MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and it can be a pricey holiday for couples. But you may be surprised how some people are paying for the holiday gifts — with EBT assistance cards, formerly known as food stamps.
The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) program is intended to provide nutritional assistance for low income families, but recently, "EBT-accepted" stickers have been seen on gifts. The payment method is raising some questions.
"EBT should be more nutritional substances. Things, and candy, and balloons and the hints like that, I wouldn't purchase on EBT," said Valentine's Day shopper Mary Phebus.
"If it's supposed to be nutritional, Candy's not really nutritional." argued Christina Edwards, another holiday shopper.
According to SNAP, you can use benefits to buy, "foods for the household to eat." That includes Valentine's candies.
"These kind of gift baskets or gift vases as long as the value of the food products in them are more than 50 percent of the price. You can purchase it on SNAP," said Tom Steinhauser, with Department of Social Services.
But your public assistance can't buy you a dinner date for two, or the traditional roses for your sweetheart.
About half of Americans give their valentine candy or chocolate.
Valentine's Day gifts cost an average of $21.47, or a total of $1.6 billion dollars.