Seafood That Qualifies for EBT

Understanding EBT Cards

An EBT card is a convenient debit card that allows SNAP recipients to purchase eligible items at authorized retailers. Similar to a regular debit card, it features a security PIN and magnetic strip for ease of use. However, EBT cards can only be used to buy SNAP-eligible items, unlike traditional debit cards that have no restrictions. Let’s dive into the details of what you can and can’t purchase using your EBT card.

Can You Use EBT at Seafood Establishments Nearby?

In short, the answer is yes! You can utilize your EBT card to buy fresh, frozen, and packaged seafood items. Whether you’re craving shrimp, lobster, fish, crab, mussels, or oysters, your food stamps have got you covered. Many seafood markets and grocery stores accept EBT as a form of payment.

However, it’s important to note that EBT cards cannot be used for hot or prepared foods. This means you won’t be able to use your food stamps at seafood restaurants. Nevertheless, certain states have implemented the Restaurant Meals Program, allowing elderly, homeless, and disabled SNAP recipients to purchase food at authorized restaurants using their EBT cards. Unfortunately, few seafood establishments participate in this program. If you’re interested in using your food stamps for hot and prepared meals, check out my list of fast-food restaurants that accept EBT through the Restaurant Meals Program.

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What Can You Purchase with an EBT Card?

Your EBT card can be used to buy a variety of SNAP-eligible items, including fresh seafood, fresh-caught fish, and many other seafood selections. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you can purchase with your EBT card:

  • Breads and cereals like pita bread, rye bread, tortillas, pasta, bagels, and rice.
  • Candy
  • Chips
  • Cold sandwiches
  • Cooking oils such as olive oil and vegetable oil
  • Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and almond milk
  • Desserts like ice cream, cookies, or brownies
  • Fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks like Sprite and Pepsi, and energy drinks like Red Bull
  • Other snack foods
  • Pork products like chops, sausages, bacon, and tenderloin
  • Poultry products like chicken and eggs
  • Red meat such as steak, ribs, and ground beef
  • Salads
  • Seafood like fish, shrimp, shellfish, and lobster
  • Seeds and plants that produce food for the household to eat
  • Snack crackers

What Can’t You Buy with an EBT Card?

Food stamps are specifically designed to cover essential food items and non-alcoholic beverages. As a result, certain items cannot be purchased using an EBT card. Here’s a list of what you can’t use your EBT card for:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Foods that are hot when sold
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store)
  • Non-food items, such as cleaning supplies, paper products, pet foods, hygiene items, and cosmetics
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements

Seafood Markets that Accept EBT

While many grocery stores offer seafood options, seafood markets are an excellent alternative for acquiring fresh-caught fish, shrimp, or lobster using your SNAP benefits. Here are the top four seafood markets that accept EBT:

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1. Boston Public Market

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 6 pm; Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm
  • What It Offers: This year-round marketplace offers seasonal, locally sourced food from Massachusetts and New England. In addition to seafood, you’ll find fresh produce, meat and poultry, eggs, dairy, baked goods, specialty items, crafts, and prepared meals.

2. John Yi Fish Market

  • Location: Inside the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm
  • What It Offers: Expect a diverse selection of farmed and wild-caught fish and shellfish, sushi-grade tuna and salmon, and live lobsters.

3. Portland Fish Market

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 7 am
  • What It Offers: Discover a wide range of seafood options, including Albacore tuna, black cod, halibut, octopus legs, mussels, clams, shrimp, oysters, and house-smoked seafood like salmon, scallops, and trout.

4. Saltwater Seafood Market and Fry Shack

  • Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Opening Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday to Friday, 9 am to 7 pm; Saturday, 8:30 am to 6 pm; Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm
  • What It Offers: This market features a diverse selection of fresh and frozen fish and shellfish, such as blue crabs, catfish, clams, cod, rainbow trout, salmon, shrimp, snapper, scallops, and live lobster.

Seafood Establishments that DON’T Accept EBT

Unfortunately, most seafood markets and restaurants in the United States do not accept EBT. Here’s a list of seafood places where you cannot use your EBT card:

  • 4th Street Shrimp Store
  • Andria’s Seafood Restaurant & Market
  • Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips
  • Atlantic Seafood Market
  • Bahama Breeze
  • Bonefish Grill
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
  • Captain Ds Seafood
  • Carolina Meat & Fish Co.
  • Conrad’s Crab & Seafood Market
  • Crab Cake Cafe
  • Crab Cake Café
  • Crab Pot ATL
  • Crabby Bil’s
  • Jersey City Fish Stand
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • King’s Fish House
  • Legal Seafoods
  • Long John Silver’s
  • Mac’s Seafood Markets
  • McCormick and Schmick’s
  • McGrath’s Fish House
  • Milwaukee Public Market/St. Paul Fish Company
  • Monahan’s Seafood Market
  • Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
  • Pappas Seafood Co.
  • Red Lobster
  • Rockfish Seafood Grill
  • San Pedro Fish Market
  • Santa Monica Seafood Market & Café
  • Shells Restaurant
  • Paul Fish Company
  • The Crazy Crab
  • The District Fishwife
  • The Lobster Place Seafood Market
  • Truluck’s Seafood Steak and Crab House
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Buy Seafood with EBT from Grocery Stores

If you don’t have a seafood market nearby that accepts EBT, don’t worry! Many grocery stores that sell seafood also accept EBT as a payment method. Here’s a list of grocery stores where you can purchase seafood using your EBT card:

  • Albertsons
  • ALDI
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Costco
  • Food Lion
  • Giant Eagle
  • Hy-Vee
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Sam’s Club
  • Target
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods
  • WinCo Foods

Order Seafood Online from Participating Grocery Stores

Nowadays, you can even use your EBT card to purchase groceries online. The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, initiated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), allows SNAP beneficiaries to order groceries online from participating retailers in select states. If you prefer the convenience of ordering seafood from the comfort of your own home, this program is perfect for you. Check out my post on grocery stores that accept EBT online (delivery or pick-up) to find out which states are currently participating in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot.

Buying Seafood with EBT: Summary

SNAP benefits provide valuable assistance to individuals facing financial constraints, including the homeless, disabled, elderly, and low-income households. EBT cards simplify the process of accessing these benefits, allowing cardholders to make purchases at approved retailers. Although only a few seafood establishments accept EBT, options like Boston Public Market, John Yi Fish Market, Portland Fish Market, and Saltwater Seafood Market and Fry Shack are worth exploring. If these options aren’t readily available, don’t forget to consider well-known grocery stores that accept EBT, such as Whole Foods, Giant Eagle, and Costco. Some of these grocery stores even offer the convenience of online ordering using your EBT card. So, next time you wonder, “Are there any seafood places that accept EBT near me?” you’ll have the answer.