Does Commissary Take EBT? All You Need to Know About Using EBT in the Commissary

If you’re using EBT benefits to shop for groceries, you’re probably wondering if the commissary takes EBT. This is a common question among families and individuals looking to save money on their food budgets. Thankfully, the answer is yes, the commissary does take EBT. This means that if you’re eligible for EBT benefits, you can shop for your groceries at the commissary just like you would at any other grocery store.

But what exactly is a commissary? Commissaries are stores that are run by the Department of Defense and are used primarily by military personnel, retirees, and their families. They offer a wide range of food and household items at reduced prices, making them a popular choice for those looking to stretch their budgets. And with the ability to use EBT benefits at the commissary, it’s now easier than ever for eligible individuals to get the food they need without breaking the bank.

If you’re not already familiar with the EBT program, it stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer and is a government-funded program that provides assistance to low-income families and individuals. EBT benefits are loaded onto a special debit card that can be used to purchase eligible food items at participating retailers. Knowing that the commissary takes EBT is just one more way to make your food budget go further, so consider adding it to your list of grocery stores to check out.

What is a commissary?

In basic terms, a commissary is a grocery store that caters to a specific group of people. In the United States, commissaries are usually found on military bases and serve active-duty military personnel, National Guard, Reservists, retirees, and their respective families. Commissaries are operated by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), which is a part of the Department of Defense.

Commissaries offer a variety of products, including fresh produce, meat, dairy products, baked goods, non-perishable items, and household goods. In addition to selling groceries, some commissaries also have services such as a pharmacy, optical department, or a deli/bakery.

Benefits of shopping at a commissary

  • Lower prices: Commissaries offer products at heavily discounted prices, with the intent of providing significant savings to military members and their families.
  • Convenience: Since commissaries are located on military bases, they are generally accessible and convenient for military members and their families.
  • Quality products: Commissaries sell high-quality products that are sourced directly from manufacturers, ensuring the freshness and reliability of the products.

Does commissary take EBT?

Yes, commissaries accept Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) as a form of payment. EBT is a government-funded program that provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families. EBT benefits can be used to purchase eligible food items at participating retail stores, including commissaries. However, it’s important to note that EBT cannot be used to purchase non-food items, such as cleaning supplies or toiletries.

Commissaries also accept several other forms of payment, including major credit cards, debit cards, cash, and checks.


Commissaries offer a convenient and affordable way for military members and their families to purchase groceries and other goods. With their discounted prices and high-quality products, commissaries are an excellent choice for those looking to save money and access fresh, healthy food. Whether you’re shopping for groceries, household goods, or other necessities, you can trust that the commissary will provide you with the products you need at a price you can afford.

Accepted forms of payment at commissaries
Credit cardsYes
Debit cardsYes

Note: Check with your local commissary for specific payment policies and restrictions.

Definition of EBT

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows the distribution of government benefits to eligible recipients through an electronic card. The card looks like a debit or credit card and can be used to purchase food and other essential items at authorized retailers. The benefits are deposited onto the card each month, and recipients can use them at any time during the month.

Benefits of using EBT

  • Convenient and secure: EBT cards are easy to use and protect the recipient’s personal information, reducing the risk of fraud and identity theft.
  • No cash handling: With EBT cards, there’s no need to carry cash or change, which can be lost or stolen.
  • Access to healthy food: EBT cards can be used to purchase fresh produce, meat, dairy, and other healthy food items at approved stores.

Eligibility for EBT

To be eligible for EBT benefits, an individual or household must meet certain income and resource guidelines set by the state or federal government. The eligibility criteria may vary depending on the state and the type of benefit.

Usually, to receive EBT benefits, individuals or households must have an income of no more than 130% of the federal poverty level.

Does Commissary Take EBT?

Yes, commissaries on military bases accept EBT cards. This means that eligible military families can use their EBT benefits to purchase groceries at the commissary. However, it’s important to note that not all items may be eligible for purchase with EBT cards. For example, alcohol and tobacco products are not allowed to be purchased with EBT.

Allowed PurchasesProhibited Purchases
Meat and poultryAlcohol
Seafood and fishTobacco
Milk and dairy productsNon-food items
Cereals and grainsHot foods

To ensure that the purchases are eligible, it’s important to check with the commissary staff or refer to the list of eligible items provided by the state or federal agency.

Overall, EBT provides a convenient and reliable way for eligible recipients to access necessary items, including groceries, baby formula, and hygiene products, improving their quality of life.

