Holiday Foods and SNAP Eligibility With the holidays quickly approaching, we offer the following USDA guidance on the SNAP eligibility of certain foods:
If pumpkins are edible, they are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. For example, if it is a pumpkin that can be cooked down as squash and/or the seeds used for pumpkin seeds, it is eligible.
However, inedible gourds and pumpkins that are used solely for ornamental purposes are not eligible items.
Items such as birthday and other special occasion cakes are eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits as long as the value of non-edible decorations does not exceed 50 percent of the purchase price of the cake.
Gift baskets that contain both food and non-food items are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits if the value of the non-food items exceeds 50 percent of the purchase price.
Holiday gift baskets for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Holiday stockings, and seasonal items like holiday tins are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits if the value of the nonfood part of the item clearly accounts for more than 50% of the purchase price.
For Example: A stuffed holiday bear sold with a small package of chocolate for $14.99 would not be eligible for SNAP purchase, but a gift basket consisting primarily of meats and cheeses or snack foods, and including a small toy where the cost of the food items clearly accounts for more than 50% of the purchase price of the item would be eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.
Baskets and holiday stockings that contain any amount of alcohol, cigarettes, cat, dog, or other pet food and/or pet toys may not be purchased with SNAP benefits.
Holiday Foods and WIC Eligibility Table 4, footnote 5, of the rule “Minimum Requirements and Specifications for Supplemental Foods,” states that “ornamental and decorative fruits and vegetables such as chili peppers on a string; garlic on a string; gourds; painted pumpkins; fruit baskets and party vegetable trays” are not WIC-eligible.
SNAP Stimulus Cuts Effective November 1 The boost that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided SNAP recipients during the economic downturn is slated to sunset on November 1, 2013. This will result in a benefit cut for every SNAP household and the amount will depend upon the household size. For example, a household of four will see a $36 per month reduction; a household of one will receive an $11 per month reduction. In August, USDA sent this letter to states to begin preparing them for the change. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has prepared this document to assist in answering any questions regarding the benefit decrease.
SNAP License Questions From time to time, we receive inquiries regarding a store name change or ownership change, and how it affects the store’s SNAP license. Below is USDA FNS guidance on this issue.
If your store changes ownership, if you move, or if you close your store, your license is void.
You cannot transfer your license to someone else. If you are closing or selling your business, you must inform FNS and return your license to FNS.
If you own more than one store, you must apply for a SNAP license for each store.
Remember, it is against the rules and regulations of SNAP for you to accept or redeem any SNAP benefits until you are authorized by USDA, FNS.
For more USDA FNS guidance for retailers, click here.