Food stamps benefits, EBT, SNAP, and many more essential benefits are used by millions of low-income Americans all over the US. Perhaps you’re one of them.
Like any governmental benefit, EBT has to be used in a certain way and comes with rules and regulations. For example, your EBT is only to be used to buy certain items, and not all food groceries are covered.
So, what can you buy with your EBT in New Mexico? What can’t you buy? How can you check your balance, and what happens if you run out of money?
Let’s find out.
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Table of Contents
- What Is EBT?
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions
- How to Check Your EBT Balance (New Mexico)
- The Bottom Line
- Need Burial Insurance?
What Is EBT?
EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, and it’s used to receive all kinds of electronic benefits. This includes FA and SNAP (Family Assistance and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).
Your benefits will be paid monthly into your EBT account, and you’ll use a plastic payment card to make purchases from your account.
EBT is most commonly used to receive SNAP benefits, which have replaced the old-fashioned food stamps coupons.
Like any governmental benefit, you’ll need to know what you can and can’t buy with EBT, and the rules you need to follow to keep receiving your benefits. First and foremost, you need to know what items are covered by EBT and SNAP benefits – and what items aren’t.
Here’s what you can buy with EBT:
- Fruit and vegetables (frozen, canned, and fresh)
- Meat, poultry, fish, and seafood
- Dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc)
- Non-dairy products (almond milk, coconut milk, etc)
- Baby food and formula
- Bread, cereals, and grains
- Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, etc)
- Snack foods (ice cream, chips, candy, etc)
- Non-alcoholic beverages
Essentially, most whole foods ingredients are covered by your EBT balance. SNAP benefits are designed to pay for a household’s food and nutrition, and it’s best to buy ingredients that you can take home and make healthy meals for yourself and your family.
Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Gambling/lottery tickets
- Cosmetics, clothes, and personal items
- Pet food/live animals
- Hot, pre-prepared food (hot coffee, rotisserie chickens, etc)
- Household supplies (paper goods, cleaning supplies)
- Hygiene and grooming products (soap, shampoo, etc)
As you can see, some unapproved items are fairly straightforward. It makes sense that you won’t be able to use your EBT balance to buy lottery tickets, alcohol, or tobacco.
However, other products, like household supplies and hygiene products, are clearly essential groceries. Most stores allow you to make multiple payments on one load of shopping, so you can use your EBT balance to pay for the food items in your cart, and your own money to pay for the unapproved items.
You can use your EBT card to order groceries online. However, you will need to have another method of payment attached to your account. Your benefits will cover the cost of your food groceries, but not other charges, such as delivery fees and tips.
If you’re not sure whether a particular item is covered by your EBT balance or have any other queries, call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions
EBT can be used all over America. Most mainstream stores accept EBT cards, and many online stores do, as well. However, it’s worth noting that not all states have identical rules on how to deal with EBT.
If you plan on moving to another state or traveling, it might be a good idea to check out beforehand what stores accept your EBT card, as well as what you can and can’t buy.
- How do I get cash off my EBT card?
You can’t use your EBT card to get cash, either from an ATM or via cashback at the tills. Most benefits are distributed electronically, and electronic purchases ensure that users don’t use their benefits to buy unapproved items.
You also can’t exchange your card for cash or sell it on – this is fraud and is a very serious offense.
- How many New Mexicans are on SNAP?
Approximately 1 million New Mexicans benefit from SNAP, as well as other government assistance programs, like Medicaid.
How to Check Your EBT Balance (New Mexico)
The simplest way to check your balance is to review your latest EBT purchase receipt, where your closing balance should be recorded.
However, you may prefer to check your balance on your online account. You can also review other information on your online account. Here’s how to do that:
- Step One: Start by visiting this site. You’ll be prompted to enter your user ID and password. If it’s your first time logging in, click the “register here” option above the login box.
- Step Two: If you have difficulty signing in, click the “trouble signing in” option below the login button. Then you can select your problem (forgotten password, forgot user ID, etc) and follow the instructions given onscreen.
- Step Three: If you continue to have problems with logging into your online account, select the red “Trouble Signing in FAQs” option. This will open a downloadable document that outlines how to sign in to your account, as well as frequently encountered problems.
If logging in online still isn’t working for you, try calling the customer service on the back of your EBT card. If you need to reset a password or unlock your user ID, you’ll likely need some of your personal details to hand, like your social security number, date of birth, and EBT card number.
The Bottom Line
For many low-income American families, EBT and SNAP benefits make the difference between making ends meet each month and finding themselves short of money.
You can’t overspend on your EBT account, as once you run out of money, you can’t make any more purchases. However, any leftover benefits will roll onto the next month, and add onto next month’s benefits. This leaves you with a little extra to spend – maybe you can even buy a few treats and snacks.
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