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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Additional Information

Last Published: 03/21/2016

This page is for retailers – owners and employees of retail food stores. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is administered by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. The FNS is responsible for the licensing and monitoring of retail food stores participating in SNAP.

Any retailer that would like to accept SNAP benefits (EBT) must be licensed to participate in SNAP. This section provides information for retailers who want to apply for a SNAP permit. Apply online to accept SNAP benefits at your store or Farmers’ Market. You can complete the online application in as little as 15 minutes. Today, the only form of SNAP benefit issuance is the EBT—Electronic Benefits Transfer card. EBT allows you, the retailer, to accept SNAP payment for food using the EBT card--a kind of debit card.

FNS has numerous materials designed to help you follow SNAP rules and regulations. Protect your business. Learn the proper way to handle SNAP transactions. The SNAP Retailer Training Guide will help you learn the Program rules and answer common questions about the Program. You can also find out what food items can be sold for SNAP benefits – and what things cannot be sold. We want you to be successful. Know and follow the laws and regulations, train your employees carefully, and monitor their performance –these are all ways in which you can help to ensure your success in SNAP.

FNS Retailer Operations staff are available to answer your questions and advise you on Program rules and procedures. If a situation arises that you are not sure how to handle, please contact the SNAP Retailer Service Center at 1-877-823-4369.

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. Each store location under your ownership must have a separate SNAP permit; you must submit a separate application for each store that you own. If your store changes ownership, if you move, or if you close your store, your SNAP permit is void. You cannot transfer your permit to someone else.


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