The Delaware Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a benefit that assists low-income households with affording food. These benefits, also referred to as food stamps, are meant to supplement a family’s grocery budget each month. Beneficiaries can use their funds to purchase basic food staples, as well as items like condiments and beverages.
When you receive SNAP food stamps, it is helpful to learn which products you can and cannot buy. Your benefits can be used for a wide variety of items, but there are certain limitations to be aware of. This will help you create your budget and give you a smooth shopping experience. Learn everything you need to know about using food stamp benefits in Delaware in the sections below.
Which food items can you buy using food stamps in Delaware?
When you receive benefits from the SNAP program, you will be given an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that looks and works much like a debit card. EBT cards are accepted at a wide variety of grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and even certain participating farmers’ markets.
When a store participates in the Delaware food stamps program, it will usually display a QUEST or EBT logo in the window or door. This helps you identify places you can shop with your benefits.
Most beneficiaries use their Delaware food stamps close to home, but you can shop at participating stores in any state. This makes it easier to buy food if you live near the border of another state or if you travel to other parts of the country to visit family.
SNAP assistance can be used to purchase many different types of food. In general, approved food items fall into one of two categories. First, a staple food item is something that makes up the majority of most people’s diets. This category includes the major food groups, such as:
- Protein items like meat, eggs or fish.
- Dairy products such as milk, infant formula or yogurt.
- Plant-based items like almond milk or tofu.
- Grains such as bread, cereal, oatmeal or pasta.
- Fruits and vegetables, including any variety of fresh, frozen or canned produce.
Second, an accessory food item is something that complements a person’s diet, but usually does not count as a whole meal on its own. For example, cooking ingredients such as flour or sugar are accessory foods. With that in mind, SNAP food benefits can be used to buy any of the following types of food:
- Certain snacks like chips, crackers or cookies.
- Beverages, including coffee, juice, tea, sports drinks or soda.
- Cooking ingredients such as baking powder, sugar or vegetable oil.
- Seasonings such as salt, pepper, extracts and spices.
- Seeds and plants that you can use to grow fruits and veggies at home.
Learn more about the products you can buy and where you are allowed to spend your benefits when you download our free guide.
Products You Cannot Buy Using Food Stamps in Delaware
There are some limitations on what SNAP benefits can buy, as well as the places you are allowed to shop. First, you are not allowed to use an EBT card in casinos, on cruise ships or at liquor stores and other similar establishments.
If you were able to find an eligible food item in one of these places, you would not be able to buy it with your benefits. Additionally, the SNAP program also does not work at restaurants in most cases.
Very few restaurants accept benefits, but establishments that do take SNAP food stamps are usually only allowed to serve people who are unable to cook for themselves, such as those who are homeless or have a disability.
Food stamps funds also cannot be taken out as cash. Therefore, you cannot withdraw money from an ATM or ask for cash back with a purchase. This is true even if you are buying SNAP-eligible items at a participating grocery store.
There is sometimes confusion about this rule since you can withdraw benefits from a cash assistance program from an ATM. Just remember that Delaware SNAP food benefits cannot ever be taken out as cash.
After learning where and how you cannot use food stamps, it also helps to learn what types of items you are not allowed to buy. While you can purchase a wide range of items at grocery stores, farmers’ markets and superstores, some products are prohibited. Examples include:
- All alcohol, including beer, wine or liquor.
- Cigarettes and all other tobacco products.
- Hot foods or meals that are ready-to-eat.
- Non-food items like paper products, pet food or cookware.
- Vitamins, medicines and nutritional supplements.
How are food stamp benefits amounts calculated in Delaware?
Looking at a food stamp calculator can help you determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements for benefits based on your income and other household factors. A SNAP calculator can also provide a rough estimate of the benefits you can expect to receive.
The amount of assistance you receive is based on things such as your income, resources and family size, but the only way to learn your exact benefit amount is to submit an application. If you are approved, your letter will tell you how much you can receive each month.
Keep in mind that your benefits may go up or down if your eligibility changes. Looking at a SNAP benefits calculator can help you see whether you still qualify after a change to your circumstances.
Remember that most new information must be reported to the Delaware Department of Social Services (DSS). Failing to report changes may count as a program violation.
When do you start receiving SNAP benefits after applying in Delaware?
If you are approved to start receiving food stamps, your assistance will begin within 30 days of your application submission. In most cases, your benefits will be dated back to the day you submitted your application.
Note: The DSS may grant your benefits in as little as seven days if you have extremely limited resources or income.
Once your benefits are awarded, they will be loaded onto your EBT card on the same day each month. Your Delaware SNAP food stamps should be available on the same date regardless of whether that day falls on a weekend or holiday. Learn more about the benefits by downloading our free guide.
Last Updated: February 22, 2023