SNAP Provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014
On Feb. 7, 2014, Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, PL 113-79, which reauthorizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”). Below are the SNAP retailer provisions that are effective immediately.
SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay bottle/can deposits unless it is a state-required fee.
SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for a deposit fee unless it is a fee the state requires customers to pay to purchase food in a returnable container. Deposit fees added by manufacturers cannot be paid for with SNAP benefits, even if the fee is included in the shelf price of the product. Currently, only 10 states have some type of state deposit fee requirement. These states are: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
SNAP retailers must pay for their own Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) equipment.
Retailers will no longer be offered free EBT equipment, supplies and related services (“EBT equipment and services”) to participate in SNAP. Retailers that become SNAP-authorized after March 21, 2014, must pay for their own EBT equipment and services. Retailers authorized on or before March 21, 2014, and who have already been given free EBT equipment and services by the state may, at the state’s option, continue to use the EBT equipment and services for free until Sept. 21, 2014. Such SNAP-authorized retailers should arrange for lease or purchase of EBT equipment and services as soon as they can in order to ensure continued participation in SNAP. States may provide retailers that use free EBT equipment and services with further instructions and deadlines. EXCEPTIONS: Eligible farmers’ markets, direct-marketing farmers, military commissaries, non-profit cooperatives or organizations, group living arrangements, treatment centers, and prepared meal services may continue to qualify for free EBT equipment and services until further notice.
New SNAP retailers cannot use manual vouchers to redeem SNAP benefits.
Except in disasters or in the event of an EBT system failure, manual vouchers will no longer be allowed as a way to accept SNAP benefits. Retailers that become SNAP- authorized after March 21, 2014, can no longer use manual vouchers for ongoing SNAP business. Instead, all new SNAP retailers must redeem benefits electronically through a commercial point-of-sale device, which they must obtain and pay for themselves as discussed above. Retailers authorized before March 21, 2014, and who are already using manual vouchers for ongoing business may continue to do so until further notice. EXCEPTIONS: Eligible farmers’ markets, direct-marketing farmers, military commissaries, non-profit cooperatives or organizations, group living arrangements, treatment centers, and prepared meal services may use manual vouchers until further notice.
SNAP benefits may be used to purchase Community-Supported Agriculture shares.
Both non-profit and for-profit farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers that operate using a Community Supported Agriculture model may accept payment up to 14 days before delivering the food to SNAP customers or making the food available for pickup.
To read the full text of the Omnibus Farm Bill Implementation Memo, go to: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/policy.