If you are using and EBT card to buy food and non-alcoholic beverages then you might be curious as to how you can find out your EBT Card balance so you can avoid the unpleasant situation of not having enough credits on the card to cover purchases.
Checking Your EBT Card Balance Online
Not all states have established an online access to EBT accounts. This is handy because like a bank account or credit card, you can just log in and see how much balance on your EBT Card. It also helps prevent overspending and helps recipients to plan a budget.
On the United States Department of Agriculture Website there is a page called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Online. This lists the web address of every state that does have an online system set up to check your EBT Card balance. You can access this list at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/online-states.htm.
Finding Out When Your EBT Card Balance is Replenished:
If you have just applied for Food Stamps it usually takes about thirty days before the benefits actually show up in your EBT account. The 30 days start from the date that you filed the application. Sometimes people can have expedited benefits, which means that you can expect the benefits in your account and available within 7 days of filling out your EBT application.
If you are unsure as to when those benefits can be available then you can always contact your caseworker with information. You can also check your EBT Card balance online.There is a toll-free number for every state available on the SNAP website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/pdfs/state-lines.pdf. This site is kept to date regularly so you are never left wondering where your benefits are or when they are going to be deposited.
Once you are approved and have received your first monthly draw-down of supplemental income then you will begin to receive your food stamp credits onto your EBT Card.
Knowing Your Balance
The other major con of having an EBT card is that it’s a little harder to know your balance at any given time. When paper food stamps existed, people could look at them as they shopped and calculate what they had and what they planned to spend. The new electronic system requires you to check your EBT Card balance online or by phone before you shop, or to look at the balance on your last receipt.
EBT Card Application Process
You can also apply for benefits online but as is true with the online account, only some states actually have the application available to you online. You can find a full list of the states that do offer an online option at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/applicant_recipients/apply.htm.
You can also find application at your local food stampoffice. The map of where these offices are located can be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/outreach/map.htm, You can also find the toll-free number for each of the SNAP offices on the heat map at this site that has all of the office locations depicted by state. There is also a handy pre-screening tool at this site which gives you an idea of how much money you are actually eligible for if you do apply to the program.