There are endless reasons why an individual or household could find themselves with a low income. Fortunately, there are plenty of benefits and food stamps which can help a family get past their tough times.
EBT (also known as Electronic Benefits Transfer) is a way to receive these benefits. However, you might worry about how you’ll receive your benefits, where you can use them, or what you can buy. nerve-wrackings these questions and more in this article.
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Table of Contents:
- What Is EBT?
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions in New York City
- How to Check Your EBT Balance (New York City)
- The Bottom Line
- Need Burial Insurance?
What Is EBT?
EBT is an umbrella term for all electronically issued benefits, most commonly SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits, which have replaced the old-fashioned food stamp coupons.
Your monthly benefits will be deposited into your EBT account once a month. You can use a plastic payment card, like a debit or credit card, to pay for your purchases.
It’s worth noting that you can’t use your EBT card to withdraw cash – only electronic payments are permitted. You can’t use your EBT card at an ATM to take out cash, although some states allow you to check your balance at an ATM.
Since SNAP – or food stamps – are designed only to pay for a household’s food needs. This means that non-food groceries, even essential ones, aren’t covered by your EBT balance.
Here’s what you can buy with EBT:
- Fruit and vegetables (frozen, canned, and fresh)
- Meat, poultry, fish, and seafood
- Dairy products (cheese, milk, etc)
- Non-dairy products (almond milk, soy milk, etc)
- Bread, grains, and cereals
- Baby formula and food
- Non-alcoholic beverages
- Snack foods (ice cream, soda, chips, etc)
Essentially, any food item is included in your EBT balance – but not all, as you’ll soon see.
Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Gambling/lottery tickets
- Clothing, cosmetics, and other personal items
- Pet food/live animals
- Hot food and drinks (coffee, rotisserie chickens, etc)
- Household supplies (cleaning products, paper goods, etc)
- Hygiene and grooming items (soap, shampoo, etc)
As you can see, some unapproved items are still essential goods, like household supplies and hygiene products. So, how can you buy these items?
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 for non-food groceries.
You can’t overspend on your EBT account. Your EBT card isn’t like a credit card – once the money has run out in your account, you can’t make any more purchases. However, any leftover money will roll on to the next month, and add on to your next lot of EBT benefits.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions in New York City
While EBT is used in every state in America, different states may have slightly different rules as to how you can use your food stamps, and what you can buy. So, if you’re planning to move or travel, it may be good to work out ahead of time where you can use your EBT card.
- Can I use EBT online?
Yes. Most mainstream stores accept EBT cards for online deliveries. However, you may need to attach another method of payment for other fees, such as delivery charges and tips, as your EBT won’t cover these costs.
- Can I use my EBT card in another state?
You can use your EBT card in all fifty states, as well as online. Most mainstream stores and whole-foods stores accept EBT cards and SNAP benefits.
How to Check Your EBT Balance (New York City)
Once your EBT balance runs out, there’ll be no more money until your benefits renew. So, it’s good to keep an eye on your balance as the month progresses.
The simplest way to check your EBT balance is to review your latest receipt, which should have your closing EBT account balance.
However, you can also log into your online EBT account to view your balance and check other info. Here’s how to do that:
- Step One: Start by visiting this site. This will take you directly to the New York City EBT login site. You’ll be prompted to enter your user ID and password. Then you can log into your account and view your balance.
- Step Two: If you’ve forgotten your password (we’ve all done it!) click the “forgot password” option below the login button. You’ll need to enter some details, like your ZIP code, PIN, and EBT card number. Then you can reset your password and create a new one. On the right of the reset password box, you’ll see some info about how to create a strong, suitable password.
- Step Three: If you’ve forgotten your user ID, click the “forgot user ID” option below the login box. You’ll be prompted to enter your ZIP code, PIN, and EBT card number. Then, follow the instructions given on the right of the forgot user ID box.
- Step Four: If this is your first time logging into your online EBT account, you’ll need to select the “create new account” option. You’ll need to enter your ZIP code, PIN, EBT card number, your user ID, and create a new password. Then you’ll be able to access your EBT account, view your balance, and more.
The Bottom Line
Logging onto your EBT account for the first time can be a little nervewracking, especially if you don’t particularly like using the internet and online services.
However, your online EBT account isn’t just handy for checking your balance. There is other information for you to review, and it can be a quick and easy way of checking your balance on the go.
If you have any other questions, or you aren’t able to log onto your EBT account, call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card.
EBT is designed to be simple to use. It’s a reliable service, and with a little practice, you’ll soon find it easy to log onto your account and use your benefits.
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