Attorney General Schwalb Issues Consumer Alert & Business Advisory on Federal SNAP Requirements

Alerts Aim to Inform Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Customers of Their Rights, Help Businesses Comply with the Law

WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today issued the below Consumer Alert informing District residents of their rights when making purchases through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) also issued a Business Advisory to District retailers to help them comply with SNAP requirements.

CONSUMER ALERT: Know Your Rights When Making Purchases Through SNAP 

Consumer spending traditionally increases during the holiday season, and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is working to inform District residents of their rights when making qualified purchases through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

Under federal law, customers using SNAP cards to make qualified purchases must be treated the same as all other customers. Businesses that are licensed SNAP retailers cannot discriminate against customers for paying with SNAP cards.

Qualified SNAP purchases include many household food items, as well as seeds and plants used to produce food. A full list of SNAP-eligible items is available here.

You have rights when making qualified purchases with a SNAP card.

SNAP retailers cannot:

  • Charge a transaction fee to consumers paying with a SNAP card;
  • Set a minimum transaction amount for qualified SNAP purchases;
  • Require a minimum SNAP card balance in order to make a qualified purchase;
  • Require SNAP users to make a SNAP card balance inquiry before making a purchase.

If you know of SNAP retailers in the District that are not following the law, please report it to the DC Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Mediation Program by:

  • Calling OAG’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828;
  • Emailing; or
  • Submitting a consumer complaint online here.

To locate a SNAP retailer, you can use the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SNAP Retailer Locator Data resources.

See here for more information on what consumers can purchase using SNAP.