In August 2021, the Biden administration increased the amount for the government food assistance program SNAP by 25 percent, and many families will begin to receive this increase in their benefits starting October 1 (check out our first Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) explainer here). We answered some common questions about how you can use your EBT card:
– Can I withdraw money from an ATM with my EBT card?
You can only use ATMs and cash machines to withdraw money if you receive cash benefits. Some EBT cardholders also receive what are called cash benefits, usually through programs like TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). SNAP benefits that are available on your EBT card cannot be withdrawn as cash.
– Can I use my EBT card in another state?
Yes. You can temporarily use your card when you travel, as long as that store or retailer accepts EBT/SNAP (Puerto Rico is not included). The same purchase rules apply. If you are moving to another state, your benefits will not transfer with you. You must reapply through the SNAP program in your new state of residence.
– If I don’t use all of my EBT benefits this month, will I lose them?
No, you don’t have to use all your benefits in the month that you receive them. SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) are distributed from the first through the 20th of each month depending on the last two digits of the head of household’s Social Security Number. Cash benefits are issued on the first of the month, even if it’s a weekend or holiday. The balance on your EBT card will roll over into the next month. If benefits are not used at all for one year however, the state will cancel the card and those benefits will be permanently removed.
– What do I do if my EBT card is lost?
The first thing you should do is call the number on the back of your card. Here’s a list of all state EBT websites and phone numbers. If your card is stolen or used fraudulently there’s no way to reclaim benefits that were used, so it’s a good idea to call as soon as you know it’s missing. Your state SNAP program will send you a new card in the mail. Many states provide the first replacement card for free.
– Which stores and restaurants take EBT food stamps?
Most grocery stores, convenience stores, large retailers (like Walmart) and budget stores (like Dollar General) accept EBT. Click here and enter your zip code in the search bar to find locations that accept EBT near you. You can also use your SNAP benefits (with your EBT card) at farmer’s markets to buy food items (fresh produce, eggs, meat etc). Click here to see Snap-Ed programs near you.
Check out this list of state-by-state restaurants and chains that accept EBT.
– Where can I find information for my state’s EBT program?
New York (Upstate)