Owners and operators of retail grocery or convenience stores may want to consider applying for a license for approval into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Such a license allows the business to become a licensed retailer and participate in SNAP by selling eligible food goods to participating individuals. Colloquially, the benefits an individual receives from SNAP are known as “food stamps.”
SNAP is federal government program administered by the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) as part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program provides food-purchasing assistance, food stamps, to low income individuals and families in the United States. According to FNS data for fiscal years 2015, SNAP benefits cost over $74 billion annually and the program is the largest nutrition program administered by FNS.
Generally, SNAP regulations can be found at 7 CFR § 271. FNS determines whether submitted applications meet the program eligibility requirements, usually within 30 to 45 days after submission. SNAP regulations and law requires that a business meet one of the two following criteria in order to be licensed:
The business must offer for sale, on a continuous basis, at least three varieties of qualifying foods in each of the four categories of staple foods:
At least two of these categories must include perishable foods.
2. The business must have over 50 percent of its total gross sales in staple foods, not counting food items such as coffee, tea, cocoa, soda, candy, condiments, spices, and prepared ready-to-eat foods.
SNAP participation can help grow your business. It is important to remember that the business is responsible for the actions of all employees and SNAP regulations must be followed at all times. FNS provides numerous training and notice materials for your business. If your business fits the criteria and you believe your business could benefit from accepting SNAP benefits, the attorneys at Lucy Lu & Associates can assist you in preparing and submitting your application, as well as provide guidance through the applicable regulations and policies.