A TikToker recorded herself getting a Starbucks drink with her government-issued Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, much to the chagrin of viewers.
In a video that has received 1.2 million views, content creator and self-proclaimed “Queen of YouTube” Jinger Elizabeth (@imjingerwithaj_) informs viewers that if you go into any grocery store that has a Starbucks inside, you can use your food stamps at the Starbucks.
I added dragonfruit inclusions on top too 🥰♬ original sound – Jinger Elizabeth
She starts the clip by saying, “Okay since the food stamp police was so motherf*cking mad about that video I made, I’m about to make them madder.”
The content creator continues, “So did you know that if you go into like a Target, or if you have a Publix or whatever type of store like that that has like a Starbucks inside, you can use your food stamps in Starbucks.”
“So I’m about to show y’all right now. Let’s go,” she says as she gets on an escalator.
The TikToker then records herself placing an order, “Can I get a grande iced green tea, peach green tea made with lemonade and light ice please? Thank you.”
The clip cuts to her swiping a card as the barista prepares her beverage. “Thank you so much,” she says, grabbing her drink. She then takes a sip as she walks through the store, looking directly into the camera as she does so.
Commenters who saw the TikToker’s post had a lot to say, and many of their remarks were of a critical nature.
One person claimed that Jinger Elizabeth was lying about paying with her food stamp card and that she was attempting to create social media drama for clout. They noted, “1st of all FOOD STAMPS R for your KIDS boom! 2nd that’s not a food stamp card ppl, don’t try it!!!!! she is setting ya’ll up!!!!!”
However, the creator responded with another video, arguing that “It’s not just for my kid, it’s for my household, meaning me and my child.”
The TikToker also presents a screenshot of a Google search for a Pennsylvania food stamp card to disprove the commenter’s second allegation.
“What you live off the government?????” accused another person, suggesting that the TikToker was scamming money from the state by not spending her benefits on what they deemed would be more essential and appropriate items.
Jinger Elizabeth defended herself again, asking the commenter, “All jokes aside, do you really think that people can 100 percent survive off [of] $300 a month in food stamps?” She also notes in the text overlay of her response video that she does not even get $300 a month.
According to Thomson Reuters, fraud isn’t a huge issue within the SNAP benefits program. In a report from September of 2021, the publication notes, “Looked at solely as a percentage, SNAP fraud doesn’t appear to be huge—a little less than 1% of the total benefits paid out, based on recent estimates.”
These estimates seem to reflect figures presented in an article by Forbes five years prior, which states that only 0.9% of SNAP benefits holders were found to be fraudulently receiving benefits as part of the program.
These kind valuations, however, seem to belie the amount of money that food stamp fraud may be costing American taxpayers, which NBC4i warns, could end up being around $20 billion by 2024.
A number of viewers also shared their own experiences of trying to use their benefits at Starbucks.
One person wrote, “I tried it once and it didn’t work and I was so embarrassed. And it was a cold drink.”
“Tried it at [my Starbucks],” read another comment. “Does not work.”
Another user claimed to have an answer for why, explaining, “It doesn’t work at ALL target so it best to go to like public grocery’s store with Starbucks.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Jinger Elizabeth via TikTok comment, and to Starbucks via email for further information.