Can You Buy Vitamins with Food Stamps?
We get the question "Can You Buy Vitamins with Food Stamps" and here's what you need to know!

Last Updated: February 16, 2022
Date Published: February 12, 2022
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Can You Buy Vitamins With Food Stamps in 2022?

No, You Can Not Buy Vitamins with Food Stamps.

Although vitamins contribute to a healthy lifestyle, they are not essential, nutritious food.

Vitamins are classed as dietary supplements, thus not eligible for purchase with food stamps.

Vitamins help to fill the gaps in your diet, even if you think you eat healthily most of the time.

There are points in life when the balance of vitamins in your body is irregular; pregnancy, post-menopause, 50+, or when changing to veganism.

We all need a little help sometimes, and taking vitamins ensures all our organs function as they should.

Vitamins are widely available; stocked in health stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, and online.

They contribute to the healthy lifestyle that SNAP benefits promote, so, we wondered, can you buy vitamins with food stamps?

Please keep reading to find out, plus some interesting facts about the USDA food stamp program and vitamin intake.

vitamins with food stamps

About Food Stamps

It was back in the 1930s that the government introduced food stamps.

They were paper tokens that could be exchanged for healthy food in the hope of building a stronger and more productive workforce.

Paper food stamps remained in circulation until 2004 when they were replaced by SNAP.

SNAP- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

SNAP is a benefit paid directly into an eligible EBT account that enables users to purchase nutritional food, drink, and seeds.

Only certain food groups qualify for SNAP purchase.

They include;

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Bread and cereals
  • Oats and grains
  • Seeds and plants that grow into healthy food
  • Some snacks and non-alcoholic drinks

Items not eligible for food stamp payment include;

  • Household, non-food items
  • Alcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco
  • Vitamins, supplements, and medicines
  • Personal hygiene products and cosmetics
  • Hot food – with the exemption of some registered homeless, elderly, and disabled recipients

What is EBT?

Electronic Benefit Transfer is an account into which the state Welfare Department pays financial assistance.

Those entitled to help; usually low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled, receive a magnetically encoded payment card.

The card is used in exchange for nutritional food in authorized retail outlets and some online platforms; Amazon Fresh is the most notable.

It has no cash value; you cannot withdraw cash or receive cashback.

Other benefits, such as WIC, that are paid into an EBT account, allow users to withdraw cash to spend as they wish.

Why Use Vitamins

Our bodies need vitamins to grow and develop normally.

We get most of the 13-vitamins from the food we eat, however, our bodies make vitamins D and K.

It doesn’t matter how healthy your diet is, your vitamin levels are affected by different factors; your age, lifestyle, time of life, and the diet you follow.

As your body ages and goes through changes, your vitamin levels might fluctuate leaving you with nutritional gaps.

Tiredness and muscle weakness are often symptoms of insufficient vitamins.

Our main intake of Vitamin B12 is via animal products, both meat, and dairy.

People considering a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle will need to add B12 supplements to their diet.

There are many reasons to take vitamins, including;

  • They are necessary for healthy growth and development
  • They help in energy production
  • They contribute towards healthy teeth
  • Improve bone strength, especially in the over-50s
  • Assist blood clotting after the skin is breached
  • Help eyesight; without vitamins, we would all see in black and white

Why You Can’t Buy Vitamins with Food Stamps

can you buy vitamins with food stamps

Food stamps help to promote a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet.

You might think that vitamins fall under this remit.

However, they are not classed as meal replacements but supplements.

Only nutritious food and drink qualify for SNAP payment.

There is a sure-fire way of identifying which products are eligible by reading the packaging.

Nutrition Facts

Labels with nutrition facts, including RDI – Recommended Daily Intake of proteins, fiber, sugars, and salts, appear on items that qualify for payment with food stamps.

They also show energy in carbohydrates and give a calorific value.

Supplement Facts

Look for wording such as ‘Natural’ and ‘Whole Foods’ on the label.

These signify products that are supplementary to a balanced diet and not included in the food stamp program.

Supplements do not have to detail their calorific or nutritional value.

The label might show from which plants the ingredients are extracted.

Where Can You Use Food Stamps

There are more than 248,000 recognized SNAP retailers across every state of the US.

Superstores, farmer’s markets, pharmacies, and convenience stores are amongst the places that accept SNAP payments.

To find the nearest SNAP-eligible store, enter your zip code in the online SNAP Retailer Locator tool.

  • Aldi
  • Albertson’s
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Whole Foods
  • Costco
  • Target
  • Safeway
  • Publix

Most of these stock a range of vitamins, unfortunately, you can’t use food stamps to cover the cost.

Conclusion

Many stores and online platforms stock dietary supplements, however, you can not buy vitamins with food stamps.

If finances are restricted and you need to boost your vitamin intake, consider looking for deals in supermarkets.

Dollar Tree and Aldi middle aisle sometimes stock good-value multi-vitamins.