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Do You Know Who Uses SNAP/EBT?

As experts on the government safety net program, SNAP (also known as food stamps), it’s important to us that retailers considering or currently participating in the program are aware of the facts that surround the way benefits are issued and eventually spent in their store.  While most store owners understand how valuable being a SNAP retailer is to their community and their own business success, there are some business owners that aren’t quite sure just how SNAP could impact them.  Some store owners even assume that the people who will be coming into their store to use SNAP/EBT cards are not the type of customer they would want.  We want to give you the FACTS so you can accept EBT cards with confidence in your store.

There are more cardholders than you may think…

The SNAP program provides benefits to over 42 million people – or 1 in 8 Americans.  The people in our country that use this program are not just a small population hidden from plain sight.  Almost everyone knows a person or two that receive SNAP benefits on an EBT card.  The average family of three receives about $376 per month, which means our government spends about $68 billion per year to ensure recipients have benefits.  Who wouldn’t want a piece of that money at their store?

Where do cardholders usually live?…

Some people assume that those who receive SNAP benefits are only living in low income housing, crowded urban areas, or even on the streets.  However, this isn’t true at all.  While many cardholders DO live in metropolitan areas and are often considered below the poverty line, there are still many others who have different living situations.  Even stores in rural areas and suburbs find that accepting SNAP/EBT cards at their store draws in even more customers. Use this interactive map to find out more details about SNAP benefits in YOUR state.

Who are the cardholders?...

In 2016:

  • 44% of SNAP recipients were children
  • 12% were senior citizens (older than 60)
  • The rest were working-age adults
  • 57% were female
  • 43% were male
  • 36% were non-Hispanic, white
  • 26% were black
  • 17% were Hispanic
  • 3% were Asian
  • 11% were non-elderly (younger than 60) and disabled

Do cardholders have jobs?...

Because a household must have a gross monthly income that is below 130% of the poverty line ($26,600 for a family of three), many people assume that the recipients of SNAP benefits, or food stamps, are unemployed and simply not trying to make money.  This is not true.  The SNAP program requires able-bodied adults without children to work in order to receive benefits and in some states, parents must work too.

Do cardholders stay on SNAP forever?...

For adults who do not have children, there is a time limit of three months out of a three year period during which they can receive SNAP or food stamp benefits, unless they are working.  For others, SNAP benefits can be received as long as the household qualifies.  There are yearly re-application rules for every household and if they are not met, the benefits will be cut off.  Although a household could receive benefits for a long period of time, about one-third of the people who receive benefits quit within one year.

If you aren’t already authorized to accept SNAP/EBT benefits in your store, you should be considering applying.  The program allows so many Americans in need to survive through tough times, and it even helps business owners like yourself to grow their profits by catering to a large additional group of customers.

in SNAP Tips, Industry News, Building Your Business, Featured, Consumer Trends