Virginia SNAP food benefits are issued to program applicants who meet all eligibility criteria, including income guidelines and citizenship status. Upon approval, food stamps benefits are only sent to program applicants who have completed all application steps, including a mandatory interview with a Department of Social Services representative. The amount of SNAP benefits awarded to beneficiaries will vary as calculations depend on household composition and family member characteristics. The benefits for food stamps program issued to a beneficiary will only continue on a monthly basis if he or she remains eligible for the program and follows all SNAP rules. A beneficiary’s account is accessed using the benefit card food stamp in VA, an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that can only be used on approved food items at authorized retailers. To review the food items that can be purchased with SNAP food stamps, how the EBT card works and how benefit amounts are determined, read the following sections. Download our guide for even more in-depth information on the entire food stamps program.
Learn About Food Items You Can Purchase With SNAP in Virginia
With Virginia SNAP food benefits, beneficiaries can purchase food items from authorized retailers and local farmer’s markets that accept the benefit EBT card as payment. The only items approved for purchase using food stamp SNAP benefits are food items that can contribute to the diet of beneficiaries and their family members. Some of the most common food items that can be purchased with a VA food stamp benefit card include:
- Dairy products
Commonly eaten foods like cereals, cheeses and poultry are all included in approved items that can be bought using SNAP program benefits. Seeds, plants or trees that are meant to produce food for human consumption can be purchased with food stamp benefits. The EBT benefits card can also be used at qualifying retailers to purchase baby food, diabetic food or diet food products. Virginia SNAP benefits can be used when buying ingredients for meal preparation, such as herbs, spices or oils. Water, ice and snack foods that are meant for human consumption are eligible for purchase with food stamps. Elderly or disabled SNAP beneficiaries who receive meals delivered to their homes may be able to pay for the meals using SNAP food stamps, if the meal delivery companies are authorized to accept EBT cards as payment.
Items You Cannot Buy With Virginia SNAP Benefits
Authorized retailers that accept VA food stamps benefits may sell some items that cannot be purchased using these benefits. Before shopping at a qualifying store, SNAP benefit recipients should review the unapproved items that cannot be purchased using food stamp benefits. Some of the unapproved items include:
- Vitamins, supplements and medicines
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- Household items, toiletries, cosmetics or pet supplies
- Hot foods
- Food already prepared and intended for in-store consumption
Additionally, SNAP food stamps cannot be used to purchase cooking utensils, cleaning products or kitchen accessories. Potting soil or other gardening accessories also cannot be bought while using the benefit card food stamp in Virginia. While food items can be purchased with SNAP food benefits, canning lids, jars, food wrapping paper and other food preservation materials cannot be purchased with a benefit card. When utilizing SNAP benefits in VA, no change is given from the cashier and the EBT benefit card cannot be used to take out cash.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Virginia SNAP Benefits After Enrollment?
A valid Virginia food stamps benefits application must be signed and dated by the applicant before a Department of Social Services representative can begin examining it for eligibility. The benefits for food stamps program applicant must also complete an interview and provide any identification or documentation requested by the representative before receiving benefits. Food stamp benefit program applicants may qualify for an interview waiver, but should verify their statuses with the Department of Social Services. Once the food stamp benefit application process is completed, the applicant will receive mailed notification confirming or denying his or her entrance into the program. If the applicant is approved for SNAP food benefits in VA, he or she will also receive an EBT card in the mail that is linked to his or her benefit account.
Virginia EBT Card Overview
Once an approved applicant receives the Virginia food stamps benefit card, he or she must activate the card and choose a personal identification number (PIN) to associate with the card. When choosing approved food items at an authorized retailer, the beneficiary can use the credit card machine at check out and choose ‘EBT’ as the payment type. To access food stamps benefits, the beneficiary will be prompted to enter his or her PIN and confirm the transaction total. Upon completion of the transaction, the amount of food stamp benefits spent are deducted from the beneficiary’s account balance.
Each month, the total allotment of VA SNAP food benefits authorized for a beneficiary is deposited into his or her account. The monthly food stamps are immediately available by using the EBT card and the balance remains until all SNAP benefits are spent by the recipient. To check a SNAP benefit account balance, report a missing card or to change a PIN, program beneficiaries can contact the EBT card customer service line or create an online user account.
Learn About Virginia SNAP Benefit Amounts
The amount of Virginia SNAP food benefits a beneficiary receives is dependent upon the information provided on the application and in the interview with a Department of Social Services representative. When determining the amount of food stamp program benefits a beneficiary should be issued each month, the household income, monthly expenses and number of household members are taken into consideration. VA SNAP benefit program minimum and maximum allotments also contribute to the monthly benefit calculations. Upon acceptance into the SNAP benefits program, able-bodied beneficiaries may be required to work a minimum number of hours per month to remain eligible for benefits.