Even before the pandemic, people have always been cost-conscious. Being able to save a buck is always appreciated.
This is the reason grocery stores like Trader Joes are so popular. They offer good access to quality and organic foodstuffs, at great prices.
For many households that struggle, being able to shop using electronic benefits transfer (EBT) is also helpful. But does Trader Joes take EBT?
Trader Joe’s product pricing is considered one of the best. A close second to the likes of Walmart. If on a tight budget or just frugal, this is a great place to shop.
Besides pricing, Trader Joe’s is known to treat its staff quite well. For many shoppers this knowledge is welcome. They know they are contributing to the success of a good employer.
It is perhaps this good treatment that motivates the staff to also treat customers well. They offer exceptional customer service and very helpful.
For hardcore bargain hunters, Trader Joe’s is a great choice as they support couponing. Though they do not offer their own coupons, they do honor third-party coupons. For the well versed, this can result in big savings.
They also have fair returns policies. They pay attention to customer opinions on products. And will at times add or remove products from shelves as a result.
All this and more is enough incentive for people to become loyal customers. For those that receive EBT, let’s begin by defining what this transfer is about.
What Is EBT?
Under the government-run Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aid is given to needy families. This aid is to ensure better access to healthy food options for these families. These benefits are delivered through an EBT card.
When a person that is enrolled visits a participating food store, they can make purchases using EBT. Their SNAP EBT account is then debited to pay the store.
These benefits are available in every state, but you must eligible to be enrolled. The most vital qualification lies in the resource and income limits. This is determined by the state agency.
These limits are updated annually. More leeway is given to households with seniors and disabled members.
How It Works?
You can only apply for SNAP in the state that you live in. get in touch with the local SNAP office to secure the relevant application form. Some states have these forms available online.
An adult member of the household should be the one to submit the form. Within 30 days of this submission, the agency should arrange for an interview. This could be in-person or on phone.
You may be asked to submit evidence of your claims such as income levels and assets. In some states, this processing can be done within a week. If you qualify, you can immediately start receiving SNAP benefits.
You will receive an EBT card. It operates like a debit card, with an amount loaded each month. You can then use the card to pay for food items from participating stores.
There has been a more recent variation dubbed the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT). This is a government response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is being used to help children that were receiving free or subsidized school meals.
The EBT card can be used similarly to a debit card. Once swiped by the cashier or on a POS, you will need to input your secret PIN.
In some stores and some states, it may be possible to get cashback benefits. you may be able to withdraw these benefits in cash. But this tends to be restricted to those that qualify for certain benefits.
These cards do not attract transaction fees when paying for food. You can keep track of your account balance by checking the bottom of your transaction receipts. Alternatively, you can check at an ATM or when using a POS machine.
Foods You Can Buy with EBT
As said, SNAP benefits are supposed to be used for food item purchases. The list of permitted items includes:
- Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
- Meat products including beef, poultry, and fish
- Dairy products
- Cereals and bread
- Cooking oils
- Snacks, candy, and non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants for food production for the household
Some food and drink items are however prohibited. These include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Vitamins and supplements
- Prepared foods
- Pet foods
- Live animals – those that can be slaughtered before pick-up from store or vendor
These funds cannot also be used to purchase cigarettes, cleaning, or hygiene products. The only exception may be those who qualify for additional benefits for children or seniors. In some states, these extra benefits may permit the use of funds for hygiene products like diapers.
Does Trader Joes Accept EBT?
Yes. Trader Joe’s does accept EBT payments. This applies to all their locations across the country.
You do need to worry about facing some embarrassment when trying to make payments this way. Do however note it is advisable to keep track of your account balance.
Remember that it works just like a debit card. So there is a limit to how much you can spend.
Also, pay attention to permissible items. If you attempt to make a payment on prohibited items using your card, the transaction will not go through. Set them aside and pay separately from qualified items at the register.
Trader Joe’s is an excellent place to shop, but not all people have easy access. There are just over 500 stores across the country.
So if you are struggling to put food on the table, it is worth considering applying for SNAP benefits. You may find you easily qualify. And get much-needed assistance to ensure your household is getting well-fed.
The application process is easy and feedback can be within a week. Even if there is a delay, your access will be backdated to when you initially applied.
If you are finding it difficult to find work right now, do consider work-from-home opportunities. Remote jobs can pay well and are less difficult for those with a criminal history to get into.