Participation in the U.S. Room of Agriculture"s Supplemental Nutrition help Program — better known together SNAP and also formerly recognized as food stamps — surged last year together the pandemic take it hold. The USDA reports the the program serves more than 42 million people.

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SNAP beneficiaries can now look forward to a major boost in monthly spending allowances. Beginning on Oct. 1, benefits will be increased to much more than 25% above pre-pandemic levels. This is a irreversible adjustment, put in ar as pandemic relief is set to expire at the finish of September, and also will press the typical monthly advantage to about $157 per human (exact amounts vary through state; check out the estimated benefits for your regional area.)

If you"re amongst those brand-new to food help programs and unfamiliar with just how they work, here"s a quick yet substantial list of what girlfriend can and can"t buy utilizing SNAP benefits.

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Groceries for distribution or Pickup: Yes

The days when food stamps were spread in the kind of physical vouchers are long gone. Recently SNAP benefits space loaded onto electronic Benefits move cards that work as with debit cards. EBT cards deserve to be swiped in grocery stores or at other designated clues of sale.

SNAP recipients can additionally use your EBT cards come order groceries digital for shipment and/or pickup in ~ a variety of stores, thanks to an online purchasing pilot program. In response to enhanced safety concerns about in-person shopping during the pandemic, 47 states and the ar of Columbia have actually signed ~ above to take part in the pilot.

Many stores job-related with well-known grocery organization Instacart to meet orders (and now shoppers paying through EBT SNAP at select retailers can get cost-free delivery or pickup on their very first three orders of $35 or more). Amazon likewise offers grocery distribution with EBT, and also covers shoppers in every participating states other than Hawaii. SNAP beneficiaries are eligible for discounted Amazon element membership.

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Government guidelines are strict: The Supplemental Nutrition assistance Program gives food for human being in need. This way you deserve to buy fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, poultry, dairy products products, breads and also cereals, infant food and formula, and also non-alcoholic beverages through your EBT card. Non-food items, however, are prohibited. Amongst the everyday grocery items you can"t buy space cleaning supplies, paper products, and also household supplies.

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Hygiene items like soaps, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, and also cosmetics can"t be purchased making use of SNAP. Baby wipes and also diapers aren"t SNAP default either, nor space they extended under the Women, Infants, and also Children program, better known as WIC. Although advocates have long tried come implement commonwealth programs to deal with diaper needs, only households living below the commonwealth poverty level currently receive money that can be used to buy baby diapers. The nationwide Diaper financial institution Network works v manufacturers and also community institutions to provide totally free diapers to parental in need.