Can You Buy Supplements with EBT? What You Need To Know

Supplements are a popular way to support health, but those using SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) may wonder if they can buy them with EBT. According to the USDA, it depends on the product’s label. Items with a Supplement Facts label are not eligible, while those with a Nutrition Facts label may be purchased with SNAP benefits.

Additionally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy live animals (except certain seafood), alcohol, tobacco, or ready-to-eat hot foods. Although vitamins and supplements are not currently eligible, there are efforts to include them in the future.

Purchasing Supplements with EBT

Generally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase vitamins, herbs, minerals, or supplements unless they meet specific criteria.

Using EBT for Supplements

EBT cards can be used to buy meal replacement shakes, superfood smoothie blends, and vitamin-enriched food products. Some retailers may mark certain vitamin drinks as EBT eligible. Always check with the retailer before purchasing.

Restrictions on Supplement Purchases

Supplements must be classified as food items to be eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. The eligibility is determined by the product label conforming to FDA guidelines: products with a Nutrition Facts label may be purchased, while those with a Supplement Facts label cannot. Retailers must follow strict guidelines when accepting EBT payments to avoid penalties or suspension.

Types of Supplements Covered by EBT

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Essential nutrients found in food that may require supplementation. Products labeled as dietary supplements with a Supplement Facts label are eligible; those labeled as drugs are not.
  • Protein Powders and Shakes: Often used by athletes, these are eligible if labeled as dietary supplements with a Supplement Facts label. Products labeled as meal replacements with a Nutrition Facts label are not eligible.

In summary, while many supplements are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits, some vitamin-enriched food products and specific dietary supplements may be. Always check the product label and consult with the retailer before making a purchase.

Navigating Retailers

When it comes to purchasing supplements with EBT, navigating retailers can be a bit tricky. However, there are some steps you can take to make the process easier.

Identifying EBT-Approved Stores

To find EBT-approved stores in your area, use the USDA’s SNAP Retailer Locator tool. Enter your location to get a list of stores that accept EBT benefits. However, confirm with the store that they accept EBT for supplement purchases before shopping.

Online Shopping with EBT

In 2017, the USDA introduced the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, allowing EBT users to buy eligible food items online from select retailers. While supplements are not currently eligible through this program, efforts are underway to include them in the future. Some online retailers do accept EBT for supplement purchases, so research to ensure the retailer is reputable and the supplements are safe.

With the right tools and research, you can find both local and online retailers that accept EBT for supplement purchases.

To learn more about the range of items you can purchase with an EBT card please refer to our comprehensive guide ‘What You Can Buy with EBT’. This guide offers valuable insights into the types of products eligible for EBT purchases.

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