Key Takeaways

  • Approximately 248,000 retailers across the U.S. participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

  • Which stores accept EBT? They range from small convenience stores to major grocery chains and superstores like Walmart.

  • SNAP has even expanded its benefits to farmers markets, where you can buy fresh, healthy produce that’s locally grown.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest hunger safety net program in America, helping older adults buy the groceries they need to stay healthy and independent. There are approximately 248,000 retailers across the U.S. that participate in this vital food assistance program. These stores must comply with certain federal standards to take part in SNAP. They are overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure SNAP continues to meet the needs of the people who use it.

Which stores take SNAP benefits?

You may be surprised at the number of stores around you that welcome SNAP EBT payments. Use your card to access your benefits wherever you see the Quest® logo (even if you don’t see the Quest® logo, you may still be able to use your EBT card—always ask first). SNAP benefits are widely accepted for eligible food items at:

  • Grocery stores and supermarkets
  • Specialty stores
  • Farmers markets
  • Local food co-ops
  • Convenience stores / corner stores
  • Pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Walgreens)
  • Gas stations
  • Superstores (e.g., Walmart, Target)
  • Amazon

Nationwide, more than 80% of SNAP benefits are used at larger retailers. The USDA offers a SNAP Retailer Locator tool to help you easily find stores that accept SNAP EBT near your home.

Grocery stores

From neighborhood mom-and-pop stores to wholesale clubs and sprawling mega-markets, most grocery stores participate in SNAP. Here are just a few major grocery retailers that accept SNAP EBT cards:

  • Albertsons
  • Aldi
  • Big Y Foods
  • BJ's Wholesale Club
  • Costco
  • City Market
  • Family Food Stores
  • Foodland
  • Food Lion
  • Friendly Foods
  • Harris Teeter
  • Hometown Foods
  • Jubilee Foods
  • Kroger
  • Market Basket
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Sam’s Club
  • Schwan's Fine Food
  • Sprouts
  • Save-A-Lot
  • Shop N Save
  • Shop Rite
  • Stop & Shop
  • Trader Joe's

What stores accept EBT online? Some grocery stores now allow you to order and pay for groceries on their website using your EBT card. You can also use your EBT card with Instacart, an online grocery delivery service, to buy groceries at SNAP-participating stores for delivery or pickup. Instacart has waived the delivery and pickup fees on all eligible EBT SNAP orders of $35 or more through March 31, 2022. This only applies if you have a valid EBT card linked to your Instacart account in connection with your purchase.

Superstores

Large retailers like Walmart and Target are popular destinations for older adults who want to get their groceries, household goods, and other essentials all in one place. Both retailers accept SNAP benefits in-store for eligible food items.

Walmart has taken its SNAP participation one step further by accepting EBT payments online for grocery pickup and delivery orders in most states. All you have to do is visit Walmart.com, create an account, and download the Walmart app to shop and place your grocery order online. Grocery pickup and delivery are convenient ways to stock your fridge if your mobility is limited or you’re unable to drive.

Farmers markets

Did you know you can use your SNAP benefits at local farmers markets? Farmers markets are great places to buy fresh, healthy foods—with the added bonus of supporting community-based farmers and the local economy.

Some states even offer healthy-food incentive programs at farmers markets to help people with low income eat better while supporting the local economy. These incentive programs match SNAP dollars spent at farmers markets on locally grown produce. For example, Massachusetts has the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which gives SNAP beneficiaries $1 back on their EBT card for each dollar spent on eligible fruits and vegetables (up to a monthly limit). HIP retailers in MA include certain farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) farm share programs. Check with your local SNAP office to see if a healthy-food incentive program is available in your area.

What can you buy with your SNAP EBT card on Amazon?

If you're a frequent Amazon shopper, you'll be glad to know that the online retailer now accepts SNAP EBT cards in all U.S. states except Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Montana. Look on Amazon.com for items labeled "SNAP EBT Eligible.” Amazon Prime members receive free shipping on orders of any size. If you're not a Prime member, you can receive free delivery on Amazon.com grocery orders by purchasing $25 or more of eligible items. If you place a smaller order, you must pay a shipping fee, which will not be covered by your SNAP EBT card. In that case, you’ll need to provide an alternative form of payment to cover shipping.

You can also buy fresh groceries that are SNAP-eligible through Amazon Fresh. Amazon Fresh is only available in select U.S. locations. The minimum order value for free shipping is $35, or $50 in certain regions. Smaller orders will not be covered by your SNAP EBT card.

What can you buy with SNAP benefits at participating stores?

Not sure what foods are covered under SNAP? This program is designed to cover staple foods that people need for a nourishing, well-balanced diet. Food items eligible for purchase with your SNAP EBT card include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Snack foods and desserts
  • Spices, condiments, sweeteners
  • Drinking water
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants to grow food for your household

Your SNAP benefits can’t be used to buy prepared hot foods, alcohol and tobacco products, vitamins and supplements, pet food, cleaning products, paper goods, and other nonfood items.

Stretch your SNAP dollars further

SNAP provides critical assistance to older adults who have trouble getting enough healthy food to eat. A great example is Mr. Chang, age 63. Chang has a Social Security Disability benefit of $978 per month. After paying rent and bills, there was nothing left for food. Fortunately, his $204 per month SNAP benefit has changed that.

Now I can eat healthier," Chang told NCOA. "Not only does SNAP provide food; it provides mental relief and allows me to lead a more comfortable life."

Twenty dollars in SNAP benefits may not sound like much. But with some savvy shopping, you can boost your purchasing power and fill your fridge with healthy food. Here are some smart strategies for shopping on a budget.

Are you eligible for SNAP assistance?

Visit BenefitsCheckup.org and use our secure, confidential screening tool to check your eligibility for SNAP assistance. You can also check our SNAP Map to find contact information for your local food stamps office, where you can connect with program experts and ask specific questions.