The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal government program designed to help needy families purchase food. The federal aid program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The amount of SNAP benefits a household receives depends on the family size, income, and expenses.
Who are SNAP recipients?
SNAP was designed to provide assistance to families with low and no income. SNAP helps feed millions of Americans, many of whom are children, the elderly, and the disabled.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, more than 15.8 million American households receive SNAP benefits. That's 12.4% of all American households.
What is EBT?
EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. It is an electronic system that allows a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant to pay for food with a card. When participants shop at SNAP-authorized retail stores, their EBT account is debited to reimburse the store for food that was purchased. EBT cards have been used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam since June 2004.
The EBT card is more convenient than the food stamps that were first issued. Now a recipient can use the EBT card like a debit or credit card. That saves time by not having to tear food stamps out of a book and pay with them by the colors that indicated the amount.
Cities in Virginia with the highest number of SNAP recipients
According to data collected from nine metro areas in Virginia, the cities with the highest number of SNAP recipients with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card to purchase eligible food products include:
- Virginia Beach
- Newport News