Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly Food Stamps
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can be used like cash to buy eligibile food items from authorized retailers. Authorized retailers will display either the Quest logo or a picture of a Virginia EBT card.
A SNAP account is established for eligible households and automatic deposits are made into the account each month. To access the account, they will also receive an EBT Card, which will debit the account each time eligible food items are purchased. A secret Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required to use the card.
Items that can be purchased with SNAP include:
Food or food products meant to be eaten by people
Vegetable seeds and food producing plants, roots,
and trees for family consumption
Baby formula, diabetic, and diet foods
Edible items used in preparing or preserving food
such as spices and herbs, pectin, and shortening
Water and ice labeled for human consumption
Meals delivered to elderly or disabled SNAP recipients
if the organization providing the meal is authorized to accept EBT cards
Items that cannot be purchased with benefits include:
Prepared hot foods in grocery stores
Any prepared food (hot or cold) sold and meant to be eaten at the store
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
Cleaning products, paper products, toiletries, and cooking utensils
Items for food preservation such as canning jars and lids, freezer containers, or food wrapping paper
Medicines, vitamins or minerals
Items for gardening such as fertilizer and peat moss
Retailers will not give cash change on an EBT purchase. The EBT card will not allow a person to receive cash from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).
Food purchased with SNAP benefits is exempt from the state sales tax. However, sales tax is charged on the value of manufacturer's coupons that might be used in the transaction, and the sales tax must be paid in cash.
Example: An EBT cardholder's groceries add up to $27.50. She has manufacturer's coupons which total $3.50, to reduce her grocery bill to $24.00. $24.00 is deducted from her EBT account, and she will owe Virginia's food sales tax on the value of the coupons (2.5% food sales tax times $3.50 equals 8.75 cents, rounded to 9 cents). When items that were purchased with SNAP benefits are returned to the store, the merchant credits the money back to the EBT account. Cash is not given back.
At the checkout counter, tell the cashier beforehand that you will pay with your EBT Card. Depending on the store, you may need to separate the items.
Penalties for SNAP Program Violations:
You must not give false information or hide information to get SNAP. You must not trade or sell the EBT card or your PIN. You must not allow a retailer to debit your EBT account in exchange for cash. You must not change EBT cards to get SNAP you are not eligible to receive. You must not use SNAP to buy non-food items, such as alcohol, tobacco or paper products. You must not use someone else's SNAP or EBT card for your household.
Anyone intentionally breaking any of these rules could be barred from receiving SNAP for 12 months (1st violation); barred for 24 months (2nd violation); barred permanently (3rd violation); subject to $250,000 fine, imprisoned up to 20 years, or both; suspended for an additional 18 months and further prosecuted under other federal and state laws.
Anyone who intentionally gives false information or hides information about identity or residence to get SNAP in more than one household at the same time could be barred for 10 years.
Anyone convicted of trading SNAP for a controlled substance could be barred from receiving SNAP for 24 months (1st violation) and barred permanently (2nd violation).
Anyone convicted of trading SNAP for firearms, ammunition, or explosive could be barred permanently (1st violation).
Anyone convicted for trading or selling SNAP of $500 or more could be barred permanently.
Anyone convicted of a drug-related felony committed after August 22, 1996, could be barred permanently.
For additional information on program rules, federal regulations, income limits and retailer information visit the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture website: