Does Military Commissary Take EBT? Find Out Here

Are you a military member or a dependent of one? Are you wondering if the military commissary accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer or EBT? If you are, you have come to the right place. This article aims to provide you with all the information you need regarding the use of EBT at military commissaries. So, whether you’re looking to save money on groceries or just curious about the commissary’s policies, keep on reading.

The military commissary is known for offering affordable and high-quality groceries to military personnel and their families. However, not everyone knows if the commissary accepts EBT as payment. This question has become even more relevant in recent years, as EBT has become a popular payment option for many Americans. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide additional information regarding EBT usage at military commissaries.

If you’re looking to stretch your dollar further when it comes to grocery shopping, you might be wondering if you can use EBT at the military commissary. Well, the short answer is yes. Military commissaries accept EBT as a payment option for qualifying items such as food and other household necessities. But, just like any payment option, there are rules and regulations that come with using EBT. However, you don’t need to worry as we will give you all the details in this article. Whether you’re looking to save on groceries or curious about EBT and commissaries, keep on reading.

Overview of Military Commissaries

The military commissary is a grocery store that is exclusive to military members, retirees, and their families. The commissary is a non-profit organization that operates on a cost-plus basis. This means that the prices of the products sold in the commissary are set to cover the cost of the products plus a small markup. This allows military members and their families to save money on groceries compared to shopping at civilian grocery stores.

  • The first military commissary was opened in 1825 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • Today, there are more than 200 commissaries located in the United States and overseas.
  • The commissary not only offers groceries but also provides service delis, bakeries, and fresh produce sections.

In addition to providing affordable groceries for military members and their families, the commissary also serves as a vital resource for military families during times of war or emergency. The commissary has the capability to stockpile food and water in the event of a disaster, providing a source of sustenance for military families in need.

BranchNumber of Commissaries
Air Force50
Navy and Marines79
Coast Guard10

The commissary also provides employment opportunities for military spouses and family members, as well as veterans. Being employed with the commissary provides a sense of community and support for military families.

History of Military Commissaries in the United States

The concept of military commissaries in the United States dates back to the Revolutionary War era. During that time, the Continental Army provided soldiers with rations and supplies from local farms and markets. However, as the Army grew in size, the logistics of acquiring and distributing food became increasingly difficult.

In 1825, the War Department established a centralized commissary system to manage the procurement and distribution of supplies for the Army. Commissaries were established at various locations throughout the country to ensure that soldiers had access to food and supplies.

  • In 1867, the first official commissary was established by an Act of Congress at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
  • During World War I, the Army centralized commissary operations under the Quartermaster Corps to improve efficiency.
  • In 1939, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) was established to manage and operate commissaries for all branches of the military.

Today, there are over 240 commissaries located around the world, serving active-duty and retired military personnel and their families. Commissaries offer a variety of products at discounted prices, including groceries, household supplies, and even electronics and appliances.

Commissaries also play a significant role in supporting military families. Through partnerships with organizations like the Fisher House Foundation, commissaries help to fundraise and provide support for wounded warriors and their families.

1825Establishment of centralized commissary system for the Army
1867First official commissary established at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
1939Establishment of Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)

Overall, military commissaries play a significant role in providing affordable resources for military personnel and their families, as well as supporting the wellbeing of the military community through partnerships and outreach programs.

Benefits of Military Commissaries for Service Members and Their Families

For military service members and their families, having access to a commissary can provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Cost savings: Commissaries offer discounted prices on groceries and household items, which can help service members and their families save money on their grocery bills.
  • Convenience: Commissaries are often located on or near military bases, making it easy for service members and their families to access affordable groceries and household items.
  • Quality: Commissaries offer a variety of high-quality products, including fresh produce, meats, and dairy products, at affordable prices. Many commissaries also offer specialty items and hard-to-find ingredients that may not be available at other grocery stores.

In addition to these benefits, commissaries also accept a variety of payment methods, including cash, credit cards, and debit cards. Some commissaries also accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

However, it is important to note that not all commissaries accept EBT cards. The availability of this payment method may vary depending on the location of the commissary and other factors, such as state regulations.

