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Can You Buy Formula With EBT?

Written by: Robert Taylor
Last updated: January 30, 2024

EBT users can buy any brand or size of baby formula, providing flexibility to meet the specific dietary needs of infants.[1]


The USDA does not restrict the amount of baby formula one can purchase with EBT, though individual retailers might have their own limitations.


Major big box stores and most grocery chains accept EBT for formula purchases. Smaller stores may also accept EBT, but should be confirmed beforehand.[2]


Alongside formula, EBT can be used for other baby food items such as infant cereals and baby food jars.


Strategies like shopping at bulk retailers, using coupons, and utilizing rebate apps can help EBT users save on formula costs.


Programs like WIC offer further aid for baby formula, although they have more specific restrictions compared to EBT.

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows state welfare departments in the United States to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card. Among these benefits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most well-known. This program is designed to help low-income families and individuals with food purchases. A common question among beneficiaries is, “Can you buy formula with EBT?" 

This comprehensive guide is dedicated to answering this crucial question. We discuss the specifics of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system, exploring the types of formula available, the retailers that accept EBT for formula purchases, and practical tips on how families can best utilize their EBT benefits for their infant's nutritional needs.

Can You Buy Formula With EBT?

Baby formula is a vital infant nutrition source, especially for families facing economic challenges. The good news is SNAP benefits do allow the purchase of baby formula.[1] This is because the program recognizes the essential role formula plays in the dietary needs of infants. Including baby formula in SNAP-approved items demonstrates the program’s commitment to supporting the health and well-being of infants from low-income families.

Brands And Types Of Formula Covered By EBT

When using EBT to purchase baby formula, you have a wide range of options without restrictions on brands or container sizes. This is particularly helpful for families with babies who may have specific dietary needs or allergies. Some popular brands you can buy with EBT include Enfamil (in all varieties), Gerber, Similac (in all varieties), Kirkland Signature, Parent’s Choice, Member’s Mark, and Nestle. Alongside formula, you can also use EBT to purchase other baby food items such as infant cereal, baby food jars, and juice​​.

However, it's crucial to note that while a wide range of formulas are covered, luxury or premium-branded formulas might not be eligible under the program.

Fast Facts

EBT accommodates a wide range of baby formulas, including specialized options for infants with specific dietary needs or allergies.

Formula Purchase Limits With EBT

While EBT allows the purchase of baby formula, there are some limitations to be aware of. These limits are not necessarily on the quantity but more on the type and cost of the formula. The aim is to ensure that EBT funds are used effectively for nutritional and essential items.

Managing Your EBT Funds For Formula Purchases

Beneficiaries should plan their purchases carefully, considering the amount of formula needed and the balance available on their EBT card. Efficient budgeting ensures that families can maximize the benefits received and adequately provide for their infant’s nutritional needs throughout the month.

Navigating State-Specific Rules

It's also important to remember that each state may have specific guidelines regarding the purchase of baby formula with EBT. This may include particular restrictions or additional benefits under certain circumstances. Therefore, it's advisable for beneficiaries to familiarize themselves with their state's specific rules and regulations regarding EBT purchases.

Seeking Additional Assistance

For families who find the EBT allowance insufficient for their baby formula needs, there are additional assistance programs available. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, for instance, offers supplemental foods, healthcare referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Retailers That Accept EBT For Formula

EBT is widely accepted at various retailers, but it's important to confirm if the specific store you're planning to visit accepts EBT for formula purchases. Major big box stores like Walmart, Target, and Fred Meyer are known to accept EBT.[2] Almost all major grocery chains, including Kroger, Publix, Aldi, Hy-Vee, Albertsons, Safeway, and others, also accept EBT for formula purchases. Additionally, many smaller stores, including gas stations and convenience stores, may accept EBT, but checking with them beforehand is advisable​​.

Fast Facts

Beyond formula, EBT covers other infant food items like cereals and baby foods, broadening nutritional support for infants.

How Families Can Utilize Their Benefits To Access Infant Formula

Families can effectively use their EBT benefits to access infant formula by being aware of the types of formula and the retailers that accept EBT. When purchasing, the process is straightforward; simply ring up the formula with your other purchases, and the available balance on your EBT card will cover the cost. It's important to manage your EBT funds wisely to ensure you can cover your baby's formula needs throughout the month.

In case your EBT funds are insufficient for your baby formula needs, you can look into additional programs like WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), which offers supplemental foods and other assistance, although it may have specific restrictions on brands and sizes. Local food banks or pregnancy resource centers can also be a source of support. Additionally, using coupons, shopping at bulk retailers, and looking for rebates on shopping apps can help save money on formula purchases​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered some of the more frequently asked questions to help you understand more about buying formula with EBT.

Is there a specific time frame within which EBT benefits for formula must be used?

EBT benefits typically have a monthly cycle, but unused benefits can often roll over to the next month. It's important to check with your state's specific guidelines for any variations in benefit expiration.

Can EBT be used for online purchases of baby formula?

Many retailers now allow the use of EBT for online purchases, including baby formula. However, this can vary by retailer, so it's advisable to confirm with the specific store's online shopping policies.

Are organic or specialty baby formulas covered under EBT?

EBT covers a wide range of formula types, including organic and specialty formulas. This ensures that infants with various health and dietary needs can receive appropriate nutrition.

Can EBT be used in conjunction with other discounts or loyalty programs at retailers?

Yes, EBT users can often combine their benefits with other store discounts or loyalty program benefits, which can lead to additional savings on baby formula purchases.

In case of a formula recall, what are the options for EBT users?

If a formula purchased with EBT is recalled, consumers should follow the recall instructions provided by the manufacturer or retailer. In some cases, stores may offer refunds or exchanges, but this can vary depending on the specific recall and retailer policy.

Are there educational resources available for EBT users on infant nutrition?

Yes, many states offer educational resources and programs for EBT users, focusing on healthy eating and nutrition for infants and children. These resources can be accessed through local SNAP offices or state health departments.

Buying Formula With EBT

EBT provides a vital resource for families to ensure their infants receive essential nutrition during their early development. Understanding the flexibility and range of options available for purchasing baby formula with EBT, along with the knowledge of where and how to maximize these benefits, can significantly ease the financial burden of nurturing a growing child. Always remember to check with individual retailers for specific policies and consider additional assistance programs if needed. With this information, families can confidently navigate the complexities of purchasing infant formula with EBT, ensuring their little ones receive the best possible start in life.

Find out if KFC takes EBT with our detailed guide. Learn more by visiting Gov Relations and exploring our comprehensive resources.

Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor is a talented writer known for his ability to communicate complex social care and government benefit topics with clarity and empathy. With a background in sociology and a passion for advocating for marginalized populations, Robert has authored numerous articles, reports, and books on these critical subjects. His writing has helped individuals better understand their rights and options within the realm of government assistance, empowering them to navigate the system effectively. Robert's compelling storytelling and dedication to social justice have made him an influential voice in the field of social care and government benefits.

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