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Food Stamps and WIC Coupons

This document provides useful information on how to apply to become an authorized retailer to accept food stamp benefits.

	
		

Overview

Food Stamps

For information on how to apply to become an authorized retailer to accept food stamp benefits from customers, visit the US Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Services'(FNS) website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns. This website also provides information on how to contact the local field office that handles your area and provides an explanation of what food items can be sold for food stamps and what things cannot be sold. Also available is the booklet, The Food Stamp Program, Training Guide for Retailers.

An application for authorization to accept food stamps may be requested by calling toll free. The completed application form will need to be returned to the local USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) field office that is provided in the application package. Any questions regarding the application process or if additional information is needed concerning the authorization of your firm to participate in the Food Stamp program, contact the FNS field office number provided in the application package. You cannot accept any food stamp benefits until your firm is authorized by USDA. There are no fees/dues that a retailer must pay for food stamp authorization. All authorized firms will be issued a Food Stamp Program Authorization Permit. This permit should be displayed in a conspicuous place at the store.

When purchasing an existing business, you cannot accept any food stamp benefits until you are authorized by USDA in your name as the new owner of the business. Any previous owner's authorization is NOT TRANSFERABLE. You must contact the local FNS field office to obtain an application and apply for authorization under your ownership. FNS may impose a fine against any individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or other legal entity not approved by FNS to accept and redeem food stamp benefits for any violation of the provisions of the Food Stamp Act or the program regulations, including violations involving the acceptance of coupons.

WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Coupons

Any retail food store desiring to be authorized to accept WIC coupons must file an application as prescribed by the US Department of Agriculture, Food & Nutrition Service. A retail food store must meet eligibility determination factors which may be based on, but not limited to, visual inspection, sales records, purchase records, counting of stock keeping units, or other inventory or accounting recordkeeping methods that are customary or reasonable in the retail food industry. The FNS may require that a retail food store be visited to confirm eligibility for program participation prior to the store being authorized in the program. Once approved, an authorization card is issued. For more information on becoming an authorized retailer contact the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Supplemental Food Programs, Division of Nutrition.

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