Food stamps in New Hampshire are issued by the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This benefit, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), makes it easier for families and individuals to afford groceries on a monthly basis. Overall, SNAP benefits can be spent on a variety of items at participating stores. However, there are certain restrictions on where benefits can be used and what they can buy.
If you are a participant in the SNAP program in NH, you will receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. Benefits will be loaded onto this card every month. EBT cards look and work much like a debit card to buy food. Read below to learn more about SNAP food stamps in New Hampshire and discover what you need to know about using your benefits.
Which food items can you buy using food stamps in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire food stamp benefits can be spent in many different grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and certain farmers’ markets. Establishments that accept benefits will typically display an EBT or QUEST logo on the storefront. You can also use certain tools made available by the DHHS if you need help locating participating stores.
Note that the NH food stamps program allows you to shop at participating stores and farmers’ markets in any state. This is because each state uses the same system to process payments. As a result, it is easier to travel and visit family while still having access to your benefits.
At the store, you can use SNAP food benefits on a wide variety of products. The SNAP program works on staple foods as well as accessory food items. The definition of a staple item is something that can be found in the major food groups, such as protein or dairy. Moreover, accessory food items usually supplement a meal or can only be used as ingredients rather than eaten alone. Examples of approved food items in these categories include:
- Fruits and vegetables of any kind, including fresh, frozen or canned items.
- Meat, seafood, fish, eggs, poultry and other protein items.
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, butter or infant formula.
- Non-dairy and plant-based products like tofu or soy milk.
- Seeds and plants that you can use to grow your own produce at home.
- Snacks like crackers, nuts or chips.
- Cooking ingredients such as flour, spices, sugar or cooking oil.
- Tea, coffee, juice, soda and other drinks.
- Condiments such as ketchup, barbeque sauce or mayonnaise.
This list is not all-inclusive. For more information on the items you can buy with food stamps and places you can shop, download our free guide.
Products You Cannot Buy Using Food Stamps in New Hampshire
Knowing what you cannot buy with SNAP benefits is just as important as learning what you can spend your funds on. Because there are so many items you can buy, approved foods are oftentimes not labeled at grocery stores. This means that it is your responsibility to know what you are not allowed to purchase with your EBT card. For instance, food stamps cannot be used to buy any of the following items:
- Cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products.
- Beer, wine, liquor and all other alcohol.
- Food that is not meant for human consumption, such as pet food.
- Foods that are already served hot, such as a hot pizza.
- Cookware or food storage containers.
- Household goods, such as paper products or cleaning supplies.
- Medicines, vitamins or supplements.
If you want to buy any of these items, you may separate them from your SNAP-eligible foods and pay for them in a separate transaction with a different payment method.
Moreover, New Hampshire SNAP food benefits cannot be used to buy anything at casinos, on cruise ships, in liquor stores or other non-approved locations. With that in mind, you are not allowed to buy food in one of these places, even if you are able to find an approved food item.
In most cases, SNAP benefits also cannot be used to buy food at a restaurant. Very few restaurants work with the SNAP program, and those that do usually only serve beneficiaries who cannot cook for themselves at home. This can include participants who are seniors, homeless or have a disability.
It is also important to understand that food stamps cannot be taken out as cash under any circumstances. If you receive more than one type of benefit from the DHHS, keep in mind that all of your funds may be loaded onto the same EBT card. Other benefits, such as cash assistance, may be taken out as cash at an ATM.
However, your SNAP balance cannot be used in this way. SNAP benefits also cannot be requested as cash back with a purchase. This is the case even if you are buying approved items at a participating grocery store.
How are food stamp benefits amounts calculated in New Hampshire?
A food stamp calculator can give you a better idea regarding whether you qualify for assistance. In most cases, a SNAP calculator will not tell you the amount of assistance you are eligible to receive. The only way to tell your exact benefit amount is to follow the SNAP application steps.
The amount of SNAP assistance you receive is based on factors such as your household size and income. Your benefit amount may go up or down over time if these factors change in the future.
When do you start receiving SNAP benefits after applying in New Hampshire?
In most cases, SNAP food benefits will begin no more than 30 days after you apply for assistance. If you have extremely limited resources and low income, you may qualify for emergency food benefits, which generally start within seven days.
Food stamps will be added onto your EBT card on the same day each month. You can access your new balance regardless of whether that day falls on a weekend or holiday. Learn more about getting and using your benefits by downloading our free guide.