Types of EBT accepted at commissaries

Commissaries are grocery stores located on US military bases that offer a wide variety of products and services to authorized patrons at cost. They also accept Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) as a form of payment. However, it is important to note that not all types of EBT are accepted at commissaries. Here are the types of EBT accepted:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): This is the most common type of EBT accepted at commissaries. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase eligible food items, such as bread, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and seeds and plants that produce food for consumption. Non-food items such as paper products, cleaning supplies, and toiletries cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits.
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Commissaries accept WIC electronic benefits in some states. WIC is a federal assistance program that provides nutrition education, healthy food, and support to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and young children.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): TANF benefits can be used to purchase food items at commissaries if the state has opted to allow it. TANF is a federal assistance program that provides financial aid to help families in need with healthcare, childcare, housing, and expenses related to household utilities.

Authorized purchases with EBT at commissaries

Commissaries offer a range of products that can be purchased with EBT, including fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, poultry, seafood, bakery items, and more. EBT cardholders can also use their benefits to purchase seeds and plants that produce food for consumption.

It is important to note that EBT benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items, such as pet food, cleaning supplies, paper products, or alcoholic beverages. Additionally, food items that are prepared and intended for immediate consumption, such as hot food items from the deli, cannot be purchased with EBT benefits.

Earning rewards when shopping with EBT at commissaries

Commissaries offer incentives for EBT cardholders to buy healthy food options through the Healthy Eats program. This program rewards customers for buying nutritious foods by offering instant coupons at the checkout, which can be used on future purchases of healthy food items.

Healthy Eats CouponsItems Eligible for Coupons
$1 offFresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products
$0.50 offCanned or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal

This program encourages EBT cardholders to purchase healthy food options to support a healthier lifestyle while saving money. By offering incentives to purchase nutritious foods, commissaries are helping to improve the health and well-being of their customers.

Commissaries vs. Grocery Stores in Accepting EBT

When it comes to accepting EBT, both commissaries and grocery stores have their own set of guidelines and regulations to follow. Here are some differences to note:

  • EBT eligible items: Grocery stores and commissaries offer different EBT eligible items. While grocery stores sell a wide variety of food items, commissaries are limited to selling mostly military-specific items. This means that if you’re looking for specialty items or international foods, you may have more luck at a grocery store.
  • Prices: Commissaries are known for offering lower prices than most grocery stores because they are subsidized by the government. If you’re on a tight budget, shopping at a commissary may be a more affordable option for you.
  • Location: Commissaries are typically only found on military bases and installations, so if you don’t live near one, grocery stores may be your only option for using your EBT card.

It’s also important to note that both commissaries and grocery stores have to follow certain regulations when accepting EBT. For example, they cannot accept EBT for non-food items like tobacco and alcohol. Additionally, they must adhere to specific EBT transaction rules and regulations.

Here is a table outlining some of the key differences between commissaries and grocery stores when it comes to accepting EBT:

CommissariesGrocery Stores
EBT Eligible ItemsMilitary-specificWide variety
PricesLower than most grocery storesVaries by store
LocationMostly found on military bases and installationsLocated in most areas

Ultimately, where you choose to shop with your EBT card is up to personal preference and circumstance. While commissaries may offer lower prices, they may not have the selection or location that you need. It’s important to explore all of your options and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Rules and restrictions for EBT use at commissaries

Electronic benefits transfer (EBT) is a payment option for those who qualify for government assistant programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Commissaries, which are grocery stores on military bases, also accept EBT for eligible shoppers.

  • Only eligible items can be purchased with EBT. This includes food items such as meat, dairy, and cereals. Non-food items such as soap and other household products are not allowed.
  • Alcohol and tobacco products cannot be purchased with EBT.
  • Shoppers are not allowed to use their EBT cards to withdraw cash from an ATM at the commissary. This is a violation of the EBT guidelines.

While EBT is accepted at commissaries, there are specific rules and restrictions shoppers must follow to use the service properly. Some of these include:

First, shoppers must ensure they are eligible for government assistance programs to qualify for the EBT program. Second, they can only purchase eligible items with their EBT card. The commissary registers are programmed to accept EBT transactions for purchase of approved items only.

It is important for shoppers to follow these rules and restrictions to avoid any issues when using their EBT card at the commissary. Violating the EBT guidelines can result in their benefits being suspended or revoked.

Allowed EBT PurchasesProhibited EBT Purchases
MeatTobacco Products
CerealsHousehold Products (e.g. soap)

Shoppers should be aware of these restrictions before using their EBT cards at the commissary. Keeping within the guidelines allows them to use their benefits appropriately and stay in good standing with government assistance programs.