StateNumber of CommissariesEBT Accepted?

If you are a service member or family member who relies on EBT benefits, it is important to check with your local commissary to see if they accept EBT cards and to learn about any special rules or regulations that may apply. Even if your local commissary does not accept EBT, there may be other resources available to help you stretch your grocery budget and save money on food and household items.

Food Assistance Programs in the United States

Food assistance programs in the United States are designed to help low-income individuals and families access nutritious food. These programs are also known as food stamps, and they are funded by the federal government. One of the most well-known food assistance programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides EBT cards to recipients that can be used to purchase eligible food items at grocery stores and other participating retailers.

Does Military Commissary Take EBT?

  • Yes, military commissaries accept EBT cards for eligible purchases
  • EBT cards can be used to purchase food items that are authorized under the SNAP program
  • The use of EBT at commissaries is subject to certain restrictions and rules that apply to all retailers that participate in the SNAP program

Types of Food Assistance Programs

In addition to SNAP, there are other types of food assistance programs available in the United States:

  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides food and support services to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children up to the age of five.
  • The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price meals to eligible students in participating schools.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program provides emergency food assistance to low-income households through food banks, soup kitchens, and other community-based organizations.

SNAP Eligible Food Items

SNAP benefits can be used to purchase most food items, including:

Meat, poultry, and fishAlcohol and tobacco products
Dairy productsCleaning products and pet food
Breads and cerealsHot prepared food items
Fruits and vegetablesVitamins and medicines
Snack foods and non-alcoholic beveragesNon-food household items

It is important to note that not all grocery stores and retailers participate in the SNAP program, and participation may vary by location. If you are unsure whether a specific retailer accepts EBT payments, it is best to check with the store directly.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federally-funded program that provides nutrition benefits to low-income individuals and families in the United States. The program aims to improve the nutrition of vulnerable populations and alleviate hunger by helping individuals purchase food.

To be eligible for SNAP, individuals and families must meet specific income requirements and other criteria. SNAP benefits are delivered through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works much like a debit card at authorized retailers, including grocery stores and some farmers’ markets.

Does Military Commissary Take EBT?

  • Yes, military commissaries do take EBT for SNAP-eligible products.
  • Commissaries are considered federal facilities and must comply with USDA regulations regarding SNAP benefits.
  • However, there are some restrictions on what can be purchased with EBT at commissaries. For example, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase alcohol or tobacco products.

Using EBT at Military Commissaries

To use EBT at military commissaries, customers simply swipe their EBT card at the point of sale and enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN). The cost of eligible items is deducted from their account balance, just like a standard debit card transaction.

It is worth noting that EBT transactions may take longer to process than other forms of payment, which can result in longer lines at the checkout. However, commissaries are committed to ensuring that all customers are served as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Additional Resources for SNAP Participants

State Directory of SNAP AgenciesA tool for finding local SNAP agencies and resources in your state.
FoodPantries.orgA searchable database of local food pantries and other food assistance programs. Food Assistance ProgramsAn overview of federal food assistance programs, including SNAP and other resources.

If you are struggling with hunger or food insecurity, there are many resources available to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance and support.

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system

The Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system is a digital platform used to manage government benefits for individuals and families in need. The EBT system allows recipients to access benefits, such as food assistance, through a prepaid card, similar to a debit or credit card. This system has replaced the traditional paper-based food stamp program, making it easier for individuals to receive benefits and for retailers to process payments.

How EBT Works

  • Recipients are issued a card that looks similar to a debit or credit card.
  • The card is loaded with benefits each month, and recipients can use it to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers.
  • When making a purchase, recipients swipe their card and enter a PIN number, similar to a debit card transaction.
  • The retailer processes the transaction through their EBT terminal, which deducts the purchase amount from the recipient’s benefit balance.
  • The transaction is authorized in real-time, and the retailer receives payment from the government for the purchased items.
  • Recipients can check their card balance and transaction history online or through a toll-free number.

