Vermont SNAP Program Benefits
The Vermont SNAP food benefits program, or food stamps program, is referred to as the 3SquaresVT program. Beneficiaries receiving food stamps benefits can use them to purchase approved food items to provide three meals a day for themselves and their family members while struggling with a low income. SNAP benefits are calculated based on a program applicant's needs and the characteristics of household members. Once approved, a beneficiary will receive access to benefits for food stamp program through the issuance of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The benefit card food stamp can be used like a debit card at authorized retailers to pay for USDA-approved food items. To learn more about how the VT food stamps benefit card works, benefit calculation details and approved food item purchases, download our easy guide to SNAP. For a quick overview of Vermont food stamps program benefits, review the following information.
Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Vermont
The USDA sets the rules on the food items that can be purchased using Vermont food stamps benefits, and the unapproved items that will need to be paid for out of pocket by a beneficiary. Since the SNAP food benefit program was implemented to assist in nutrition for residents experiencing a low income, most food items are approved for purchase with benefits at authorized retailers. The types of foods that can be bought with food stamp benefits in VT include the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products
- Grains and breads
- Seeds and plants that produce food
Local grocery stores and retailers in the state that accept the food stamps benefit card are where the above mentioned food items can be purchased with an EBT card. Several participating farmer's markets throughout the state also accept SNAP food stamp benefits as payment, giving beneficiaries access to fresh and local produce and goods. Most restaurants cannot accept the benefit card food stamp, but some qualifying restaurants may offer low-cost meals to elderly, homeless or disabled beneficiaries and accept food stamps EBT cards as payment methods.
Items You Cannot Buy With Vermont SNAP Benefits
SNAP food stamps in Vermont cannot be used to purchase items that cannot be used as ingredients to prepare meals at home. The types of items that will need to be paid for out of pocket and cannot be purchased with a food stamp benefit card include:
- Hot items, or food prepared for consumption in the store.
- Vitamins, supplements and medications.
- Household items, cleaning supplies, pet food and cosmetic products
- Live animals or birds
- Alcohol, tobacco or any related products
VT SNAP food benefits cannot be used to purchase energy drinks if they have a supplement label instead of a nutrition label. There are no restrictions on using SNAP food stamps to purchase unhealthy food items like candy, cookies and chips, but beneficiaries are encouraged to spend benefits on healthy and wholesome ingredients. Furthermore, luxury food items like lobster and steak can be purchased using the SNAP benefit card, but program beneficiaries should consider purchases that will allow their monthly food budgets to stretch and provide ample nutrition for family members.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Vermont SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?
To receive Vermont food stamps benefits, an applicant must thoroughly complete the application, submit it to the Department for Children and Families, attend an interview with a representative and submit all requested documentation. Once all steps in the SNAP benefit application process are completed, the applicant will receive notification communicating acceptance or denial into the SNAP program. Upon acceptance, VT SNAP food benefits are issued with a benefit card sent in the mail. If the SNAP food stamps applicant is denied benefits, he or she will receive notification explaining the reasons for denial. The time it takes to receive notification of a denial or approval for SNAP food stamp benefits depends on how quickly the potential applicant can complete all mandatory steps in the application process, but usually occurs within 30 days of applying.
Vermont EBT Card Overview
SNAP food benefits in VT are issued using the state EBT card, which is sent in the mail upon applicant approval. The applicant must follow the instructions to set up a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) associated with the food stamps card so it can be used at authorized retailers.
Using the food stamps benefit card is simple because it works just like a debit card and is attached to the beneficiary's SNAP benefits account. Upon completion of a shopping trip, the beneficiary can use the EBT benefit card through the credit card machine, entering the PIN associated with the card. Once the transaction is complete, the amount of benefits spent at the retail location will be deducted from the beneficiary's SNAP benefits account balance. Each month, the food stamp benefit amount the beneficiary qualifies for is added to the account and can be accessed by using the EBT card. Vermont benefit card food stamp administrative duties, such as ordering a replacement card or checking the account balance, can be completed online or by calling the EBT customer service hotline.
Determining Your Vermont SNAP Benefit Amount
Not every Vermont SNAP benefits approved applicant will be issued the same amount of monthly benefits. Different household factors, including income, expenses and household members directly affect the amount of food stamp benefits allotted to each approved beneficiary. Applicants approved to receive benefits for food stamps program are asked to provide details about household member ages, disabilities and income contributions. Based on these characteristics and household financial information, the Department for Children and Families will determine the amount of SNAP food stamps allotted to the family each month. VT food stamps benefits applicants who have a low income and several dependent household members will receive a higher SNAP benefit amount than an applicant with no dependents and a more substantial income. Household adults who receive food stamp benefits may have access to job training and work-related education through the SNAP program.