Whether you know the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the program’s former name, food stamps, you’ve likely heard of this before. Regardless, most people know this program as a support opportunity when it comes to handling groceries each month. What people may not realize is that there are actually loads of other benefits that they can take advantage of thanks to SNAP. The specifics vary from state to state. However, from discounts on utility bills, to discounts on recreational activities, there is typically more than what meets the eye with this government assistance program!
Before diving into some uncommon yet super helpful benefits that could come along with SNAP, you want to make sure you have a basic understanding. This program is designed to help households in need handle the cost of groceries each month. As a way to assist, the program will provide funds onto an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card on a monthly basis. The amount of funds that a household will get on this card varies depending on the household. Factors like income level, household size, and more will impact this. The funds that are placed onto the EBT card can’t be used to purchase just any ‘ol thing. Instead, it can only be used to buy eligible grocery items at places that accept EBT cards as a form of payment.
What Can SNAP Buy?
There are certain foods that SNAP can and cannot buy. Understanding the food items is important whether you are an applicant or recipient of the program!
Types of Foods Covered by SNAP Benefits
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Breads and cereals
- Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
Restrictions on Ineligible Items
There are some things that you cannot buy with your SNAP benefits. These include:
- Hot foods or prepared meals ready to eat
- Alcohol or tobacco products
- Vitamins, medicines, or supplements
Additional SNAP Benefits
Now that the basics are out of the way, it’s time to learn about how recipients of SNAP can benefit besides getting grocery support. The key thing to keep in mind here is that the specifics of SNAP varies depending on the state. For example, recipients of SNAP in Massachusetts may see certain benefits that someone in another state wouldn’t see. For the following additional SNAP benefits, they are available for those in Massachusetts. However, this can give you an idea of some potential perks that you want to be on the lookout for in your own state. There may be overlap, like with the discount on internet services that are applicable to all states, not just certain ones! Some Massachusetts benefits include:
- HIP Incentives
- Gas and Electric Utilities Discounts
- Internet Service Discounts
- Discounts for Museums
- SNAP Path to Work
People that are SNAP recipients are automatically enrolled in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). The whole point of HIP is to help SNAP recipients get more produce on a monthly basis. The benefit here is that for each SNAP dollar spent at an eligible retailer, recipients can earn some funds back onto their EBT card. The amount that people can get is based on household size and these caps include:
- $40 for a 1 or 2 person household
- $60 for a 3, 4, or 5 person household
- $80 for households of 6 people or more
Gas and Electric Utilities Discounts
Being a SNAP participant entitles you to reductions on your utility charges. To be eligible, the utilities need to be registered under your name. You can then initiate a request for these discounts directly with your utility service provider.
Internet Service Discounts
There is a program known as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program is designed to provide a monthly discount on internet services. It can also provide additional discounts like a one-time $100 discount on eligible technology for those that qualify. In order to be eligible for this program, there are income limits that a household needs to meet. However, households can also qualify if they are a SNAP recipient!
Discounts for Museums
When people think of government support, they typically don’t think of recreational activities. However, SNAP recipients in the state of Massachusetts get discounts on museums and cultural organizations.
SNAP Path to Work
Even though SNAP is a program that focuses on households getting food, there are perks of this program that can focus on helping with employment. Through SNAP Path to Work, recipients of SNAP can get:
- Employment Support
The goal of providing the above support is to help recipients find and keep good paying jobs.
When it comes to SNAP (also known as food stamps), many people know that this program can help when it comes to groceries. However, the specifics of the program vary depending on the state. That is why it’s important to see the details of the SNAP program for your state. You may be surprised to see what additional benefits are available to recipients of SNAP where you live. Above, we used Massachusetts as an example. The additional perks above show some that you may be able to come across in your own state. Make sure to stay in the loop, because you may be able to get more support than you realize.