requirements.
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