Benefits of EBT

The EBT system provides several benefits for both recipients and retailers, including:

  • Increased convenience and accessibility for recipients who no longer need to carry paper food stamp vouchers.
  • Reduction in fraud and abuse due to the system’s real-time transaction processing and secure PIN verification.
  • Streamlined payment processing for retailers, reducing administrative costs and eliminating the need for paper vouchers.
  • Increased revenue for authorized retailers who can now accept EBT payments.

Does Military Commissary take EBT?

Yes, military commissaries accept EBT payments for eligible food items. The commissary system switched to the EBT system in 2014, in line with the nationwide transition from paper food stamps to EBT. Recipients can use their EBT card at any commissary location to purchase eligible food items, including fresh produce, meats, and dairy products. The commissary also offers additional discounts and sales for EBT users, making it an affordable option for military families in need.

EBT Payment Policy at Military Commissaries
EBT is only accepted for eligible food items, not for non-food items, such as toiletries or household supplies.
Recipients cannot pay for a portion of their purchase with EBT and the remainder with another form of payment.
The commissary cannot provide cash back for EBT transactions.

Overall, the EBT system has made it easier for recipients to access food assistance benefits, and for retailers to process payments. Military commissaries are no exception, and accept EBT as a convenient payment option for eligible food items.

Eligibility for EBT usage at commissaries

The Department of Defense (DOD) has allowed Military Commissaries to accept electronic benefits transfer (EBT) since 2015. The EBT program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federally-funded initiative that provides nutrition assistance to low-income families. Eligibility for EBT usage at Commissaries depends on two key factors: eligibility for SNAP benefits, and the location of the Commissary.

  • Eligibility for SNAP Benefits: Individuals or families must meet certain income and resource requirements to be eligible for SNAP benefits. The exact requirements vary by state, but in general, individuals or families with incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty level are eligible for benefits. Additionally, individuals must be U.S. citizens or have eligible immigration status.
  • Location of the Commissary: Not all Commissaries accept EBT payments. Only Commissaries located in states that have specifically authorized the use of EBT at military installations can do so. As of 2021, 43 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia allow EBT usage at Commissaries.
  • Additional Eligibility Considerations: Even if a Commissary accepts EBT, some restrictions may apply. For example, EBT payments can only be used to purchase food items, such as meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and bread. EBT cannot be used to purchase non-food items, such as household items and personal care products.

In general, individuals who are eligible for SNAP benefits can use their EBT card at Commissaries that accept EBT. However, it is important to check the eligibility requirements and Commissary locations in your area before attempting to use EBT at a Military Commissary.

If you are unsure whether your local Commissary accepts EBT, you can contact the store directly or visit the official Commissary website for more information. Additionally, the SNAP Retailer Locator can help you find retailers, including Commissaries, that accept EBT in your area.


EBT usage at Military Commissaries can provide an important resource for low-income families who are eligible for SNAP benefits. However, eligibility for EBT usage at Commissaries depends on both SNAP eligibility and Commissary location. Before attempting to use EBT at a Commissary, it is important to check the eligibility requirements and Commissary locations in your area.

StateAuthorization Status
DelawareNot Authorized
KentuckyNot Authorized
MontanaNot Authorized
New HampshireAuthorized
New JerseyAuthorized
New MexicoAuthorized
New YorkAuthorized
North CarolinaAuthorized
North DakotaAuthorized
Puerto RicoAuthorized
Rhode IslandAuthorized
South CarolinaAuthorized
South DakotaAuthorized
West VirginiaAuthorized

Table Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Restrictions on EBT usage at commissaries

While military commissaries do accept EBT, there are certain restrictions in place for using the benefit. Below are some of the restrictions that EBT users must adhere to when shopping at military commissaries:

  • Only eligible items can be purchased with EBT. This includes food items such as meats, poultry, fish, bread, milk, and cereals. Non-food items, such as tobacco, alcohol, and household supplies, cannot be purchased with EBT.
  • EBT users cannot use the benefit to purchase hot foods prepared for immediate consumption, such as rotisserie chicken or pizza.
  • The EBT benefit cannot be used for online purchases or for home delivery orders.

EBT users must also be aware of certain rules and regulations when using their benefit at military commissaries. For example, if an EBT user is found to be using their benefit to purchase items that are not eligible for the program, they may be subject to fines or other penalties. It’s important for EBT users to familiarize themselves with the rules of the program and to only use their benefit for eligible items at the commissary.

