EBT restrictions (Virginia)

Vanessa Nason filed this request with the Virginia Department of Social Services of Virginia.


From: Vanessa Nason

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Virginia Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

–Specific foods, products, or services that cannot be purchased using EBT cards
–Types of establishments that do not accept EBT cards (for example, jewelry stores, firearms dealers, etc.)

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.


Vanessa Nason

From: Steinhauser, Tom (VDSS)

Ms. Nason:

As set forth in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, food is defined below. If it does not meet the definition, it may not be purchased. In general, any food or food product for home consumption, including plants and seeds that will grow food may be purchased with SNAP benefits.

(k) ‘‘Food’’ means (1) any food or food product for home consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot foods or hot food products ready for immediate consumption other than those authorized pursuant to clauses (3), (4), (5), (7), (8), and (9) of this subsection, (2) seeds and plants for use in gardens to produce food
for the personal consumption of the eligible household, (3) in the case of those persons who are sixty years of age or over or who receive supplemental security income benefits or disability or blindness payments under title I, II, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act [(42 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.)], and their spouses, meals prepared by and served in senior citizens’ centers, apartment buildings occupied primarily by such persons, public or private nonprofit establishments (eating or otherwise) that feed such persons, private establishments that contract with the appropriate agency of the State to offer meals for such persons at concessional prices, and meals prepared for and served to residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly, (4) in the case of persons sixty years of age or over and persons who are physically or mentally handicapped or otherwise so disabled that they are unable adequately to prepare all of their meals, meals prepared for and delivered to them (and their spouses) at their home by a public or private nonprofit organization or by a private establishment that contracts with the appropriate State agency to perform such services at concessional prices, (5) in the case of narcotics addicts or alcoholics, and their children, served by drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs, meals prepared and served under such programs, (6) in the case of certain eligible households living in Alaska, equipment for procuring food by hunting and fishing, such as nets, hooks, rods, harpoons, and knives (but not equipment for purposes of transportation, clothing, or shelter, and not firearms, ammunition, and explosives) if the Secretary determines that such households are located in an area of the State where it is extremely difficult to reach stores selling food and that such households depend to a substantial extent upon hunting and fishing for subsistence, (7) in the case of disabled or blind recipients of benefits under title I, II, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act, or are 3–2 individuals described in paragraphs (2) through (7) of subsection (j), who are residents in a public or private nonprofit group living arrangement that serves no more than sixteen residents and is certified by the appropriate State agency or agencies under regulations issued under section 1616(e) of the Social Security Act or under standards determined by the Secretary to be comparable to standards implemented by appropriate State agencies under such section [(42 U.S.C. 1382e(e))], meals prepared and served under such arrangement, (8) in the case of women and children temporarily residing in public or private nonprofit shelters for battered women and children, meals prepared and served, by such shelters, and (9) in the case of households that
do not reside in permanent dwellings and households that have no fixed mailing addresses, meals prepared for and served by a public or private nonprofit establishment (approved by an appropriate State or local agency) that feeds such individuals and by private establishments that contract with the appropriate agency of the State to offer meals for such individuals at concessional prices.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, approves all food retailers before they can accept SNAP. In order to qualify the retailer must:

sell food for home preparation and consumption and meet one of the criteria below:

(A) Offer for sale, on a continuous basis, at least three varieties of qualifying foods in each of the following four staple food groups, with perishable foods in at least two of the categories:

· meat, poultry or fish

· bread or cereal

· vegetables or fruits

· dairy products


(B) More than one-half (50%) of the total dollar amount of all retail sales (food, nonfood, gas and services) sold in the store must be from the sale of eligible staple foods.

If the retailer does not meet the conditions above, they cannot be approved as a SNAP retailer.


Tom Steinhauser, Director
Division of Benefit Programs
Virginia Department of Social Services
801 East Main Street
Wytestone Plaza Building
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 726-7362

From: Vanessa Nason


Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Vanessa Nason