How To Check Your EBT Balance In Idaho [Learn The Facts]

For all too many households, making ends meet is a difficult, and sometimes impossible, task. Often, the first aspect of life to feel the pinch is the food we buy. Skimping on groceries is not sustainable, and it can even be harmful. 

So, thousands of American families below a certain income level benefit from EBT. Most commonly used to receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), EBT is designed to pay for extra food, with the amount given depending on the size of the household. 

So, can you use your EBT card outside of your home state? What can you use your EBT card to buy? How can you check your balance? 

Let’s find out. 

Table of Contents:

What Is EBT?

EBT stands for Electronic Balance Transfer, and it’s the only way you can now receive and spend SNAP benefits. You can also use EBT to receive other electronically issued benefits. 

EBT and SNAP can now only be used to make electronic payments. You can’t use your plastic EBT payment card to draw out cash from an ATM or to request cashback. However, you can use your EBT card to make online purchases, assuming you have a payment method of your own to cover delivery fees and tips. 

You use your EBT payment card the same way you would a debit or credit card. The card is swiped at the checkout and you’ll need to enter a pin. However, if you’ve tried to buy an unapproved item, your card will likely be declined. 

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Unlike a debit or credit card, you can’t overdraw from your EBT account. Once you’ve run out of money, you simply won’t be able to make any more purchases. Any leftover cash will roll over to the next month’s benefits. 

What Can You Buy with EBT? 

EBT covers most food items, regardless of price. If an item is labeled as “food” – barring a few notable exceptions, which we’ll discuss later – you can buy it with an EBT card. 

Here’s what you can buy with EBT: 

  • Fruit and vegetables (frozen, canned, and fresh)
  • Meat, poultry, fish, and seafood 
  • Bread, cereals, and grains
  • Baking products
  • Baby food 
  • Dairy and dairy substitutes (milk, cheese, almond, soy, or coconut milk)
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (soda, juice, bottled water, etc)
  • Snack foods (chips, ice cream, candy, etc)

As you can see, the average EBT user has a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing their products. You can even buy candy, ice cream, steak, seafood, or other “luxury” items. 

Products which are technically classed as food, like coffee beans, instant coffee, and ice are also suitable to buy with your EBT balance

What Can’t You Buy with EBT?

Food stamps are designed to buy – well, food. Non-food grocery items – even essential ones – aren’t covered by your EBT balance

Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco products
  • Gambling/lottery tickets
  • Pet food
  • Medicine, vitamins, and supplements (some energy drinks are classed as supplements, so be careful)
  • Personal items (like cosmetics, electronics, furniture, clothing, etc)
  • Hot, preprepared food and drinks (fast food, rotisserie chickens, hot coffee, etc)
  • Household supplies (paper goods, cleaning products, etc)
  • Hygiene and grooming products (sanitary pads, tampons, soap, shampoo, etc)
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While most EBT users will already know that they shouldn’t spend their food stamps money on alcohol, tobacco, or personal items, some of the other listed items are still essential household products. 

What will happen if you try and buy an unapproved item? At best, your card will be declined, and you’ll have to rummage through your shopping to find the guilty item. At worst, your benefits may be suspended, and you will have to pay back any EBT money you spent on non-food items.

Since most stores allow customers to make multiple payments on one load of shopping, you can use your EBT card to pay for your food items, and use your own money to buy non-food items. 

How to Check Your EBT Balance in Idaho

The easiest way to check your EBT balance is to review your last receipt, which should contain your closing EBT account balance. 

Checking your balance online is just as easy and also lets you review other information at the same time. Here’s how to do that: 

  • Step One: Start by visiting this site. To log in to your personal account, click the “Cardholder Login” option on the far left of the screen.

  • Step Two: You’ll then be presented with a login box. Enter your user ID and password, then you’ll be able to access your account and view your balance.

  • Step Three: If you’re struggling to log in, click the “Trouble Signing In” option below the login button. You’ll be presented with another box, and you can click on the option that you’re struggling with (for example, if you’ve forgotten your password, click on the first option). Follow the instructions given onscreen.
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Frequently Asked EBT Questions

Using EBT can raise a lot of questions. So, here are a few commonly asked questions about using EBT in Idaho. 

Your monthly food stamp benefits will be deposited into your account and available from 6 AM, PST. Your benefits will be issued sometime during the first 20 days of the month, and you’ll receive them on the same day every month. For example, you may receive your benefits on the 3rd of every month. 

  • Can I use my EBT card in another state?

Yes, you can use your EBT card in all 50 states, regardless of where you’re from. Most mainstream stores accept EBT cards, but if you’re not sure, speak to a member of staff before you start shopping. 

The Bottom Line

Using your EBT card doesn’t have to be a headache. In fact, for many households, it’s a lifesaver. If you don’t feel confident logging into your online account, have a few practice runs, until you feel more comfortable.