Electronic Benefit Transfers, also known as EBT are given to individuals and families with an economic need.
After going through an eligibility and approval process, low-income families in need are assigned EBT cards, which can be used to purchase food as well as to receive cash benefits. Food benefits can be used only to buy food and non-alcoholic drinks. These benefits are distributed through the SNAP program. Cash benefits can include monies for general assistance which are distributed through TANF, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Cash benefits can be used to receive “cash-back” or withdraw money from a participating ATM. You can also use EBT to purchase any item at a participating retailer.
What Can You Get with an EBT Card?
Through SNAP, the following are available: groceries, including cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. These products are covered by EBT. Not included in the list of approved items are diapers, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets and other items related to gambling. For a full list of approved foods and guidelines refer to: www.fns.usda.gov/snap/mobile/benefits/what-can-i-buy.html
Not all locations accept EBT cards, but the vast majority of chain grocery stores in the US accept EBT, as well as a number of other smaller locations. These links will provide you with a complete list of participating EBT retailers:
The EBT has a magnetic strip that you simply run through the electronic reader, little difference from an ATM / Credit Card. A recipient enters their PIN and the transaction is made.
More About the EBT Card
It is illegal for anyone to charge sales tax, surcharges or processing fees from an EBT SNAP account. If any you have been a victim of illicit surcharging, please report it to your local SNAP or TANF office.