Essex County Virginia

Benefits Division

SNAP

SNAP can be used like cash to buy eligible food items from authorized retailers. Authorized retailers will display either the Quest logo or a picture of a Virginia EBT card.

A SNAP account is established for eligible households and automatic deposits are made into the account each month. To access the account, they will also receive an EBT Card, which will debit the account each time eligible food items are purchased. A secret Personal Identification Number (PIN) is required to use the card.

Items that can be purchased with SNAP include:

  • Food or food products meant to be eaten by people
  • Vegetable seeds and food producing plants, roots, and trees for family consumption
  • Baby formula, diabetic, and diet foods
  • Edible items used in preparing or preserving food such as spices and herbs, pectin, and shortening
  • Water and ice labeled for human consumption
  • Snack foods
  • Meals delivered to elderly or disabled SNAP recipients if the organization providing the meal is authorized to accept EBT cards

Items that cannot be purchased with benefits include:

  • Prepared hot foods in grocery stores
  • Any prepared food (hot or cold) sold and meant to be eaten at the store
  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
  • Cleaning products, paper products, toiletries, and cooking utensils
  • Pet foods
  • Items for food preservation such as canning jars and lids, freezer containers, or food wrapping paper
  • Medicines, vitamins or minerals
  • Items for gardening such as fertilizer and peat moss

Retailers will not give cash change on an EBT purchase. The EBT card will not allow a person to receive cash from an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Food purchased with SNAP benefits is exempt from the state sales tax. However, sales tax is charged on the value of manufacturer's coupons that might be used in the transaction, and the sales tax must be paid in cash.

Example; An EBT cardholder's groceries add up to $27.50. She has manufacturer's coupons which total $3.50, to reduce her grocery bill to $24.00. $24.00 is deducted from her EBT account, and she will owe Virginia's food sales tax on the value of the coupons (2.5% food sales tax times $3.50 equals 8.75 cents, rounded to 9 cents). When items that were purchased with SNAP benefits are returned to the store, the merchant credits the money back to the EBT account. Cash is not given back.

At the checkout counter, tell the cashier beforehand that you will pay with your EBT Card. Depending on the store, you may need to separate the items.


MEDICAID

There are several Medical Assistance Programs offered in Virginia. Each program covers different groups of people and each program has different eligibility requirements. When you apply for Medical Assistance, you are screened for all possible programs based on your age, income, financial resources, and other information. To be eligible for a Medical Assistance Program, you must meet the financial and non-financial eligibility conditions for that program.

  • Children Under Age 19
  • Pregnant Women
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients
  • Adults Aged 65 or Older, Blind or Disabled (not receiving SSI)
  • Children or Adults Who Need Long-term Care in a Facility/Home & Community-based Care (Waiver) Services
  • Medicare Beneficiaries
  • Plan First - Family Planning Services
  • Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

ENERGY ASSISTANCE

The EA Program assists low-income households, particularly those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy. It is comprised of four components: Fuel Assistance, Crisis Assistance, Cooling Assistance, and Weatherization Assistance (this program is available through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

TANF

The TANF program provides eligible families with a monthly cash payment to meet their basic needs. For a child to be eligible he must be:

  • Under age 18, or if 18, will graduate from high school before age 19
  • Going to school regularly if he is between the ages of five and 18
  • Living with a parent or other relative
  • A U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant

The Code of Virginia, §63.2, requires that the TANF program be administered in accordance with federal and state statutes and regulations and policies established by the State Board of Social Services.

Virginia's TANF program emphasize personal responsibility. Participants may be provided with services such as job skills training, work experience, job readiness training, child care assistance, transportation and other work related expenses.

A child will not be eligible if born to or adopted by a TANF recipient more than 10 months after an applicant begins to receive TANF payments. The Division of Child Support Enforcement will send all support collected for this child directly to the family. This support will not count as income in the TANF program.