Life can be tough, this is especially true when you have recently just experienced hardship. Luckily, there are many people and establishments out there that strive to help people get to where they want and need to be. For instance, there is government assistance for those who need a bit of extra help. Some of this assistance is known as EBT or WIC.
If you take part in any kind of government assistance you may not be aware of what stores do or do not accept it as a form of payment. While entering the grocery store you may have questioned, does Vons accept my EBT or WIC?
Keep reading to find out. First, let’s cover the basics of what exactly EBT and WIC are.
It is important to clarify some of the terms that are used to describe government assistance. You may be familiar with terms such as food stamps, SNAP, EBT, and WIC.
EBT is short for Electronic Benefit Transfer. It is a system that allows state welfare recipients to pay for their goods using a card similar to a debit or credit card. This card has a magnetic strip and this is how your funds are accessed.
This form of payment for welfare recipients has replaced the Food Stamp Program. You may be familiar with food stamps. This program issued paper coupons to welfare recipients.
EBT made it an easier process for those using this form of payment. EBT transactions are processed in a way that is similar to Personal Identification Number debit card transactions.
There are certain items that can be purchased with your EBT and other items that cannot be. Similarly, there are certain establishments in which you can use your EBT and others that do not accept EBT.
At establishments in which you can use your EBT card, you will simply swipe it when prompted at checkout. All eligible items will be taken care of and the amount of money spent will be removed from your funds. If you are purchasing any noneligible items, you will have to pay the remaining balance separately.
Some non eligible items are as follows:
- Beer, wine, liquor, or tobacco products
- Vitamins, medicines, and supplements
- Foods that are hot or previously prepared at the point of sale
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is most commonly known as WIC. The purpose of the program is to protect the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to 5 years old who are at nutritional risk.
You may receive your WIC benefits either on a card or as printed coupons/checks, it depends on the state you live in. The program provides access to nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to health care and other social services. All of which is administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Similar to EBT, those receiving WIC can only use this money towards specific things. The list of eligible products you can purchase using WIC can be accessed USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
The way you use your WIC funds will differ depending on how you receive them. If your benefits are on a card, you will use the same payment process as previously described for EBT cards. If you have the payment in the form of a check, you must present it to the tending cashier and it will cover eligible items.
Who Accept Benefits?
Grocery stores are not required to accept any form of food stamps. In fact, many do not! Stores have to be approved before they can accept benefits. They have to be authorized to participate in the program, which is monitored by the USDA.
Once a store has been authorized, all employees of the grocery store must be trained within 30 days, on how benefits work. Once a store is able to accept this form of payment, the license must be renewed every 5 years.
In order to get authorized, the grocery store must meet certain criteria. Specifically, they have to meet one of these two criteria:
Staple Food Inventory
The store must have a minimum of 2 units of 2 different varieties for each staple food category. Staple foods are common food items that make up for a considerable part of a person’s diet. Prepared foods and heated foods are not considered to be staple foods. An example of staple foods would be canned foods, bread, and vegetables.
The second criteria is that a store must have over 50% of the total gross retail sales come from the sale of these staple foods.
For instance, if a home goods store adds a drink cooler and a snack counter, they cannot qualify to accept government benefits
Most stores are already authorized under the criteria of staple food inventory.
Vons is a grocery store that meets the criteria and does in fact accept both EBT and WIC. Therefore, when grocery shopping at Vons, you can use your EBT or WIC funds to cover the cost of your eligible items.
There are some stores that will not accept your government benefits. This is mainly due to the fact that they do not meet the criteria. This could also be due to the fact that they do not want to renew the license. As previously mentioned, the store’s license has to be renewed every five years.
There are many forms of government assistance.
EBT is short for Electronic Benefit Transfer. It is a system that allows state welfare recipients to pay for their goods using a card similar to a debit or credit card. It is the system that replaced the physical food stamps.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is most commonly known as WIC. These funds may be delivered in the form of a card or as a check.
Vons will happily accept both EBT and WIC. This is of course only for eligible items.