Does Safeway Take SNAP, EBT, or Food Stamps?
This information is current as of July 27, 2022.
Safeway is large enough to be considered a supermarket chain, with 900 different shopping centers across the US. With a large grocery retail chain, it would be easy to assume that Safeway accepts EBT or food stamps, but that’s not always the case. Does Safeway take EBT or food stamps?
Fortunately, Safeway does accept EBT and food stamps at all of its in-store locations throughout the US. Online, however, depends entirely on where you live, as not all Safeway stores accept EBT payment methods online if you live in certain states.
The reason Safeway may not accept EBT payments online is a complicated one. In April 2019, The US Department of Agriculture launched the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot. Various states still need to get on board, and some have not done so yet.
Why Some Safeway Stores May Not Accept EBT Online
If states don’t get on board with the Pilot Program, grocery chains within that state will not be able to accept EBT payments online, which also affects Safeway. In other words, it’s a decision primarily out of Safeway’s hands.
On top of that, many states have started participating in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot. However, there are still a limited number of allowable stores on the list for their respective states. This is the part where Safeway does have some semblance of control over the matter.
Suppose a state is actively participating in the online purchasing program. In that case, Safeway must submit the pertinent paperwork for state approval. Once the paperwork is submitted, the state and the grocery chain will do a bit of back and forth before approving the grocery chain for EBT online purchases.
When the online purchasing pilot first began, Amazon and Walmart immediately jumped on it, becoming the first retailers to be a part of the pilot. ShopRite followed suit a short time later. Of course, this was in New York, where the program was first created.
After that, other states joined the pilot program allowing a list of grocery stores to receive state funding to accept EBT payments on their online stores.
Currently, no federal law stipulates that grocery chains have to participate in EBT online payments.
Some grocery chains will not accept EBT payments. It’s easy to tell that Safeway is not one of those retailers, as they do participate and allow for EBT purchases in their online stores. The fact that they don’t in every state is most likely a direct result of the state, not Safeway.
How to Use EBT When Shopping Online With Safeway
For obvious reasons, you can’t spend food stamps online since they are a physical payment that must be exchanged hand-to-hand. Safeway does accept food stamps in all its stores across the US. Online shopping is a little more complicated.
You must be able to pay with your EBT card when shopping online at Safeway, at least if you want to utilize your SNAP benefits. To do so, you must set up your Safeway account in a certain way.
- Jump on Safeway’s Online Store
- Create an account
- Select your Safeway store location
- Start shopping for your groceries
- Go to your shopping cart when you are done shopping
- Confirm your order after clearing up various drop-down menus
- Select delivery or pickup
- Choose a date and a time
- Add your delivery address
- When the payment method comes up, select, and add your EBT card information
- Add an additional credit or debit card to pay for items not eligible for EBT
- Delivery charges will have to be covered by the secondary payment method
Creating an account with Safeway is set up to be pretty simple, and, in practice, it really is. Enter your name, address, contact information, email address, and password, just like you would for most online account creation methods.
Safeway requires that you select a store location so they can determine whether or not your address is “deliverable.” All grocery stores that offer the delivery option do this because even if you live close, you might not be on their delivery map for extenuating circumstances.
The shopping for your groceries process is easy and intuitive, with each selection adding to what you have in your cart. When you are done shopping, you must go to your cart, where everything you choose will be listed.
Checkout is straightforward. The only added step is using your secondary card to pay for anything not considered eligible under the SNAP guidelines, including all non-food items and the delivery fees associated with your order. Simply pay with your EBT card, and the remaining total will appear for you to pay the remainder.
Weight Debit for EBT Cards
There is a weight debit when you purchase fruits and vegetables online with Safeway. It’s like getting gas. When you pay at the pump, there is a surcharge that is likely far more than the amount you are going to pump and pay. When you hang up the gas pump, the surcharge over what you paid is returned to your account.
Safeway does the same thing when you purchase fruits and vegetables, adding a 10% weight surcharge to every fruit and vegetable item you order. The weight is tabulated when picked up by the delivery person, and the difference will be refunded to your EBT account.
So, if you are shopping on a very tight EBT budget, the 10% weight surcharge is something you want to be aware of.
Ineligible Items at Safeway
The items you can’t buy with your EBT card are tallied either online or at the store once you have paid with your EBT card. Once they are tabulated, you simply pay with another payment method, such as a debit or credit card.
Several items at Safeway stores are considered ineligible for SNAP benefits through food stamps or EBT cards.
- All cigarette or tobacco products
- Food for pets
- Household supplies such as cleaners
- Cosmetics or any kind of beauty products
- Hot food or food that is considered to be prepared
- Soap products (shampoos, soaps, and conditioners)
- Paper products (toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels)
- Alcohol or any beverages that contain alcohol
- Live animals
Safeway doesn’t seem to be going out of its way to include certain things that are generally eligible elsewhere. Everything in the above list for ineligible products from Safeway is pretty much the same across the board, no matter what grocery store you shop at.
Hot foods have always been a contention regarding EBT-eligible items, prepared foods, and live animals. When we say “live animals,” we are referring to things like lobster or shrimp, which are pretty standard in aquariums, either in the meat or the seafood section.
The truth is a lobster is no more “prepared” than a bag of potato chips. In fact, they are quite a bit less prepared because at least the potato chips are dead potatoes, and the lobster is still very much alive.
Some stores may ring up prepared or hot foods under the unprepared foods category. However, you risk being banned from using EBT benefits if you get caught doing that. The ban can last a year, two years, or three years, the three punishments levied against those who improperly spend their SNAP benefits.
All Things Considered
Safeway grocery accepts EBT and food stamps at all of its physical locations across the US. However, they do not accept food stamps and EBT in certain states when it comes to ordering from Safeway online.
While that is rapidly changing, as more states participate in the online pilot purchasing programs, you may be the unlucky person close to a Safeway that doesn’t allow it. Given some time, that’s likely to change.
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If you qualify for SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.
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Ally is responsible for researching, copywriting, and editing content at StandUp Wireless. She has extensive experience contributing to advertising and marketing campaigns for Tech Data, Bright House Networks, TV, telecom, internet, home security, cybersecurity, and retail. As a freelance author, Ally has penned six celebrity biographies for young readers.