Benefits of using EBT at the commissary

If you are a beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the Food Stamps program, the commissary may be a great place to shop for your grocery needs. Here are the benefits of using EBT at the commissary:

  • Lower Prices – The commissary is a non-profit organization, so they sell their products at cost plus a 5% surcharge. This means that you can get your groceries at a cheaper price compared to commercial stores, and using EBT may help you save more on your monthly food budget.
  • No Tax – The commissary does not charge any taxes on your purchases, so you can stretch your dollar even further.
  • Rich Selection – The commissary has a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy products, canned goods, and other household items. Using EBT can also help you afford healthier food options for you and your family.

Aside from these benefits, the commissary offers further advantages for those shopping with EBT:

Discount Programs – The commissary also has a program called the Commissary Patron Savings Program (CPSP), which offers additional discounts to its customers. For example, the program has a “Buy One Get One Free” deal on select products every week. This can help you save more on your grocery shopping and stretch your food budget even further.

Deals on National Brands – The commissary has deals on many national brand products, which means that you can still buy your favorite brands at a lower price. Using EBT can help you maximize your savings as you shop for your favorite products.

CategoriesStandard EBT EligibleStates with Commissary Click2Go
Baby Food & FormulaYes9
Beer & WineNoN/A
Digital CouponsYesAll
Fruits & VegetablesYesAll
Meat, Poultry & FishYesAll
Pet FoodNoN/A

If you are looking for a way to save more on your grocery shopping while still getting quality products, consider using your EBT benefits at the commissary. The commissary offers a wide selection of products, great discounts, and no taxes, which can help you make your EBT benefits go even further.

Qualifications to receive EBT benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as EBT or food stamps, provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families in need. To be eligible for SNAP benefits, applicants must meet certain qualifications, which are determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  • Income requirements: Household income must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. Gross income, which includes wages and other sources of income, as well as deductions for expenses such as medical costs and child care, is used to determine eligibility.
  • Resource limits: Households must have assets below $2,250, or $3,500 if at least one person is over the age of 60 or disabled.
  • Citizenship and immigration status: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, legal immigrants, or refugees.
  • Work requirements: Able-bodied adults without dependents must work at least 80 hours per month, participate in a work program, or be exempt due to a disability or other hardship.
  • Age requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, or a legally emancipated minor.
  • Residency requirements: Applicants must live in the state where they are applying for benefits.
  • Other criteria: Certain criminal convictions and drug-related disqualifications may affect eligibility for SNAP benefits.

It’s important to note that eligibility requirements may vary by state, so applicants should check with their local SNAP office for specific information.

How to apply for EBT benefits

To apply for SNAP benefits, individuals or families can contact their state SNAP office or apply online through their state’s SNAP website. Applicants will need to provide personal and financial information, as well as verification of eligibility criteria. Benefits are typically issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works like a debit card and can be used to purchase food items at participating retailers, including some commissaries.

Commissary and EBT benefits

Some commissaries do accept EBT as a form of payment. However, it’s important to note that not all commissaries participate in the SNAP program, and those that do may have specific rules and restrictions regarding the use of EBT cards. For example, some commissaries may only accept EBT for eligible food items, while others may allow EBT for non-food items such as toiletries.

CommissaryDoes it accept EBT?
Fort Bliss, TXYes
Camp Lejeune, NCYes
Naval Station Norfolk, VANo
Nellis Air Force Base, NVYes

It’s important to check with individual commissaries to determine their specific policies regarding EBT acceptance and usage.

EBT benefits can provide much-needed assistance to low-income families and individuals in need of nutrition assistance. By understanding the qualifications and application process for SNAP benefits, as well as the rules and restrictions for EBT usage at commissaries, individuals can make informed decisions about how to best use their benefits to meet their needs.

How to Apply for EBT Benefits

If you are in need of financial assistance to purchase food, applying for EBT benefits may be a viable option for you. Here are the steps to apply for EBT benefits:

  • Contact your local Department of Social Services (DSS) office or apply online through your state’s website. You can find a list of DSS offices on the USDA website.
  • Provide required documentation such as proof of identity, income, and residency.
  • Complete an interview with a DSS caseworker to determine eligibility.
  • Receive the EBT card in the mail within 7-10 days if approved.

It’s important to note that eligibility for EBT benefits varies by state and is determined by factors such as income, family size, and expenses. It’s also important to keep in mind that EBT benefits can be used only to purchase certain food items and cannot be used to purchase non-food items like alcohol or cigarettes.

EBT Benefit Amounts

The amount of EBT benefits you receive is based on your income and other factors such as family size and expenses. Each state has its own formula for calculating benefit amounts, which is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Thrifty Food Plan. Generally, the maximum amount of benefits a household can receive is equal to the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan for that household size. However, the actual benefit amount may be less depending on household income.

