Ohio food stamps can be used in a variety of ways when shopping for groceries. Benefits from this program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are accepted at many different types of stores. This makes it easy to shop for healthy food just about anywhere.
The amount of SNAP food stamps you receive will vary based on your situation during the time of application. Knowing how much you will receive and when your benefits will be available also makes it easier to plan ahead for a shopping trip. Keep in mind that for most families, the SNAP program serves as a supplement and does not cover the entire cost of groceries for the month. Below, learn more about using SNAP assistance in Ohio and discover what you can and cannot buy with your benefits.
Which food items can you buy using food stamps in Ohio?
When you are approved for food stamp benefits, you will receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that works similar to a debit card. This card may also be referred to as the Ohio Direction Card. If you also receive other types of benefits from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS), these will usually be put onto the same EBT card.
SNAP benefits can be used at grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and even certain farmers’ markets. In most cases, participating stores will display an EBT or QUEST logo in the window that tells you benefits are accepted at that location. The ODJFS also provides resources on finding stores to shop at.
The majority of SNAP food stamps are used close to a beneficiary’s home. However, Ohio food stamps are accepted in any state. This is because each state uses the same system to process benefit payments. As a result, participants can easily travel to visit family or shop in a neighboring state while still having access to their funds.
Once you learn where you can shop with SNAP food benefits, is also helps to understand what you can buy. The food stamps program works with a wide variety of products. Many of the items you can buy are considered staple foods, which are things that make up the majority of your diet. It is also possible to buy accessory foods, which complement a meal, are used as ingredients or are eaten as a snack. Examples of items you can buy with SNAP benefits include:
- Fruits and vegetables, including any fresh, frozen or canned variety.
- Dairy products, such as milk, infant formula or cheese.
- Bread, cereal, pasta and other grains.
- Seeds and plants that can be used to grow produce at home.
- Meat, fish, eggs, tofu and other protein items.
- Cooking ingredients such as flour, vegetable oil or spices.
- Condiments and sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise or hot sauce.
- Certain snacks such as cookies, chips or crackers.
- Tea, coffee, soda, juice and other non-alcoholic beverages.
Learn everything else you need to know about using your benefits by downloading our free guide.
Products You Cannot Buy Using Food Stamps in Ohio
SNAP food benefits cannot be used on every product at a participating grocery store. Some of the items you are not allowed to buy include the following:
- Alcohol, including beer, wine and liquor.
- Tobacco products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco or cigars.
- Prepared food items such as a meal from the deli or a cheese platter.
- Food that is sold hot, such as a ready-to-eat pizza or a rotisserie chicken.
- Non-food items such as paper products, cleaning supplies, cookware or household goods.
- Pet food and other items not meant for human consumption.
- Vitamins, supplements and medicines.
In addition to these ineligible items, it also helps to learn where you are not allowed to shop with your benefits. Some locations are never allowed to take EBT cards. This includes casinos, liquor stores and cruise ships. If you were able to find an eligible food item in one of these locations, you would not be able to buy it with your benefits.
Additionally, Ohio SNAP food stamps are not accepted at most restaurants. If a restaurant does take food stamps, it usually only serves beneficiaries who are unable to cook meals at home. This can include participants who are elderly, disabled or homeless.
As a final note, SNAP benefits cannot be withdrawn as cash. There is sometimes confusion about this issue for participants who receive SNAP in addition to other types of benefits on the same EBT card. This is because some types of benefits are eligible for cash withdrawals. However, Ohio food stamps can never be taken out as cash at an ATM. It is also not possible to receive cash back with a purchase, even when shopping at a store that accepts these benefits.
How are food stamp benefits amounts calculated in Ohio?
Using a food stamp calculator can help you determine if you meet the requirements to qualify for assistance. These tools generally do not tell you the exact amount of benefits that you can receive. Instead, a SNAP calculator is used more as an eligibility screening tool.
The only way to get an exact idea of the benefits you may receive is to submit an application. The ODJFS determines the amount of your assistance based on factors such as your family size and income. Your amount will stay the same until you renew your benefits. After a renewal, your benefits may increase or decrease depending on your current situation. Learn more about SNAP benefits by reading our free guide.
When do you start receiving SNAP benefits after applying in Ohio?
Once you are approved for Ohio food stamps, your benefits will begin within 30 days. The ODJFS may also grant emergency assistance if you have extremely limited resources or income. In such cases, your benefits will begin within seven days.
Your EBT card balance will be updated on the same day each month. This date usually falls in the first 20 days of the month. In any case, your benefits will be available on the same day regardless of weekends or holidays. This makes it easier for you to plan ahead for your shopping trips.
Last Updated: February 27, 2023