Dollar stores are a great way to save money on groceries and other essentials, so it’s no wonder why so many people are asking which dollar stores take EBT! With over 35,000 dollar stores in the United States, it can be hard to remember which ones will and won’t take food stamps or TANF cash benefits.
We’ve broken out the details for the most popular dollar store chains as identified by Consumer Reports. We’ve also researched a few smaller, local dollar stores as well.
How do stores qualify to accept EBT?
In order to accept food stamps (SNAP EBT), a store must meet one of two requirements. Either it must get at least 50% of its sales from food stamps eligible foods, or it must offer at least three different types of food in each of the four staple food groups.
The staple food groups include grains and bread, fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat (including poultry and fish). If a store uses the second option to qualify, they must offer perishable foods in at least two of those categories.
What can you buy with EBT at the dollar store?
What you can buy with EBT at the dollar store depends on where your EBT benefits come from. If they are from the TANF cash program, then you can buy a wide selection of food and non-food items. However, if you get your EBT funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP or food stamps), then you are limited to purchasing eligible food items.
The SNAP program is designed to help low income people buy food for their households, so you can use SNAP EBT funds to purchase these items at the dollar store:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Dairy products
- Breads, cereals and grains
- Snack foods
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Seeds and plants
Unfortunately, you cannot use SNAP EBT funds to purchase non-food items or ineligible food items such as:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- Vitamins, medicines or supplements
- Live animals (except shellfish)
- Hot foods
- Pet foods
- Cleaning supplies
- Paper products
- Hygiene items or cosmetics
- Other non-food items
Basically, what you can buy with EBT at the dollar store is essentially the same as what you can buy with EBT at any other retailer.
Does Dollar General accept EBT?
According to Consumer Reports, Dollar General is the largest dollar store chain in America with over 10,000 stores across 40 states. They tend to be focused in rural areas, which is very helpful to low income communities that lack affordable options.
However, the name Dollar General can be a bit deceptive. Not everything at Dollar General is $1. They sell low-priced merchandise but much if it is priced higher than a dollar. You’ll need to be careful to identify good deals as you shop and make sure you don’t accidentally go over-budget.
The real question, of course, is does Dollar General accept EBT? Yes and no. Based on my research and reports from shoppers, it looks like each Dollar General location can decide whether or not to accept EBT benefits. Most do but some don’t. You may want to call ahead and make sure your location accepts benefits before you start shopping.
Does Family Dollar accept EBT?
Family Dollar has over 7,000 stores across 45 states. They tend to have a larger grocery selection than many of the other stores on this list.
However, just like Dollar General, the name is a bit deceptive. Family Dollar sells a lot of low-cost merchandise, but they also sell higher-ticket items like barbecue grills, clothing, and outdoor toys. Not everything in the store will be a dollar, even though the store has dollar in its name.
If you do choose to shop at Family Dollar, you may want to call ahead to check their EBT policy. Many locations accept EBT but some don’t. It would be impossible to list the policies for all 7,000 locations in this post, so you’ll have to check with your local store to find additional details.
Does Dollar Tree accept EBT?
Dollar Tree accepts both EBT cash and EBT food purchases. You will have the option to select which benefit you would like to use during checkout. Please be careful when you make your selection, because the store cannot adjust or change your selection after the purchase is complete.
With over 4,000 stores across 48 states, Dollar Tree is a great resource for low income households. They have a great selection of freezer and refrigerated foods, which is fairly uncommon for a dollar store. They tend to have a robust grocery section that can really help you maximize those EBT benefits.
If you have a hard time getting to the store, you can even get your Dollar Tree order delivered through Instacart! Some retailers accept EBT through Instacart for deliveries but I am not sure if Dollar Tree is one of them yet.
Does Five Below accept EBT?
Five Below is another dollar store chain that has 1,200 locations across 40 states. Unlike Dollar General and Family Dollar, Five Below specializes in selling affordable merchandise and almost everything in the store is $5 or less. A small assortment of $6 – $25 products are also available but the vast majority of products are less than $5.
Unfortunately, Five Below does not accept EBT cards, checks, money orders or Google Pay. They only accept cash, credit/debit, gift cards, Apple Pay, PayPal or Venmo at this time.
Do 99 Cents Only Stores accept EBT?
99 Cent Only Stores have hundreds of locations across California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Their stores stock a variety of brand name closeout deals, fresh produce, party supplies, snacks, food and more.
The 99 Cent Only Stores do accept EBT. Since everything in the store costs just 99 cents each, this can be a great way to stretch your food budget. It is not common for a dollar store to sell fresh seasonal produce, so this is a very exciting opportunity for low income families in neighborhoods with a 99 Cents Only Store!
What about local dollar stores?
There are countless small dollar stores across America. Some of them have done the paperwork required to accept EBT benefits but others have not. If you’ve wondered if your local dollar store accepts EBT, you will probably need to call them to find out for sure.
We’ve currently confirmed that the following dollar stores do NOT accept EBT:
- Bill’s Dollar Store (Chatom, Alabama)
- Dollar Zone (Alaska, multiple locations)
However, there are some local dollar stores that DO accept EBT, including:
- Valley Dollar Plus & More (Wasilla, Alaska)
Since these stores frequently change their policies and locations, it is not realistic for our team to update and maintain a database of every single dollar store in America and their individual EBT policies.
How can I tell if my local store accepts EBT?
The easiest way to be sure is to call ahead. You can easily find the store’s phone number with a quick online search. In my experience, very few small dollar stores update their websites to include EBT information.
If you are local, you can also drive by and look for a sign in the window that indicates the store accepts EBT. Seeing that sign is a sure indication that the store accepts EBT but the store may accept EBT even if you don’t see the sign on their door. Some retailers choose not to advertise that they accept EBT benefits.
What are the best things to buy at the dollar store?
Whether you’re shopping with EBT or with cash, some dollar store purchases are better than others. If you want to be a smart shopper, remember these lists.
You can usually trust that basic personal care items like hairbrushes and hygiene items are a great buy at the dollar store. Picture frames, greeting cards, cups and drinkware, giftwrapping and laundry detergent are also reliable best buys at the dollar store.
However, you should typically avoid knives, medicine/vitamins, makeup, pet food, batteries and sunscreen at the dollar store. Many users have reported that these items can be inferior or even dangerous. It varies depending on where you’re shopping and what the brands are, but generally these are the products you will want to avoid.
What else can I do with EBT?
If you’ve got EBT, don’t forget to check out this list of around 1,000 freebies and deals you can get just by having an EBT card!