Does Amazon Accept Food Stamps in 2021?

We get the question "does Amazon take Food Stamps" and here's what you need to know!

Date Published: November 19, 2021
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Ah, Amazon.

The earth’s most customer-centric ‘Everything Store’ that’s as polarizing as it is revolutionary.

It started as a small online bookstore in Bezos’ garage, but since then Amazon has grown to become the world’s most valuable retail behemoth with more than $380 billion dollars in assets and 1.4 million employees delivering 2 billion packages from 185 fulfillment centers around the world every year.

From same-day free shipping, one-click ordering, and personalized recommendations, to package pick-ups, in-home deliveries, voice shopping with Alexa and check-out free stores, Amazon continues to innovate, redefine and reinvent the way we shop. 

With a diverse inventory of over 12 million products from 36 different categories, Amazon offers next-day shipping, competitive prices, no hassle returns, convenient checkouts and vast records of customer reviews.

Amazon is nothing short of a shopper’s paradisefor those who can afford it.

But what does Amazon have in store for the millions of Americans who have been laid off due to the pandemic and are now on welfare to make sure their kids don’t go to bed hungry?

Or the elderly and the disabled who might benefit most from Amazon’s fast, convenient and affordable delivery?

If you’re one of the 44 million Americans who currently receive the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, you might be wondering if you can redeem your benefits on Amazon through your Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.

Keep reading to find out!

SNAP amazon

 

Does Amazon Accept Food Stamps?

Yes, Amazon Does Accept Food Stamps on SNAP-eligible grocery items made through a valid EBT card issued in all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana and Montana.

However, SNAP beneficiaries can only purchase SNAP-eligible items labelled as ‘sold and shipped by Amazon’ on Amazon.com grocery or Amazon Fresh.

This means that you can’t purchase items sold by third party sellers on Amazon.

A Prime membership isn’t required to shop with your EBT card at Amazon, but only Prime members can enjoy free same-day shipping with no minimum spend on top of other perks like free movie streaming, rewards, and exclusive deals for only $12.99 per month.

Non-member SNAP beneficiaries can receive free shipping with a minimum spend of $35. 

Amazon started accepting EBT payments in 2019 as a proud partner of the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot Program

The online purchasing pilot hopes to remove barriers and expand access to quality, nutritious foods to low-income households on government assistance, especially those living in food deserts. 

For too long, SNAP recipients have been excluded from enjoying the convenience of home deliveries, but due to the USDA’s partnership with Amazon and other online retailers, 1.8 million families have shopped for their SNAP-eligible groceries online as of April 2021. 

This program has proved to be an especially vital resource during the pandemic.

How Do You Use Your Food Stamps on Amazon?

Does Amazon Accept food Stamps

To shop at Amazon using your EBT card, the first thing you need to do is apply for SNAP benefits in a participating state.

When you meet the eligibility criteria set by the government, you will receive an EBT card that comes with a 4-digit pin number.

Your SNAP benefits are deposited at the beginning of each month in your EBT card, which you can then use like a normal debit card.

The amount you receive depends on your income and the size of your household. 

On average, each beneficiary receives $121 per month. 

Next, proceed by creating a personal Amazon account if you don’t have one yet, and then simply add your EBT card as a payment method. 

You can do this by heading over to ‘My Accounts’ and selecting ‘Your Payments’.

Enter your EBT card information, and click save.

If you live in an eligible state, you’re good to go shopping for your SNAP-eligible grocery items on either Amazon.com grocery or Amazon Fresh.

Add your SNAP-eligible items to your shopping cart; feel free to include non-SNAP items to your cart, but you will need another payment method to pay for them. 

It’s also important to note that shipping fees for items bought on Amazon.com grocery and Amazon Fresh are calculated separately, and aren’t covered by SNAP.

During check-out, enter your 4-digit pin to pay for your SNAP items, after which, you will see the remaining amount to cover with another payment method, if any.

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is a subsidiary of Amazon that offers delivery services to Prime members and SNAP beneficiaries in select areas. 

With Amazon Fresh, you can choose from a massive selection of grocery items, including fresh produce, meat products, cheeses, canned products and pantry staples. 

SNAP beneficiaries can receive free same-day or next-day shipping provided that they meet a minimum spend of $35 ($50 in New York). 

If you are unable to meet the minimum, you will be charged up to $8 in delivery fees out-of-pocket.

Amazon.com Grocery 

If you’ve ordered toilet paper from Amazon at some point, ordering groceries works exactly the same way. 

Unlike Amazon Fresh, Amazon.com grocery offers only nonperishable goods, including snacks, beverages, breakfast foods, canned products and pantry staples.

Amazon.com grocery also carries prepared foods through Whole Foods, but these are not eligible for SNAP purchase. 

For free deliveries, you have to be a Prime member or spend a minimum of $25. 

What Items are Eligible For Purchase with Food Stamps on Amazon?

Although Amazon.com grocery and Amazon Fresh offer a complete range of grocery items, SNAP recipients are only allowed to purchase items labelled as ‘sold and shipped by Amazon’ according to USDA requirements.

This is because third party sellers on Amazon may have different offers and may not be authorized to take EBT payments.

SNAP items you can purchase include:

  • Fruits, vegetables
  • Meat, poultry
  • Seafood
  • Dairy products
  • Breads, cereals
  • Canned goods
  • Snack items
  • Seeds 
  • Non-alcoholic beverages

What Items are Not Eligible for Purchase With Food Stamps on Amazon?

Food stamps on amazon

These are the items that you can’t purchase with food stamps:

  • Tobacco, cigarettes
  • Alcohol, liquor
  • Vitamins, medicines
  • Personal care products
  • Household products
  • Baby supplies
  • Pet supplies
  • Non-nutritional energy drinks
  • Hot, prepared meals
  • Amazon Prime membership and delivery fees
  • Items sold by third party sellers

Can You Use Food Stamps to Purchase Grocery Items In-Store at Amazon Fresh?

Yes, you can use your EBT card to purchase SNAP-eligible items at Amazon Fresh physical stores.

Shopping in-store is a good idea if you want to avoid paying delivery and membership fees. 

Amazon Fresh currently operates stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, New Jersey and Washington D.C, but with more than 20 physical stores in the works, Amazon Fresh is likely to reach your neighborhood before you know it.

If you have never used your EBT to shop in-store, Amazon Fresh employees would gladly walk you through the process. 

What Other Government Subsidies Does Amazon Accept?

Amazon is an authorized Women, Infant and Children (WIC) retailer.

The WIC program provides low income pregnant women and mothers with children up to age 5 years with healthy foods.

If you are a WIC recipient, you can redeem your benefits on Amazon.com or Amazon Fresh.

You can purchase items like:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Canned fish
  • Produce
  • Baby food and formula
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter

Conclusion

For many decades, SNAP benefits have helped low-income individuals and families, as well as elderly and disabled persons escape food insecurity.

Since 2019, Amazon has partnered with the USDA to help expand accessibility to healthy, nutritious foods to SNAP recipients, especially those living in remote, low-income communities. 

Not only does Amazon offer a wide selection of competitively-priced SNAP-eligible grocery items, it has also lowered logistical barriers by offering low-cost shipping to all but four U.S states.