How To Check Your EBT Balance In Missouri [Learn The Facts]
For many low-income Americans, their EBT and SNAP benefits make the difference between eating well that month – or not.
For households that struggle to pay their bills and rent, all too often there simply isn’t enough money left over for a full week’s grocery shopping.
This is where EBT comes in.
So, what is EBT? Who is eligible for EBT, and what are the rules? How can you check your account balance?
Let’s find out.
Table of Contents:
- What Is EBT?
- How to Check Your EBT Balance in Missouri
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions
- The Bottom Line
What Is EBT?
EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is an umbrella term for all electronically issued benefits. It’s most commonly used to receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) which are food stamps.
Virtually all cash benefits are now given out electronically and are only suitable for electronic purchases. Gone are the days of paper coupons or even actual cash. You’ll use your EBT by swiping a plastic payment card at the checkout, or using your card online like you would a debit or credit card.
You can’t use your EBT card to get cash, either at the checkout or at an ATM. This is to reduce incidents of benefits fraud, such as users buying one suitable item and getting cashback from the transaction, then using that cash to buy unapproved items, like alcohol or tobacco.
However, these newer electronic transfers allow users to shop online and make quicker and easier purchases. You can’t overspend on your EBT account. Once you’ve run out of money, you’ll have to wait until your next round of benefits.
On the other hand, any leftover benefits will add to the next month, so any unspent cash benefits won’t be wasted.
What Can You Buy With EBT?
Just about every type of food (with a few notable exceptions that we’ll discuss later) is suitable for purchase with an EBT card. Your EBT is designed to supplement a household’s nutrition and to provide food to prepare and eat at home. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t include restaurant food or fast food.
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, EBT users have plenty of freedom when it comes to what they can buy. So long as an item is classed as a food item, it will likely be suitable for purchase with an EBT card.
What Can’t You Buy With EBT?
Food stamps are designed to pay for a household’s food – and food only. That means that your EBT card won’t cover any non-food groceries – even essential ones.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to use your own money or a different form of benefit to pay for household supplies and personal items.
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)
Some of the unapproved items are fairly self-explanatory. Most users will realize that they shouldn’t use their SNAP benefits to buy lottery tickets, alcohol, or tobacco products.
But what about the essential household supplies?
Essentially, you’ll need to use your own money for those. Most stores allow customers to make multiple payments on one load of shopping. This allows you to quickly and easily pay for your goods with both your EBT card and another method of payment.
It’s important not to buy unapproved items. If you try and buy an unapproved item, your card will be declined at the checkout. Even if it isn’t, you’ll have to pay back the money later.
Constantly trying to buy unapproved items (like alcohol and tobacco) could even lead to your benefits being suspended.
How to Check Your EBT Balance in Missouri
The simplest way to check your EBT balance is to review your latest receipt from an EBT purchase. Your closing balance should be listed on the receipt.
However, logging into your EBT account can be just as easy as fishing out an old receipt, and allows you to review other information besides your balance.
Here’s how to check your online EBT balance:
- Step One: Start by visiting this login page here. You’ll be prompted to enter your user ID and password, after which you can access your EBT account.
- Step Two: If you’re having difficulties, click the “trouble signing in” option below the login button. You’ll be provided with a few different options to select – for example, if you’ve forgotten your password, click the “forgot password” option and follow the instructions given onscreen.
- Step Three: If you’re still having difficulties, click the “trouble signing in FAQs” option in red. This will open a downloadable booklet that deals with frequently asked cardholder portal questions.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions
Naturally, EBT users want to get the most out of their benefits without breaking any rules. Let’s discuss a few frequently asked questions about using EBT in Missouri.
- How can I check my EBT balance in Missouri if I don’t have access to the internet?
If you don’t have access to the internet, call this customer service number at 1-800-997-7777. You can request an update on your EBT account balance as well as other information.
- Can I use my EBT card online in Missouri?
Yes, you can. Most mainstream, online stores now accept EBT cards.
The Bottom Line
EBT and SNAP are designed to be easy to use and intuitive. These benefits are temporary measures that help millions of low-income households. With a little practice, using your EBT card – and logging onto your online account – can become second nature.
If you still have concerns, call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card.