News Column

SNAP EBT-Only Retailers Impacted by Agricultural Act of 2014

July 31, 2014



RICHMOND, Va., July 31 -- The Virginia Department of Social Services issued the following news release:

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) announced today that as a result of the enactment of the Agriculture Act of 2014 passed by Congress in February, certain retailers that accept electronic benefit transfer (EBT) for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) transactions (formerly known as food stamps,) will have to pay for their own point-of sale (POS) devices and transaction fees. This change only applies to retailers that use POS devices provided by the state's EBT vendor, Xerox. The affected retailers will no longer receive free EBT POS devices. "SNAP EBT-only retailers must now pay for their own EBT equipment," stated Thomas Steinhauser, Director of Benefit Programs for VDSS. "We are encouraging retailers to arrange for the lease or purchase of EBT equipment and services as soon as possible."

Changes to services and equipment offered to retailers are a result of the Agriculture Act of 2014, which reauthorized SNAP. The Act eliminates free POS equipment for the majority of retailers which use equipment that only processes EBT transactions. Some types of retailers are exempt from this requirement: farmer's markets, direct marketing farmers, military commissaries, non-profit food buying cooperatives or organizations, group living arrangements, treatment centers, and prepared meal services may continue to qualify for free EBT equipment and services. It is anticipated that up to 2,000 Virginia retailers may be affected.

Affected Virginia retailers can expect to receive a notice from Virginia's EBT contractor within the next week outlining an option that Xerox has negotiated to continue using current equipment. Retailers may instead choose to arrange for other third party processor services. Retailers are encouraged to act promptly when they receive their letters to ensure that they may continue to accept EBT cards. A partial list of available third party processors can be found at this link: SNAP EBT Third Party Processor List.

Although VDSS has no direct control over how the changes will be handled, the department will do what it can to make the retailers and potentially impacted customers aware of this change.

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