USDA Releases Guidelines of Items Covered by SNAP Benefits

SNAP benefits assist low-income families in gaining access to nutritious foods. However, not everything is covered by SNAP benefits; the USDA provided a list of the items that are not covered, and some items are not expected to be excluded from the assistance.

Not Included in Coverage

SNAP cardholders frequently inquire about the items covered by their benefits. The USDA publishes a list of items not covered by SNAP benefits so people can plan ahead and save money.

The exclusion of vitamins, medicine, and supplements is among the most surprising. SNAP does not cover vitamins and dietary supplements, but they are being worked on.

Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and tobacco are also excluded, except for shellfish, live animals, fish removed from the water, and animals slaughtered before store pickup. Pet owners are reminded that SNAP benefits do not cover pet food, the same as for cleaning supplies, paper products, other household items, hygiene items, and cosmetics, a source posted. 

Illegal Purchase Punishable 

It’s also worth noting that ineligible purchases aren’t automatically banned, so prohibited items will still be charged to your card when you shop. Nonetheless, the Department of Health and Human Services will look into these purchases if they are not by the program.

The agency will then schedule a hearing to determine whether you violated the law. Whether the misuse of benefits was intentional or not, offenders may face severe consequences, including losing all benefits. 

If it is proven that the misuse of SNAP benefits is deliberate, offenses will be imposed. The first offense will result in a three-month suspension of food assistance. If the misappropriation continues, it will be classified as a second offense, with a one-year suspension of food assistance. Additional violations can lead to up to two years of suspension per occurrence.

Penalties for illegal purchases are critical, so cardholders are advised to monitor their purchases and avoid strictly misusing the benefits.