Using Your EBT Card

Once you have been approved for EBT benefits, you will receive an EBT card, which works like a debit card. To use your EBT card, simply swipe it at the checkout terminal at participating retailers. The cost of your eligible food items will be deducted from your EBT account balance.

Acceptable EBT PurchasesUnacceptable EBT Purchases
Meat and poultryAlcohol
Fruits and vegetablesTobacco
Bread and cerealHousehold items
Dairy productsVitamins and supplements
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beveragesPet food

It’s important to note that each state has its own list of eligible food items, so be sure to check with your local DSS office for more information.

The Demographics of EBT Users

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a federal assistance program that provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families in the United States. This program helps individuals and families purchase food products and groceries through a government-issued card.

The following are the demographics of EBT users:

  • 39.7 million individuals received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT program as of September 2020 (USDA, 2020).
  • Approximately 42% of SNAP participants are children under age 18 (USDA, 2020).
  • 23% of SNAP participants are adults aged between 18 to 29 (USDA, 2020).
  • The majority of SNAP households have at least one working adult. In FY 2019, 32% of SNAP households had earnings from work (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2019).
  • African Americans are more likely to receive SNAP benefits than any other ethnic group. As of September 2020, 23% of SNAP participants were African Americans (USDA, 2020).
  • Approximately 36% of EBT users live in a household with earnings below the federal poverty level (USDA, 2020).
  • In FY 2019, 39% of SNAP recipients lived in households with children (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2019).
  • The elderly make up about 9% of SNAP participants (USDA, 2020).
  • Approximately 26% of EBT beneficiaries are disabled or have a disabled person living in their household (USDA, 2020).


EBT is an essential tool for low-income individuals and families to access food and nutrition assistance across the United States. The program serves a diverse population that includes children, working adults, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. Understanding the demographics of EBT users is crucial to developing programs that target specific populations that benefit from these programs.

Policy experts and government agencies continue to study the EBT program’s impact on its users and ways to improve it to further serve those who need it.

The Impact of EBT on Military Families

Military families face unique challenges, including frequent moves, separation from loved ones, and financial strain. The use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at commissaries has had a significant impact on military families, both positive and negative.

  • Access to Affordable Food: EBT cards allow military families to purchase groceries at commissaries, which offer discounted prices compared to civilian grocery stores. For families living on a tight budget, this can make a significant difference in their ability to afford nutritious food options.
  • Reduced Stigma: In the past, military families receiving government assistance were limited to using paper coupons, which could be stigmatizing. However, the use of EBT cards provides a more discreet method of accessing government benefits.
  • Challenges with Receiving Benefits: Military families often face challenges accessing government benefits due to frequent moves and changes in residency. This can make it difficult to receive benefits in a timely manner and lead to gaps in assistance.

The impact of EBT on military families is also reflected in the numbers. In 2020, over 2.6 million people, including military families, received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at military commissaries, totaling over $102 million in benefits. This illustrates the significant need for affordable food options for military families and the important role that EBT plays in meeting that need.

YearNumber of Military Families Receiving SNAP Benefits at CommissariesTotal Benefits Issued

Military families face unique challenges, and the use of EBT at commissaries has had both positive and negative impacts on their ability to access affordable food options. However, the data highlights the continued need for government assistance programs, including SNAP, to support military families and ensure that they have access to nutritious food options.

Does Commissary Take EBT FAQs

1. Can I use my EBT card at the commissary?

Yes, you can use your EBT card at the commissary to purchase eligible food items.

2. What type of food items can I buy with EBT at the commissary?

You can buy any food items that are eligible under the EBT program. This includes items like fresh produce, meat, dairy, bread, and more.

3. Can I use EBT to buy non-food items at the commissary?

No, EBT can only be used to purchase eligible food items at the commissary.

4. Do all commissaries accept EBT?

Yes, all commissaries are required by law to accept EBT.

5. Are there any restrictions on using EBT at the commissary?

There may be some restrictions on certain types of food items, such as hot prepared foods or alcohol. However, most food items are eligible for purchase with EBT.

6. How do I pay with EBT at the commissary?

To pay with EBT, simply swipe your card at the checkout and enter your PIN. The amount of your purchase will be deducted from your EBT balance.

7. Can I still use coupons and other discounts with EBT at the commissary?

Yes, you can still use coupons and any other applicable discounts when using EBT at the commissary.

Closing Paragraph

Thanks for reading about using EBT at the commissary. We hope this article has been helpful in answering your questions. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your local commissary or EBT program office. We appreciate your visit and hope to see you again soon!