Oklahoma food stamps are a type of benefit issued by the Department of Human Services (DHS). This program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly funds that you can use to buy food. The program works with a wide variety of food items and allows you to shop at many different places. Funds are issued on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that looks at works much like a regular debit card.
Learning what benefits cannot buy is just as important as knowing what you are allowed to purchase with your EBT card. It is also helpful to understand how your benefit amount is determined and when you can expect to receive your funds each month. Below, learn more about these topics so you can use your SNAP food stamps more effectively.
Which food items can you buy using food stamps in Oklahoma?
Food stamp benefits can be used at many different places, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and many farmers markets. In most cases, stores that work with the OK food stamps program will display an EBT or QUEST logo in the door or window. This makes it easy to identify places you can shop. The DHS also provides resources you can use to help find stores.
Most beneficiaries do the majority of their shopping close to home. However, SNAP food benefits can be spent in any state. This means it is possible to shop in a neighboring state for people who live near the border. It also makes it easier for beneficiaries to use their funds while visiting family or taking a trip somewhere else in the U.S.
Oklahoma SNAP assistance can be used to buy a wide variety of items. Most eligible foods are considered staple items, which are food items that fall into the main food groups. You can also buy various accessory foods, which are food items that complement a meal or can be eaten as a snack. Examples of eligible food items include all of the following:
- Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu and other protein items
- Dairy and non-dairy alternatives, including things like milk, cheese, infant formula, almond milk and yogurt
- Any type of fruit or vegetable that is fresh, frozen or canned
- Grain items such as bread, cereal, oatmeal or pasta
- Certain snacks, including chips, candy, cookies and crackers, among other items
- Condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo or barbeque sauce
- Cooking ingredients such as flour, sugar and baking soda
- Spices and seasonings, such as salt, pepper, garlic or oregano
In addition to these items, Oklahoma food stamps can be used to buy seeds and plants. This allows you to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs and other produce at home. Read our free guide for more information on the items you can buy with your benefits.
Products You Cannot Buy Using Food Stamps in Oklahoma
SNAP benefits come with certain limitations that you need to be aware of. Knowing where you cannot shop and what you cannot buy will help prevent confusion. First, it helps to know that food stamps cannot be used in locations that are not authorized to take benefits or EBT cards.
Places that are never allowed to take benefits include casinos, cruise ships and liquor stores, along with other similar locations. Even if you found an item that you would usually be able to purchase in these places, you would not be able to buy it with your benefits.
Second, it is important to understand that SNAP food stamps cannot ever be taken out as cash. There is often confusion about this issue if you receive more than one type of benefit on the same EBT card. This is because certain types of benefits are eligible for cash withdrawals.
On the other hand, your food stamps balance cannot be taken out at an ATM or requested as cashback with a purchase. This is true even if you are buying eligible food at a participating grocery store.
Third, SNAP benefits usually cannot be spent at restaurants. There are very few restaurants authorized to take benefits. Places that do accept food stamps usually only serve participants who are elderly, disabled or homeless and are unable to cook meals at home.
The SNAP program only works on approved items at the grocery store. With that in mind, there are limitations on what you can buy even when you are shopping at a participating store. You cannot spend SNAP assistance on any of the following items:
- Beer, wine, liquor or any other alcohol product
- Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars and all other tobacco products
- Vitamins, medication or supplements, which includes any product with a “supplement facts” label rather than nutrition facts
- Hot or prepared food, such as a cooked pizza, a cheese tray or a meal from the deli
- Non-food items including pet food, household products, cookware or paper products
How are food stamp benefits amounts calculated in Oklahoma?
Using a food stamp calculator can tell you whether you meet the requirements for assistance. In most cases, a SNAP calculator is merely used as a tool for determining whether you can get help, not the amount of benefits you will receive. You must apply for assistance from the DHS to learn what amount of benefits you will receive. Your benefits are ultimately based on your household size, income and other eligibility factors.
Note: In most cases, the amount of OK SNAP assistance you receive is not enough to cover the entire cost of groceries for the month. Most families use food stamps to supplement their existing grocery budget. This means it is usually necessary to spend some of your own money in addition to your benefits to buy all of the food you need.
When do you start receiving SNAP benefits after applying in Oklahoma?
Food stamps are usually issued within 30 days of your application being received. The DHS may grant benefits in as little as seven days if you have extremely limited resources or income. Because your benefit start date is based on when your application is submitted, it is recommended that you sign up as soon as you are eligible.
Once your benefits start, your SNAP benefits balance will be updated on the same day each month. This makes it easier to plan ahead for shopping trips. Read our free guide for more information on getting and using your benefits.
Last Updated: September 26, 2022