Below is a table that outlines some of the eligible and ineligible items for EBT purchases at military commissaries:

Eligible ItemsIneligible Items
Meat, poultry, and fishTobacco and alcohol
Bread and cerealsNon-food items
Milk and cheeseHot foods prepared for immediate consumption

By following these restrictions and guidelines, EBT users can make the most of their benefit when shopping at military commissaries.

Controversies Surrounding EBT Usage at Commissaries

While the use of EBT at military commissaries has been a helpful resource for many low-income military families, there are also some controversies surrounding its usage. Here are some of the main concerns:

  • Fraud: There have been reports of individuals using EBT to purchase items for resale, such as cigarettes or alcohol. There have also been instances of recipients exchanging EBT funds for cash, which is illegal.
  • Ethics: Some argue that those who have served in the military should not be using EBT, as they have received government benefits through their service. However, many military families face financial hardships and rely on EBT to make ends meet.
  • Availability: Not all commissaries accept EBT, which can present a challenge for those who do not have access to one that does. Additionally, some items may not be eligible for purchase with EBT, such as hot or prepared foods.

Despite these controversies, the use of EBT at military commissaries remains an important resource for many struggling military families.

Future of EBT Usage at Military Commissaries

The use of EBT, or electronic benefit transfer, has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, allowing individuals and families to conveniently and electronically access government-funded benefits such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Since SNAP benefits can be used to purchase eligible food items at authorized retailers, many people wonder if they can use EBT at military commissaries, which are supermarkets on military bases that offer discounted prices on groceries to members of the armed forces and their families.

  • Currently, EBT is accepted as a form of payment at most military commissaries.
  • However, there are some restrictions on the types of food items that can be purchased with EBT at commissaries. For example, prepared foods and hot deli items are not eligible for EBT payment.
  • There has been some debate over the future of EBT usage at military commissaries, with concerns over rising costs and potential fraud. However, as of now, there are no immediate plans to discontinue EBT acceptance at commissaries.

While the future of EBT usage at military commissaries may seem uncertain, it is important to note that it provides an essential service to military families who may be struggling to make ends meet. In addition, commissaries offer not only discounted groceries, but also employment opportunities and community support for military families.

Here is a table outlining the current eligibility requirements for using EBT at military commissaries:

Eligibility RequirementsNotes
Must be a current recipient of SNAP benefitsEBT can only be used for eligible food items
Must be an authorized commissary shopper (military personnel and their families)Commissary requires proper ID and verification of eligibility

Overall, the future of EBT usage at military commissaries may be uncertain, but for now, it is an important resource for military families who rely on government-funded benefits to purchase groceries. As with any government program, there will always be concerns over rising costs and potential fraud, but it is crucial to remember the impact that these programs have on families in need.

Does Military Commissary Take EBT?

1What is EBT?EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. It is a system that allows recipients of government benefits to access them via a debit card.
2Can I use EBT at the military commissary?Yes, you can use EBT at the military commissary. However, there are certain restrictions on what you can purchase with EBT. For example, you cannot use EBT to buy alcohol or tobacco products.
3What benefits can I use EBT for at the commissary?You can use EBT for the following benefits at the commissary: SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
4Can I use my EBT card at any commissary?Yes, you can use your EBT card at any commissary that accepts EBT.
5Do I need to bring any additional identification with me when using EBT at the commissary?You will need to bring a valid form of ID, such as a military ID or state-issued ID, when using EBT at the commissary.
6What should I do if my EBT card is not working at the commissary?If your EBT card is not working at the commissary, you should contact your EBT provider for assistance.
7Can I use EBT to purchase items online from the commissary?No, you cannot use EBT to purchase items online from the commissary.

Closing Thoughts

We hope that this article has answered your questions about using EBT at the military commissary. It is important to note that while EBT is accepted at the commissary, there are some restrictions on what items can be purchased. Nonetheless, you can still find plenty of nutritious food and essential household items at the commissary using your EBT benefits. Thank you for reading, and please visit us again for more informative articles!