In Alaska, food stamps will get you bows, arrows, and even harpoons

The list for eligible purchases using EBT has some interesting exemptions specific to the Last Frontier

Written by Vanessa Nason
Edited by JPat Brown

General categories for what can be purchased with funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, have been outlined by the federal government. We requested lists of specific exemptions, and it seems Alaska is definitely an outlier.

Apparently, in the most rural parts of the Last Frontier, it is your legal right to purchase bows and arrows with food stamps.

While It may seem a strange thing to add, especially when juxtaposed with the food items on this list, the reasoning is fairly straightforward: bows and arrows are used to hunt, which in rural Alaska is sometimes the only way to eat. There are other exemptions for hunting necessities – again, limited to Alaska – with the exception of guns, which cannot be purchased with food stamps in any state.

Despite that restriction, many states do allow guns to be purchased with funds from other welfare programs, like TANF (Temporary Assistance For Needy Families). In Alabama, for example, their list of ineligible TANF purchases includes psychics, strip clubs, and tattoo parlors – but leaves out anything having to do with firearms or ammunition. This is an exemption many states have.

So, in theory, you can use your EBT card to buy a handgun – but not cooked crabs or cough drops.

Welcome to the American Dream. Read the full list exemptions embedded below, or on the request page.


Image via Eielson Air Force Base