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Does Dollar General Take EBT?

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

Most Dollar General stores across the United States accept EBT cards for eligible purchases, primarily food items.[1]


EBT cardholders can purchase various food items at Dollar General, including fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, bread, and cereals.


Items that cannot be purchased with EBT at Dollar General include alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, non-food items, hot prepared foods, pet foods, and vitamins or supplements.


To use an EBT card at Dollar General, cardholders swipe their card at the POS terminal, enter their PIN, and then confirm the transaction amount.[2]


Currently, EBT cards cannot be used for online purchases at Dollar General.


EBT cardholders can use coupons with their EBT cards at Dollar General to reduce the cost of eligible items.

Understanding the accessibility of EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) at major retail outlets is crucial for millions of Americans who rely on this system for their grocery purchases. Dollar General, as one of the largest chain stores in the United States, plays a significant role in this ecosystem.

This article aims to provide comprehensive insights into the acceptance of EBT at Dollar General, diving into specifics such as eligible items and shopping tips for EBT users.

Does Dollar General Take EBT?

Dollar General, with its widespread presence across the country, has become a go-to place for essential shopping, especially for those residing in rural and suburban areas. The company recognizes the importance of accommodating the needs of all customers, including those who benefit from government assistance programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). As such, Dollar General stores across the nation accept EBT cards as a form of payment, making it convenient for SNAP beneficiaries to access essential food items.[1]

What Is EBT And SNAP?

EBT, an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card, is used in all 50 states. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net, offering nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. This program is crucial for maintaining the food security of many Americans, and its integration into retail outlets like Dollar General is vital.

The Process Of Using EBT At Dollar General

Using EBT at Dollar General is straightforward. Shoppers simply select their eligible items, proceed to checkout, and swipe their EBT card in the card reader. The PIN associated with the card must be entered for the transaction to be processed. It's important to note that while EBT is widely accepted at Dollar General stores, the availability of certain items might vary based on the location and the state-specific SNAP eligibility rules.

Fast Facts

Dollar General stores, known for their strategic locations, predominantly serve rural and suburban communities.

Eligible Food Items At Dollar General With EBT Benefits?

One of the key aspects of shopping with EBT at Dollar General is understanding what items are eligible under the SNAP program. Eligible food items typically include:

  • Dairy products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Bread and cereals
  • Snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages

EBT users need to be aware that non-food items like cleaning supplies, pet foods, health and beauty aids, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco products are not eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. Additionally, hot foods and prepared meals that are ready to eat are also usually excluded from SNAP eligibility.

Maximizing Your EBT Benefits at Dollar General

To make the most of their EBT benefits at Dollar General, shoppers should:

  1. Plan Ahead: Check the store's flyer or online platform for special offers and discounts on SNAP-eligible items.
  2. Budget Wisely: Keep track of the balance on the EBT card to manage monthly food expenses effectively.
  3. Understand Eligibility: Be clear about which items are SNAP-eligible to avoid surprises at the checkout.

Fast Facts

Many Dollar General stores also participate in the WIC program, further supporting the nutritional needs of low-income families and pregnant women.

What Can’t You Buy With EBT At Dollar General?

At Dollar General, while you can purchase a wide range of food items with EBT, there are specific exclusions. Items not eligible for purchase with EBT include:

  • Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and liquor.
  • Tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars.
  • Non-food items like cleaning products, personal hygiene items, and beauty products.
  • Hot prepared foods, as EBT is intended for groceries that require preparation at home.
  • Pet foods and supplies are also excluded from EBT purchases.
  • Vitamins and supplements are not covered because they are not considered essential sustenance.
  • Pre-made deli items, including sandwiches, wraps, and prepared meats.

It’s important to note that these restrictions may vary slightly based on state regulations. Always check your state’s EBT program guidelines for the most accurate information​​​​.

How To Use An EBT Card For In-Store Purchases At Dollar General?

Using your EBT card at Dollar General is similar to using a regular debit card:

  1. Ensure all the products you select are EBT eligible.
  2. At the checkout, swipe or scan your EBT card at the POS terminal.[2]
  3. Enter your PIN when prompted to authorize the transaction.
  4. The cashier will input the purchase amount, and you need to confirm it.
  5. After the transaction, you will receive a receipt showing the amount deducted from your EBT balance and your remaining balance.

Remember, if you have selected items that are not EBT eligible, you will need to pay for these separately with another form of payment​​.

Dollar General Locations That Accept EBT Cards

Most Dollar General stores across the United States accept EBT cards. However, it's always a good practice to check beforehand:

  • Look for a notice at the store entrance or ask a store employee to confirm EBT acceptance.
  • You can also call the store directly to ensure that they accept EBT for the items you plan to purchase.

Additionally, Dollar General's acceptance of EBT and SNAP benefits means that they must offer a variety of staple foods, including perishable items, to be a participating retailer. This ensures that EBT cardholders can access a wide range of essential food items​​​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have answered some of the more frequently asked questions to help you understand Dollar General’s acceptance of EBT.

Can I use my EBT card at Dollar General for non-food items if I have TANF benefits?

Yes, if you receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits through your EBT card, you may be able to use it to purchase non-food items like clothing, household supplies, and personal care products at Dollar General. This is because TANF funds can be used more flexibly than SNAP benefits.

Does Dollar General participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot?

As of the latest updates, Dollar General does not participate in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP beneficiaries to use their EBT cards for online food purchases. However, it's always good to check the latest updates on the USDA's website or Dollar General’s official channels for any changes in their participation status.

Are there any special hours or services at Dollar General for EBT cardholders?

Dollar General has not specified any special hours or services exclusively for EBT cardholders. However, they often provide convenient shopping hours and locations, especially in rural and suburban areas, which can be beneficial for EBT cardholders.

How does Dollar General handle EBT card transaction errors?

If there is an error during an EBT transaction at Dollar General, such as an incorrect charge, it's advised to contact the store manager immediately for assistance. For unresolved issues, you may need to contact your state's EBT customer service.

Can I return items purchased with EBT at Dollar General?

Yes, you can return items purchased with EBT at Dollar General. The refund will be credited back to your EBT card. It's important to keep your receipt and be aware of Dollar General’s return policy for specific details.

Are there any mobile apps or tools to help manage EBT transactions at Dollar General?

While Dollar General has a mobile app for coupons and shopping, it does not specifically manage EBT transactions. However, most states offer their own EBT management apps, which can help you track your balance and transactions, including those made at Dollar General.

Dollar General's Acceptance Of EBT Cards

Dollar General's acceptance of EBT cards offers convenient shopping options for SNAP beneficiaries. Understanding what items are EBT eligible, how to use your card in-store, and what to do if issues arise can make your shopping experience smoother and more efficient. Remember that while EBT facilitates the purchase of a variety of food items, it does have its limitations and rules that need to be followed. Keeping these guidelines in mind will ensure that you can make the most out of your benefits at Dollar General, contributing to a more streamlined and worry-free shopping experience.

Our detailed guide explains how low-income families can get a free laptop with EBT. 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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