Virginia SNAP Benefits


Food stamps benefits in Virginia stem from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP food benefits have stipulations and beneficiaries will need to know what items are available for purchase. The food assistance benefits Virginia offers to qualified petitioners is not available to buy anything in a grocery store, and enrollees may have purchases denied if they select invalid items. Interested VA residents should become familiar with the SNAP benefits granted to eligible households including how much benefits food stamps program enrollees receive and how frequent. Learn important information about SNAP benefits by reviewing the sections below.

Using Virginia Food Stamps Benefits

Virginia SNAP benefits can only purchase specific food items at authorized retailers. Grocery stores and other authorized retailers that accept food assistance benefits post signs indicating the acceptance of the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which is how SNAP beneficiaries can purchase food. Products must be food items labeled for human consumption. However, plant seeds and mature fruit or vegetable plants may also be purchased with Virginia food stamps since they will produce food for the household.

Items enrollees may purchase with VA SNAP benefits include edible items used for preparing and preserving food. Benefits from the food stamps program can also purchase certain beverages like drinkable water. Generally, the beneficiaries can buy bread, meats and produce for human consumption. Certain households, such as those enrolled in SNAP’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, can purchase baby formula and baby food. However, certain food items like prepared hot or cold foods available for immediate consumption in the grocery store are not eligible for purchase with a benefit card.

Food stamps benefits cannot purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, pet food or products, gardening items or preservation or storage items such as containers and jars. Likewise, an EBT card for SNAP food benefits cannot purchase cleaning products, paper products, soaps and toiletries. Households cannot purchase medicines, vitamins or minerals. Only energy drinks with a full nutrition label are eligible under the SNAP benefits program. Energy drinks with only a supplement facts label are technically classified as supplements and not food and are therefore not eligible. For a more comprehensive list on which items can and cannot be purchased with Virginia SNAP food benefits, download our informative guide.

How Much Food Assistance Benefits Virginia Grants

The amount of benefits food stamp program enrollees receive is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan, which estimates how much it costs an average U.S. household to purchase food to prepare healthy and low-cost meals for its family. SNAP benefits amounts can change each year, as the amount of money that different foods cost can change annually and this estimate adjusts to account for those price changes. The amount of money each household is granted each month in SNAP benefits is referred to as an allotment. This allotment determination considers how many people are in the household and how much monthly income remains after certain deductions are applied. A mathematical equation is performed to make this determination. To learn more about the calculations used to determine the food assistance benefits Virginia will offer, review the comprehensive information in our detailed guide. This guide will walk you through how to calculate the amount of SNAP benefits you may receive each month if eligible for enrollment in the program.

The SNAP food benefits a household receives is calculated by multiplying the household’s total net monthly income by a percentage and then subtracting that result from the household’s pre-determined maximum monthly allotment. The percentage used to calculate SNAP benefits is the average amount of monthly income most households spend on food purchases. The maximum monthly allotment is a specific number based on the number of people in the household. The more people a household has, the higher their maximum monthly allotment is.

When You Will Receive Food Stamps Benefits in Virginia

If you have been determined to be eligible for the Virginia food stamps SNAP program, then you will receive your household’s SNAP benefits within 30 days from when the office officially received your application. However, if you have very little to no income, then you may qualify to receive your food stamps benefits within seven days. This will be determined by the Virginia SNAP office, and you will be notified on when to expect your benefits to become available.

The exact date that you will receive your benefits once you have been accepted into the Virginia SNAP benefits program will vary depending on your case number. The distributing of SNAP benefits to your EBT card will occur on the same date each month and will fall on either the 1st, 4th, 7th or 9th day of the month. The specific date assigned to you is determined by the last digits of your case number and the date it correlates to on the VA Benefit Issuance Schedule. It is important to know when food stamps benefits are issued, as you will not be able to purchase food for more than the amount on your EBT card. You will also need to know how to check the EBT card balance to verify that you have enough to make your qualified food purchases.

Virginia Department of Social Services