Check EBT Card Balance Online
If you are receiving SNAP benefits in your state then you will be given a card, called an EBT card, that you can use to purchase food at stores that accept food stamps. At the store when you are ready to purchase your groceries at check out, you would simply slide your card like you would do with a debit card and enter your pin number.
From there it will automatically deduct the amount from your current balance available on your card. The receipt should show your remaining balance, or in most cases the state you are receiving food stamps in will have a website for you to login and view the current EBT card balance along with a list of purchases you have made with your SNAP benefits. You can also call the number on the back of your EBT card to get the available balance.
Each month your EBT card will be automatically refilled through the SNAP program. When it gets refilled depends on the state you are in. It could be based on the first letter of your last name, your birth date, social security number etc. To find this out, check the EBT payment schedule in your state. Make sure to keep your EBT card safe, if you lost your card or if it was stolen, it is very important you report it right away so they can deactivate it so no one else could use your benefits. In some states they may charge you for a replacement EBT card. To find out how to report this, view the process to report EBT card lost or stolen.
If you are looking to check the current balance on your EBT card, then select your state below as each state has their own process on how to check your EBT card balance. In most cases, you can check online, by phone or by your latest grocery receipt.
EBT Card Guide
Once you have been approved for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), you will then receive an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card. This is the preferred way for welfare offices to distribute benefits on a monthly basis for people receiving benefits. When the program first started, they would give you "funny money" that you would use in a booklet called food stamps. But now all states provide an easy to use EBT card where each monthly it will refill the balance of your card electronically.
You will receive your EBT card through the mail once you have been approved. The amount you will receive each month will be determined at the time of applying. Though the states handle distribution of funds to you each month, it is the claimant’s responsibility to maintain these funds throughout the month and ensuring that you do not run out of benefits before the next time it is time for your EBT card to be refilled by the states Electronic Benefit Transfer system.
Are EBT cards secure?
If you are receiving food stamps and are wondering if it is safe to use your EBT card, then rest assured that EBT is a secure way of receiving and spending the funds available to you through the SNAP program. With this technology, you will also be able to view your current balance and your past transactions through an online website, depending on the state you are currently receiving food stamps benefits in.
Or if you prefer, you can call the number on the back of your card and talk to either a live person or an automated system to find out what your current available EBT balance is. Also, if by chance your EBT card was lost or stolen, you may have options when it comes to reclaiming your funds. If you find yourself in this position, you can contact the help desk and request an EBT card replacement. From there an agent will quickly deactivate your lost or stolen card to make sure no one else can find it and use your benefits, at the same time they will then send you a replacement EBT card.
Some states may charge you for a new food stamp card, so we recommend you ask prior to requesting a replacement.If someone has already found your card and used some or all of your available funds, you may not be able to recover the benefits lost. Having this ability to track your EBT balance and being able to call in and quickly report your EBT card lost or stolen makes the EBT system effective and safe for enrollees to use.
Obtaining an EBT card in your state
Applicants may ask what they need to do to get an EBT card at some point throughout the SNAP application process. In most cases all you have to do is submit the paperwork to apply for food stamps benefits and attend an interview and providing any additional information to the agent to help them make a decision if you are approved or not. Once approved, they will then have your EBT card mailed to the mailing address you put down in your application.
Once you receive your EBT card, the next step is to call the phone number on the back of the card and setup your PIN. This is usually a 4-digit number that will be required to use each time you purchase groceries at your local store. After that is done and all other activation steps, then you are ready to use your card at an approved SNAP store or market.
Places where I can use my EBT card
Once your card is activated and ready to access your SNAP benefits, the next step is where can you use your EBT card. Regardless where you live, in most cases there are many different grocery store options in your area that accept SNAP benefits. Usually major supermarket chains accept food stamps at their locations along with independent smaller stores. In some state’s restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people.
Also, in some states you can use your EBT card at local farmers markets to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for you and your family. There are locations you are not allowed to use your food stamps at and they include casinos, bars, adult entertainment and liquor stores.
What can I purchase with SNAP benefits?
Once you found a place to use your EBT card at, the next step is to find out what you can but with your food stamps. The purpose of the food stamp program is to assist low-income families afford healthy foods that can feed themselves and their families. Below is a general list of food items you can purchase using your SNAP benefits:
- Breads and cereals
- Fuits and vegetables
- Meats, fish and poultry and dairy products
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat
Though not considered a healthy choice, your SNAP benefits do allow you to purchase junk food and luxury items including soda, chips and candy. However, there are items you are not allowed to purchase with your EBT card. Items included:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
- Pet foods
- Soaps, paper products
- Household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines
- Food that will be eaten in the store
- Hot foods
It is recommended that you check your current EBT card balance before and after each shopping trip. This will assist you in ensuring that you stay on track with your budget goals for the month and not tempted to overspend. It also helps you ensure that all of your transactions are processed correctly. There are a couple of ways you are able to check the current EBT card balance.
Check EBT balance by phone
You can call the number on the back of your card and through the automated system get the current available balance on your EBT card.
Check EBT balance online
Each state provides an online website where you can login and view the current available balance on your EBT card. For most sites, they also provide a list of transactions so you can keep track of your purchases throughout the month.
Check EBT balance by receipt
After each purchase at your local grocery store, it should show the remaining balance on your EBT card at the bottom of your receipt. We recommend you store all of your receipts so you have a hard copy of all of your transactions using your SNAP benefits, allowing you to compare with the online transaction in case there are some discrepancies.